The Comic Roach: A Roadhouse Picture Show (2009)

56 minutes


Instrumentation: singer-actor (soprano), 3 reeds, trumpet, percussion, piano


Cabaret song 1: "Picking Peaches"

Performers: Tracy Lynn Olivera, soprano and The Snark Ensemble


» review of The Comic Roach in DC Theatre Scene.

» interview with Tracy Lynn Olivera about "Picking Peaches," cabaret song.



I conceived The Comic Roach: A Roadhouse Picture Show (also known as "Mr. Roach's Roadhouse") in 2009 for the Capital Fringe Festival in DC.  The conception and execution of this film-cabaret grew from two sources: my desire to create an integrated theatrical performance which included silent film, acting, singing, and live music, and my working association as co-founder of the Snark Ensemble, an instrumental group dedicated to the creation and performance of live music for silent film.  


In creating this show, I wanted to lend a meta-theatrical element to the performance by placing the complete show in the context of a 1920's roadhouse in Culver City, California.  The audience members are the patrons of the roadhouse; the soprano, named "Bella Gardon," is the chanteuse-emcee, and the Snark Ensemble is the "house band."


This film-cabaret, then, screened silent films with intervening songs and banter as part of the overall show.  I created the scenario, character of Bell, and wrote the script for the show.  The order of presentation of the film-cabaret is:


Pre-show music (on a recurrent bass line, music by Simpson with improvised contributions by the ensemble)


Overture (Music by Simpson)

Film 1 (Stolen Goods - Charley Chase, 1924, music by Snark Ensemble composer Phil Carluzzo)


Cabaret song 1 "Picking Peaches" (Music and lyrics by Simpson), Tracy Olivera, the Snark Ensemble


Film 2 (Boobs in the Wood - Harry Langdon, 1925, music by Snark Ensemble composer Maurice Saylor)


Cabaret song 2 "Under the Curse" (Music by Saylor), Tracy Olivera, Andrew Simpson, pno


Film 3 (Too Many Mammas - Charley Chase, 1924, music by Simpson)


Exit March (Music by Simpson, from "Peanuts and Bullets," silent film score)

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