Harvest Audio in association with Decorated Air Theatre, October 2011 - February 2012
Set in the late 1970s, This Thing of Ours concerns the
Colombo crime family running a 'business' ın New York City. There are several main characters talking in accents
familiar to anyone brought up on Coppola's Godfather trilogy using staccato rhythms accompanied by understatements
(for example, the verb to "take care of" something, which normally means instant death for those unfortunate enough to be
the recipient of such treatment).
Spaulding's principal concern is to emphasize loyalty and tradition within the family;
this is the only means by which they can sustain good government in their territory. Any rebellions are ruthlessly quashed:
one word from Carmine Santorelli (Joe Rodriguez), the principal protagonist as well as the leading figure in the family
'business,' is enough to do the trick.
Occasionally the drama prioritizes talk over action, which causes occasional longueurs,
but the violent moments are vividly handled through the use of sound-effects, coupled with an understated narration
from the Announcer (Ben Blankenship). Above all, we are made to understand how powerful the Mafia was at that time; no
one could either contradict them or challenge their authority.
In historical terms, This Thing of Ours offers an interesting portrait
of American society in the post-Watergate era - a time when the law of the jungle prevailed in a fundamentally
corrupt world. One wonders if similar conditions exist today, in spite of the much-publicized 'clean-up' of
the city that began in the mid-1980s and continues to this day.
I see from the Decorated Air Theatre's website that this is the first season
of the drama, suggesting that further episodes might soon follow. I look forward to hearing them.