Twin Brothers Team Up To Create Audio Drama

By: Jennifer Sexton-Riley

Topics: Local Music , Local Theater , Local authors , local artist

J Hagenbuckle and twin brother Geoffrey Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle. 

Just in time for Halloween, Cape Noir Radio Theater is back for a second season with another original audio drama. This time it's a family affair.
Cape Noir creator J Hagenbuckle has joined forces with twin brother Geoffrey Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle, a writer living in New York City, to create “Ick-A-Body,” an adaptation based on a longer work by Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle. Hagenbuckle describes the work as a dark comedy thriller in which a private detective named Lovecraft, assisted by Mary Jane, a librarian specializing in the occult, and Gobert, a contentious homicide lieutenant, take on the “voodoo investigation” of a grisly murder in New Orleans. 
Hagenbuckle said his brother Geoffrey's much longer piece, called “KOOK!”, explores a stream of loosely interconnected characters and stories.
“The part featuring Lovecraft, the mood, location and story struck me as an arresting radio play,” Hagenbuckle said. “We talked and he said sure, 'cannibalize it.' I took the core story and created an ending, knocking it around with him.”
Hagenbuckle said his brother's years spent living in New Orleans gave him valuable insight into the characters and the culture of the region.
“He lived there for a number of years, spent much of his time writing in his apartment on Carondelet Street and emerged covered with tattoos, a map of sorts of his Bohemian poet experiences there.”
Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle worked on a movie shoot in New Orleans in the late 1980s, and the city made a lasting impression. He recalled a time when a welder on the set found a clouded Mason jar full of knuckle bones secreted in the crawlspace of a house near Congo Square, an area now within Louis Armstrong Park just north of the French Quarter, known in the 19th century for exhibitions of voodoo dance and ritual. Despite warnings from a local man to leave the jar alone, the welder took it.
“Our man didn’t listen,” Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle said. “On his way home, he ran a red light for no reason. Wrecked the truck and broke both his hands.”    
Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle's poetry has appeared in journals including Aufgabe, The Boston Review, Fence and The Paris Times. He is a reviewer at The Fanzine and has worked on such films as “Tremors,” “Finding Forrester,” and “Our City Dreams.”
The family involvement in “Ick-A-Body” crosses into the next generation, as Hagenbuckle's son, Jayck, provides what Hagenbuckle calls the “jive-talking, free association, rambleskat voice” of Sunshine, the victim in the story. Hagenbuckle has recorded a few music projects with his son, including a CD called “Sycc Mäd: A Thousand and One Talez From The Grill,” and a song for his band Acid Reign. This is Jayck's first collaboration with his Uncle Geoffrey.
“It's always an enjoyable bonding experience with Jayck,” Hagenbuckle said. “Geoffrey's the idea man on this one, the cartographer. I just followed his lead, weaved in some story threads and put a button on it. When Geoffrey and I were kids we used to draw a lot of Batman and superhero cartoons. One day during an especially inspired session on a hill in the Camp Tonset woods in Orleans, we made a solemn vow to become crime fighters. It looks like this radio play is going to have to suffice as the fulfillment of that dream!” 
Hagenbuckle voices the Lovecraft character, and returning company members Carryl Lynn and David Wallace voice Mary Jane and Gobert. Newcomer Leanne McLaughlin voices the street person in the epilogue.
Music is always a vital part of Cape Noir Radio Theater, and “Ick-A-Body” is no exception. The show opens with a version of "Hot Voodoo" made famous by Marlene Deitrich in the 1932 film “Blonde Venus.” Music from Dr. John the Night Tripper's early album "Gris Gris,” a gritty guitar-driven version of "I Put A Spell On You," some Zydeco tunes, some Creedence Clearwater Revival and Sonny Terry will make the atmosphere complete during short transitions and underscoring. Stick around when the tale is through to hear The Byrds' "Lover Of The Bayou" as it wraps up the end credits.
“Ick-A-Body,” although laced with dark humor, contains some grisly and rather bizarre elements. What is Hagenbuckle's advice in terms of age appropriateness?
“Best to shield the little kiddies from it,” he said. “Although, hey, kids these days...Am I right?”
Cape Noir Radio Theater's original adaptation of “Ick-A-Body,” adapted and directed by J Hagenbuckle, adapted from a work by Geoffrey Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle, produced in partnership with Cape Cod Theatre Company/HJT, is online on the WOMR podcast page (womr.org/podcast_category/cape-noir-radio-theater/) or at WOMR 92.1 FM and WFMR 91.3 FM, on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 8:30 p.m.