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Theater Productions Emphasize Radio

Theater Productions Emphasize Radio

Two upcoming theater productions in and near the nation’s capital are playing up the role of radio in American life.
SoundIncentive is a new organization “dedicated to reviving (and reinterpreting) the American radio play.” In two performances this month, it will recreate a live radio performance of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Ticket sales will benefit a local social services organization.
Separately, the American Century Theater in northern Virginia is presenting a week of original plays in the style of old-time live radio drama to “capture the power of the words.”
This coming week, audience members will be able to call a toll-free number to hear seven original plays by Suzan-Lori Parks, the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for drama. The plays will be performed by professional actors with live sound effects. Listeners “can also connect the broadcast to a speaker phone and invite their friends and family to experience the ‘theater of the imagination’ that made radio drama so effective and memorable,” a theater executive stated.
Parks authored 365 short plays of five to seven minutes apiece, one for each day of the year; various cities are presenting the plays in order, with a different theater company taking each week.
“The radio theater format gives us an opportunity to get live theater into the homes of people who may not be able to travel, during a time of year that can be very stressful,” stated the theater’s artistic director. “We are bringing live theater directly into homes. This is free, and both new and nostalgic. All anyone needs is a telephone. … I promise that over-the-phone the plays will sound just like a studio production.” The performance is about 40 minutes; listeners use an 800 number and a PIN code.
Information is at the theater’s Web site.