Leavening news with laughter
Sometimes the only way to approach the news honestly is by laughing at it. All Things Considered accords itself the right, every now and then, to air audio editorial cartoons. Careful labeling helps listeners tell the parody and satire from the real stories.
These rages against reality often are credited to "The NPR Players." There is no such group. The title is a way to acknowledge the work of Kerry Thompson, Murray Horwitz, Rebecca Flowers, Don Lee, Tom Cole, Sean Collins and other staff members who are willing to forego a few minutes of productive work, to come into the studio to write and perform. My job is to goad them on, and claim credit whenever I can.
-- Art Silverman, ATC producer and artistic director of The NPR Players
Here, some of Silverman's favorite NPR Players performances:
We felt that in order to succeed, NAFTA needed a rousing song to unite the enormous region covered by the treaty.
Evita in Ecuador
A February 1997 news story from Ecuador had all the ingredients of a new Andrew Lloyd Weber musical: a three-way tug-of-war for the presidency, a feisty female officeholder, a vagabond ex-leader, corruption
and intrigue in an exotic location.
With the (first) Bush White House and Congress locked in a fight over the federal budget, we told the story as documentary filmmaker Ken Burns might have in a Civil-War-style PBS series.
Leader of Iraq
To the tune of Leader of the Pack, we address world concerns about Saddam Hussein making nuclear weapons.
This modern Rime of the Ancient Mariner was inspired by news reports that a Dutch fisherman recovered his lost false teeth in the belly of a recently-caught cod. Though the story was later revealed to be a hoax (a friend had "planted" the teeth in the fish's belly), the broadcast stands as ATC's best use ever of Dutch words in rhymed verse.
Contents Copyright 2001, National Public Radio