From Fred Barzyk — 1/16/2010
Back in 1961, when Greg Harney offered me a permanent job as a director at WGBH, I agreed but only if I could do a drama. I promised him it wouldn’t cost the station a penny, that I would beg, borrow and steal the props, find volunteer actors, and find a play that would be acceptable to Bob Larsen. He agreed.
I went to many amatuer theater performances with my volunteer assistant, Sally Dennison. (Sally went on to become a casting director in Hollywood, working for Otto Preminger, Antononi, and helped cast “Close Encounters of a Third Kind.”) I got free costumes from MIT, Martin Block painted the floor, and Peter Prodan provided the minimal set pieces. I paid $10 for the rights to the Play, “Five Days.”
I was able to save the only 2″ black and white videotape of drama from the fire, and it now resides in the WGBH archives.
What comes around, comes around again. The little drama you are about to see was my attempt to take 20 volunteers, some in their 60’s and 70’s, and mold them into a movie crew. The local access station provided the gear (4 HD cameras, audio equipment, lights, final cut pro, Photoshop, etc.)
I convinced the New England Institute of Art to let me have students intern for the movie. They were the young ones on the crew and handled the lighting assignment. I found amateur actors in the greater Boston area: a former probation officer; a lawyer working at the Kennedy Center; an older actress who had appeared in JAWS as the mayor’s wife; and a gentleman who works at the Chelmsford Access Station. He just happened to have been a professional actor in Estonia before he moved to the states.
I convinced the music director of the Chelmsford Community Band to write an original music score. He had never done one before. He and I put together an orchestra of 30 musicians at no cost. They came from the Community Band, the High School Orchestra, the University of Massachusetts Lowell music department. I was able to get U. Mass. Lowell to provide me with a recording theater and graduate students to run the 16-track recording system.
The entire out of pocket for this production was $500. This was an experiment that could have easily been a bomb. Yes, we did make mistakes, but none so bad that the story was destroyed.
So, here it is. The Journey.