Friday, February 24, 2017

February 24. Day 55. Mind games

I am a big lover of radio. It is probably both the most portable and the most intimate of mediums. It is with you in the bedroom, the kitchen, the bathroom and the car. It can be the voice in your head as you walk. You hear the words and your mind does the rest, creating the pictures. It is a wonderful way of telling stories. Of course, I also love a play, where actors bring the characters to life through the power of their voices, their bodies and a little bit of theatrical magic. Given this, it is really no surprise that a radio play is right up my alley.  A staged radio play presents both a unique challenge to actors and an opportunity to audiences. For actors much of the work is created through voice. But unlike a "real" radio play, the audience enjoys the benefits of facial expressions and gestures. It's a voice acting on steroids. For the audience you get to see this unfold but in addition sound effects are created before your eyes. Shoes bang on the table to create the sounds of steps, water is splashed in a bucket to create the illusion of people swimming, glasses are clinked, paper is crushed. It is the antithesis of how modern story telling is heading. Splashy special effects and computer generated multimedia mean that little is left to the imagination. I think this is a shame and it's part of the reason I head to Nash Theatre in New Farm every year to see their radio play. This year the choice was The Philadelphia Story, a tale about the upcoming wedding of a socialite couple. Throw in the tabloids sneaking around for a scoop, and a hovering ex husband and there are bound to be fireworks. Sound familiar? if you are not familiar with the 1950 Katherine film perhaps the musical remake High Society starring Grace Kelly rings a bell. Either way it's a romping good ride and it works perfectly as a radio play. Seeing Stuart Crisp tinkle the ivories as the cast of nine create the word pictures is a joy to behold. It's worth the admission price alone to see Susie Williams create the sound effects.
More details on how to join the magic are available on the Nash Theatre website.

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