The pandemic of the last year has interfered with many school sports, programs and events, and continuing these programs has required a lot of thought and creativity. The theatre department is yet another example of finding ways to produce quality work by putting a new (or old) spin on things.
In trying to find a solution to the problem, the department came up with the idea to perform a radio play and selected “War of the Worlds,” which is a retelling of H. G. Wells’ novel about a martian attack on the United States, first aired in 1938. It caused a panic among the people because those who turned it late thought they were listening to an actual radio report on how Martians are attacking the United States.
This radio play is a first for everyone involved, including all the actors and even for Mr. Ryan Clark, the program coordinator. Since we have made television our main means of entertainment when at home, radio plays have died out significantly in comparison to their earlier audience bases. However, with COVID-19, this has given the theatre program a chance to try something different, since it allows them to operate while acting in accordance with safety protocols.
The actors have been rehearsing primarily “on BlueJeans over the past few months. [But] are beginning to rehearse in the theatre once-a-week socially distanced. This type of work requires actors to have flexibility with their voices in order to create dynamic characters for audiences to hear,” Clark said. And for the majority of those involved, the students have never experienced a radio play since technology has come a long way since 1938, making it an especially intriguing performance as it is a first for the audience who must use their imaginations along with the people involved.
The idea of using our imaginations is something we have put to the side when it comes to the booming new forms of theatre, television and film. Everything now has some sort of visual attached to it, especially with the majority of content that we consume on a regular basis.
For those looking for a new experience, trying a radio play would be a good experience, as there is still some visual with the actors in costumes.
For those who are interested, Clark said a link for the performance will be made available to the students and staff/faculty soon.