Saturday, December 21, 2013

A 1940's Radio Christmas Carol Presented by The Drama Workshop at the Glenmore Playhouse

I have never seen a play quite like this one.  I've seen plays within plays.  I've seen audience participation plays.  A 1940's Radio Christmas Carol is both plus it has an intermission that leaves the audience wondering if the intermission is real or part of the play.  In addition, it is a comedy, a drama and a musical. The director, Dennis Murphy, and Producer, Elaine Volker, did a great job.

As usual, the lobby was decorated to reflect the theater's presentation.

Kent Smith plays Clifton Feddington, the announcer and general manager of WOV Air Theatre.  Bill Keeton plays William St. Clair, the special guest who appears as Scrooge.  Here they are during the intermission.

Others in the cast are Clint Brankamp, Karen Wiebe, Joe Penno, Ian Tinney, Morgan Carter Woodring, Joel Lind, Ramona Toussaint, Matthew Bross, Tobie Braverman, Dennis Betz and Chimere Egesi.

When the performers passed out a flyer complete with biographies of Cliffton Feddington, William St. Clair and the other members of WOV Air Theatre, we, the audience, realized we were part of the play, too.  At the back of the set, lights lit up to show when  the performance was On Air and to remind us when Applause was to be our response.  You can see those rectangular signs under the WOV logo to the  left of  the sound effects booth.  "Little" Jackie Sparks (Matthew Bross) and Buzz Crenshaw (Ian Tinney) are standing behind the  booth during intermission.  On it and in front are various tools of the sound effects trade. Toots Navarre, composer, musical and vocal arranger,(played by Dennis Betz),  is standing at the left with a coffee cup in his hand.

The play reminded me of programs my dad listened to on radio when I was a child. The spot ads were a fun spoof of the ads I remember. The WOV signature song brought back memories, too as did the various 1940's style harmonized songs sung by a lead vocalist backed by  the ensemble of all the performers  and interspersed throughout the radio production.  As I recall the play, there were several lead vocalists depending on what the radio production suddenly needed because the production did not go smoothly.  Even that was typical of some of the programs my dad listened to.

There is a recognizable version of Dicken's A Christmas Carol at the heart of this play.  How the players react to it is an important part of the play.

Like many of the movies of the 40's, there is  wry humor as well as slapstick humor but the serious business of the World War II always looming in the background.  Patriotism and faith in the troops is the order of the day.  Here is the back page of the WOV program flyer.

The play has been well received with several sell-out performances.  If this play is presented in your area next Christmas season, make an effort to see it.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an interesting production.
    Merry Christmas! I hope you are having a fun day. Everyone has taken off for other Christmas Gatherings so I am headed to the couch for a nap:)