‘Rip Cardigan’ and the wack time travelers

By Gus Bode

Reddy, a robot from the darkest regions of time who is studying robot-human relations, is ready for his story to be told.

Reddy the Robot is one of the stars of ‘Rip Cardigan and the History of the Future,’ a new show playing at the Marion Kleinau Theater Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. each night.’

‘Rip Cardigan’ follows the escapades of scientist Rip Cardigan and his robot, Reddy, as they travel to various alternate realities in search of Cardigan’s arch nemesis, Dr. Improbable. Joining them on the journey is Rona Reed, an intrepid female reporter looking to break free of the puff pieces she has been doing for so long.


The show was ushered to life by writer/director Charles Parrott, a graduate student from Lincoln, Neb., in performance studies.

‘The show started a couple years ago as part of a class where I asked people what they thought the future would look like, and it got me interested in thinking about the future,’ Parrott said.

In creating the concept of the show, Parrott looked to outdated performance modes, and the one that stuck out the most was that of radio shows of the 1930s and ’40s.

‘I wasn’t trying to replicate the medium, but I took the history of the medium and used the attitude as a jumping off point for the show,’ Parrott said. ‘It’s a show that is both funny and provides critical and intellectual thinking on the way that society has changed over the years. It’s also a way to remember the toys and adventure stories we had as children.’

The show functions like a radio broadcast, with breaks, minimal special effects and even some old-time commercials, which were re-recorded by the actors but the scripts were actual commercials for products that aired on the radio, Parrott said. In between the time traveling adventures, the audience can hear about the health benefits of mint julep cigarettes and feminine hygiene products by Lysol.

Rick Jones, a graduate student from St. Louis in performance studies who plays Rip Cardigan, said he was eager to do the show because it is different from what he has done before.

‘I’ve been doing theater for 15 years, and often times actors are stuck doing serious shows. It’s so rare that we, as actors, get a chance to ‘play,” Jones said.


Parrott hopes that people will come out, see the show, remember their pasts and just have a good time with the story.

‘It’s a satisfying experience for both English grad students and their uncles,’ Parrott said.

Wes Lawson can be reached at 536- 3311 ext 275 or [email protected]

BREAKOUT BOX: Tickets are available at the Kleinau box office. The door opens at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Tickets are $5 for students and $7 for adults. For more information, call the box office at 618-453-5618.