Dispair's Book of Dreams and the Sometimes Radio

Dispair's Book of Dreams and the Sometimes Radio


Despair's Book of Dreams and the Sometimes Radio

Written by Kirk Smith
Directed by Bonnie Cullum
Presented by The VORTEX

“It’s a dark and jarring story that Smith and his vehicle weave for us, a sad clown’s dance through the gory alleys of allegory...eerie and effective”
— Austin Chronicle

"Nothing like this could happen unless everybody else was asleep!"

Austin, Texas poet, playwright and musician Kirk Smith, drawing comparisons to Bill Irwin and Jeff Buckley, presents his waking dreamscape of a lonely, abandoned man revisiting his haunted past through phantom broadcasts from his antique radio. Like the Off-Broadway hit "Hedwig and the Angry Inch", this avante-garde musical is populated by unusual, tormented characters and surprising discoveries about life.

Connie, a washed up poet, spends his time rebuilding an antique radio. As he works, he talks, telling stories, complaining, and rejoicing. Eventually, the music in his head begins to play out loud -- thanks to a cellist, guitarist, and pianist incorporated into the set as a dead plant, a lamp, and a hat rack, respectively. As the night progresses, the visions in Connie’s head become more potent. Finally, the radio begins to broadcast. Sounds come in bits and pieces, all strange and disconnected. Gradually we begin to make sense of the stories and recognize three “radio voices” as people from his past.

"It skates the line of mythology that only Elvis and Jeff Buckley occupy... By confronting the spirit of thwarted dreams, ‘Despair’s’ is sure to haunt the viewer long after leaving the theater” -- CitySearch.


Performed by Kirk Smith with Patricia Wappner, David Sangalli & Elizabeth Doss.

Mime/Movement: Ellen Kolsto & Matthew Patterson. Musicians: Ken Burchenal (Guitar, Musical Director), Alex Krigsfeld (Piano, synthesizer), Michael Werst (Cello)


Austin Circle of Theaters Awards
Director, Musical: Bonnie Cullum;

Actor & Actress, Musical: Kirk Smith;
Lighting Design: Jason Amato;
Set Design: Ann Marie Gordon;
Sound Design (tie): Kirk Smith & Ken Burchenal

The Austin Chronicle: Top 10 productions of 2000