A talk with Rick Dalton
By The Fuge
Most folks know Rick Dalton as Ricky Boy Floyd, frontman of the Portland prog-metal band The Horror. During The Horror’s shows, Dalton commands the stage, demands your attention and ravages your every emotion. He can make you laugh. He can make you cry. He can make you fear for your life.
When I heard Dalton was writing and directing a play called The Bigfoot Chronicles, I couldn’t wait to find out more about it. But when I sat down with him to talk about this latest creation, I found Dalton can be as mysterious as Bigfoot himself.
The Bollard: So, The Bigfoot Chronicles…
Written and directed…
What should people expect to see when they go to The Bigfoot Chronicles?
Care to elaborate?
It’s humorous. It’s very funny, with some deep parts. I set up a little time messing with your sensory input as an audience member. I really can’t give away too much. I will say: expect to see my world debut as a writer/director.
Well then, can you tell me about bigfoots, or bigfeet? Are there more than one bigfeetses? What is the plural of bigfoot, anyway?
Again, I don’t want to give away too much. For the sake of conversation, let’s just call him Bigfoot. There may be more, we’re just not sure.
What can you tell me?
I have Supercast. One of the strengths, one of the secret tricks of the play, is that I have a number of characters written for and inspired by the actors who plays them, so they are exaggerated versions of themselves. The dialog was written around what I want these people to say, what amused me.
So the actors were your inspiration?
There were two inspirations for this story. One of them is Todd Manter, who plays Cap Conner, the expedition leader. The character that he is in real life is such a character that it inspired me to have him be this brash leader into the unknown. When you talk to Todd, it’s like you’re talking to Cap. Cap Conner is always there.
The other inspiration was a docudrama that came out in ’77. It was released as a major film called Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot. It left an impression on me as a kid. It was kind of hokey, but it definitely had its moments. It just stuck with me all these years, and it was released at the same time as In Search of Noah’s Ark. It was a double feature that was released all over the place.
That reminds me: Many years back, at an Eggbot barbeque, you adlibbed a scene you called ‘The Yeti’ with Eggbot’s dog, Carlo, playing the Yeti. Did The Bigfoot Chronicles evolve from ‘The Yeti,’ or are they different?
Oh, there’s a huge difference. One is white, and the other is brown.
I don’t know much about the Yeti. He’s not as interesting to me. There are no trees going on, it’s just snow. You get that much glare and that temperature extreme, you’re hallucinating anyway, so it’s like, sure you saw a Yeti.
I don’t claim to know anything about Bigfoot or even have any theories. A lot of people have their own theories, but it’s another matter when you’re out in the middle of nowhere and your tent gets thrown in your face. Those theories tend to dry up pretty fast. I just allow the possibility for a species to exist.
When people hear about the play, they start talking about Bigfoot. I don’t actually care about Bigfoot. This is a story that is more about the human condition, human frailty, terror, relationships, the general concept of searching for the unknown. It’s about finding proof.
So Bigfoot could be God?
Funny you should mention that. Some factors that are addressed in the play are God, aliens, and the existence of human kind.
The way you describe this search for the unknown, coupled with tricking the audience’s sensory input, it sounds like this is not just a play that you sit and watch. It sounds interactive.
You won’t necessarily feel completely safe in your seat.
In all seriousness, I have a little bit of experience with sound and I’m trying to maximize what is available to me. I don’t want it to be just dialog and acting. I want people to be shaken up a bit. I’m utilizing a few tricks with lighting and sound.
Imagination-wise, there is no limit, and it’s like, ‘What can I do to make this better than stuff I’ve seen? Am I remembering everything that you can do? Am I using everything I have to the best of my abilities to really push the envelope?’ I hope it doesn’t turn out to be total crap, because it’ll be like ‘pushing the envelope of mediocre.’
Do we get to see Bigfoot?
Personally, if I pay money to see The Bigfoot Chronicles and we never get a look at him, I would feel ripped off. I would feel like, ‘Yeah, wow, it was great, except for the total lack of Bigfoot.’ So, Bigfoot may very well make an appearance.
Will it be like Kong? The curtain draws back and there’s Bigfoot chained to a post and you’re poking at him with marshmallows on a stick?
Yes [jokingly]. We duplicated the scene, and to save time, we also copied the dialog of King Kong. I just changed the location. Otherwise, it’s exactly the same as King Kong.
So will there be love? Do bigfeet mate for life? Will we learn about Bigfoot as well as ourselves?
Yes. I will tell you this. We learn that Bigfoot is much more than a beast. Much, much more.
The Bigfoot Chronicles shows Fri., March 9, through Sat., March 31, at the Presumpscot Grange Hall, 1844 Forest Ave., Portland, at 7:30 p.m. (18+). Fri. and Sat., March 9 and 10, March 23 and 24 and March 30 and 31; Thurs. and Fri., March 15 and 16. Tix: $8-$10. 838-1821.