Looked down upon, disfigured, lonely, nearly hopeless—this is the life of the king’s jester, HOP FROG. Stripped from his family and forced to be the butt end of every joke from the king, Hop Frog’s daily life is nothing short of torture.
But what is the story of an underdog without their eventual rise from the ashes? While Hop Frog may be physically lame, he is not dumb, nor a stranger to plotting revenge.
The revenge and the brewing tension of Poe’s story climaxes at a masquerade ball which RadioTheatre makes amply vivid with the tailored use of sound effects. We are immersed in light conversation, laughter in unison, and then screams of horror and chaos—you too, like this reviewer, may feel like you are part of the crowd.
Aside from these sound effects, most of the story is told through the voice of a narrator—and while her voice is full of tone and projection, it can be a touch overbearing, to this listener’s ears anyway.
Nevertheless, between the lines is the story of a low-luck outcast who finally sees victory, in their own wicked, Poe-like way. If that is the kind of tale you enjoy—as most Poe diehards do—HOP FROG is 19-minutes well spent. However, for relative newcomers to the Poe canon, this might not be the best place to start.
Frank Zilinyi, R.Patrick Alberty, Alejandro Cardozo, Caitlin Boyle, Sarah Gwynne Walker
Dan Bianchi (director/story adapter/sound), Wes Shippee (sound design/tech director)
Photos courtesy of Dan Bianchi
About the Author:
Margaret Smith is a writer, editor, and critic achieving her B.A. from Columbia College Chicago. Having migrated from small-town Illinois, she now dwells in Chicago with a curious eye for art and a penchant for commentary. When not putting pen to paper, you might catch her about the city sipping coffee and filling in crossword puzzles.