Assistant Features Editor
It is a luxury to be able to perform theatre, especially after COVID shut down many Broadway and off-Broadway shows. However, OBU Theatre is already preparing their next production, “Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play.”
“Vintage Hitchcock will create an experience that feels interactive. The audience enters into the live radio show by pulling back the curtain and seeing the radio show [as it would be] performed instead of simply hearing through the radio,” director Jennifer Ezell said.
In this play, Alfred Hitchcock’s hallmarks of suspense, including murder, love, spies and other elements are reimagined as a radio broadcast of his earlier films. “Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play” recreates three Hitchcock classics, including “The Lodger,” “Sabotage,” and “The 39 Steps,” complete with vintage commercials and live sound effects with musical underscoring. Divided into three acts, each act of the show is like three separate mini-plays. Having a large cast is inevitable in a play that has several acts filled with characters interdependent upon each other. Senior music and vocal performance major Harmony Dewees shares her enthusiasm for being apart of the show.
“[Even though] I’m not a theatre major, or someone who usually does shows, I’m looking forward to the ensemble bonding and performances.”
The cast of the show includes Anna Smolen playing a total of 13 characters, Natalie Bright playing three, Christopher Augustus (Augie) Mathews with five, Harmony Dewees with nine, Jordan Evans with eight, Kenney Largent with two, Nathan Goforth with eight, Zoe Burdess with nine, Juliana Storer with two, as well as being in charge of the live sound effects and finally, Avery Marsh playing 10 characters.
The characters all have their own distinct personalities and voices in spite of the numerous amount of individual characters in the play. Senior Theatre Major Christopher Augustus Mathews has many roles in the production, including appearing in the play and working as a lighting designer, master electrician and head of the scene shop. Mathews shares his feelings about being a versatile part of this show.
“As part of this show I have five voices. I am excited for my friends and family to come to a show in which I am pouring out so much work and for them and for the rest of the audience to see the unity of all those roles coming together.” Mathews said.
Other members of the cast described being excited for the chance to learn and expand, and were not intimidated by the multiple roles at all.
The return to viewing and experiencing theatre in person is certainly a blessing. Although OBU continued to stage shows in person the previous year, COVID definitely had an impact on the show. From changes to actors’ staging to the limited seating, as well as mandatory masking requirements, and so on. “Vintage Hitchcock” however, is a return to that norm of seeing theatre live in a safe environment.
Ezell shares what she is most excited about in regards to the upcoming show.
“The thing I’m most looking forward to about this show is that after feeling strange for over a year in the theatre world, we’re finally getting to do a show that brings back our memories of going to the theatre, watching live performances, and feeling ‘normal’ again. A return to when theatre was an event we eagerly anticipated,” Ezell said.
In its own way, “Vintage Hitchcock” presents a theatre show that is also challenging. Due to being a recreation of a radio drama, the show breaks away from traditional notions of ‘the stage becomes the world of the play.’ Instead, the audience will see the performance of the radio cast performing the shows, not necessarily seeing the world of the ‘show within the show.’ Ezell describes the nature of the show.
“Telling a story that isn’t a full theatre show, [that is, the radio drama, not the individual stories,] and somehow expressing the physicality of being on stage, and differentiating it from just a vocal performance.” Ezell said.
Ezell continues sharing about how OBU’s rendition “Vintage Hitchcock” will be unique.
This rendition will create an experience that feels interactive; the audience enters into the live radio show, by pulling back the curtain and seeing the radio show [as it would be] performed instead of simply hearing through the radio. Ultimately, it is the kind of thing the audience needs to see to understand.” Ezell said.
“Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play” will perform for a two week period in early November. The dates are as follows: November 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. November 7th at 2:30 p.m. and then again the following weekend, with performances dating November 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m., with the final performance being held on November 13th at 2:30 p.m. Stay tuned for a follow-up story containing any new updated information about “Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play” in an October edition of The Bison.