Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Live! Radio! Theatre!

...with a studio audience, mind you.

OK. Not precisely accurate, in that we weren't actually, you know, broadcasting over the radio. But, hey, the longest journey starts with a single step and that sort of thing.

Voice-buddy Alex put out the call for folks who might be interested in a very short reading on a classic radio play. She's been taking an acting class through the local college, and the assignment had been to "do something." Bless her creativity, she realized she might know some folks who liked to talk and act. Four of us - Wendy, Jess, Marilyn and myself - signed up, worked the script up a bit in a short practice session last weekend and gave the performance to the class.

It was more than pretty cool. The class room had a proper stage and elevated seating for the audience, so it had that proper feel. Alex had brought in her travel microphone, rigged up the laptop to record and had music beds and sound effects under her control. The rest of us jockeyed for position at the single mic, made too-loud rustling sounds with our pages and acted away.

The stylized text of the play - a 1948 classic story - gave it that "Radio Era" feel. You could imagine the actors working through it, the engineer watching the time cues... The audience even laughed where they were supposed to.

Ended too danged early. But, the students - actors themselves - generated a more-than-kind round of applause. We gathered our gear and left quickly (first rule after finishing a gig, eh?). But, as we made our way out, we chatted about how much fun that had been, and more importantly, how cool it would be to do some full radio scripts - for podcast or just for our own fun.

The "live" nature was probably the most fun - it had all the great dynamic of dialogue work, but as acting teacher/director Frank Coppola pointed out in the last class I had with him, when you are onstage, you don't get to go back or start over. If a wrong word comes out, you have to correct and move on - seamlessly is helpful - and work with the other actors to make that happen. Pressure is on, but in an invigorating way.

Gotta figure out how to do this again... Thanks Alex, Jess, Wendy and Marilyn!

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