Fall play chooses a new format


Knight Errant File Photo

The new format of the fall play as a radio play means that actors will be focusing on their voices as the main method of conveying their characters.

Despite these changing times putting restrictions on many aspects of daily life, BSM’s drama department has not let this discontinue their annual fall play. This year’s play will be a radio version of It’s a Wonderful Life.

Although it’s unfortunate that audiences will not be able to watch in person, the cast and director, Mr. Jake Mahler, is making the most out of this unique situation. “I thought that that would be a perfect story to tell this year, given the climate and given how polarized the world has become… and how beautiful a story that can be to remind us all what good we can do for each other if we put that focus on helping each other,” Mahler said.

Since there won’t be much of a need for singing and dancing, Mahler came up with other ways to conduct the story. “You’ll see the actors have microphones; you’ll see the Foley artists––we’re going to call them––making the sound effects… so when they’re walking down the street, the actors aren’t going to be moving, they’ll be standing right at their microphone, but you’ll see somebody with a pair of shoes making the sound at a different microphone, which can be a lot of fun,” Mahler said.

He knew there had been previous productions of It’s a Wonderful Life that had been written specifically to be radio plays, so he seized this perfect opportunity to refocus the energy of these negative times and portray a story about a community coming together to save one person. “We are trying to be able to do things that are socially distanced but still have the capacity to tell a moving story… with the yearning for some sense of normalcy in the world… I figured that something that might help with that is the nostalgia of the old fashion radio play where families would sit together around the radio and listen to a story,” Mahler said.

The production will be live-streamed via audio but the drama department is working on having visual options as well. One benefit of having it recorded is that it can be enjoyed again and again. It will be originally taped sometime around Friday, November 13, but will be available for streaming after as well. “It’s also a Christmas play, so I think it might be kind of fun to not necessarily have it streamed that day, but a couple of weeks later after Thanksgiving maybe you want to listen to it or watch it after Thanksgiving with your family,” Mahler said.

With the yearning for some sense of normalcy in the world… I figured that something that might help with that is the nostalgia of the old fashion radio play where families would sit together around the radio and listen to a story.

— Mr. Jake Mahler

One disadvantage is that it will be more difficult to allow the cast to connect, as opposed to previous years where kids could be closer and connect on stage. Despite this, Mahler is looking on the bright side and has pointed out that this new format allows the cast to explore different abilities, such as their voices. “It forces you to deal with your attention to detail in a different way. You have to think about how am I using different actor tools that they haven’t necessarily needed when you were in a straight play. It kind of forces you to be a little more creative with some of that aspect, which I like,” Mahler said.

Sophomore, Jillian Petty, is a member of the cast and plays a radio show producer named Jordan Spanks. She is looking forward to the performance and is ready to take on the challenges of this new style of acting. “Some challenges the actors have are really getting into our roles and feeling the scenes when we aren’t within six feet of each other. Really, it’s just hard to have an emotional scene if you aren’t looking at the person,” Petty said.

Even though it’s not the same as previous plays with singing, dancing, and an audience, Petty holds on to the excitement of this new task. “I’m looking forward most to making others laugh. It’s always been a goal of mine to make others happy and to have a good time,” Petty said.

The cast and director have eagerly taken on this new format and the challenges it presents. “I have no strong emotions for the new format one way or the other. I find it fine and new. It’s exciting to take on the radio show challenge,” Petty said.