College of the Desert’s performing arts department will be presenting online “An Evening of Zoom Radio Theatre.” Using various vintage radio scripts ranging from 1943-1952, students will perform virtually in a unique performance that was curated by a friend of COD’s theatre director, Janet Miller.
“The various vintage radio shows were curated by my friend and colleague, Roger Rittner. There will be two programs, and we will alternate nights. We will have a Zoom link where people can watch,” said Miller. The show dates have been postponed until after spring break. The dates are April 9, 10, 16, 17 at 7 p.m. and April 11 and 18 at 2 p.m.
Acting for the theatre is an experience that is best suited on stage. However, due to the pandemic, many things have been restricted, such as going to school on campus and performing on a stage with a live audience.
Many of the actors and actresses agree that the performing aspect is very different. Frank Barrera, a theatre major, said, “A couple of weeks ago, I went to go visit my old high school to say hello to my old theatre teacher. I walked onto the old stage, and I thought it was really weird being there for the first time in a while.”
Barrera continues, “It is very different in the beginning, but once we got used to it and figured out how to have a strong and established internet connection, you get used to it. But it is still a little strange because the one on one interactions are different. There won’t be any lag in person like on the internet.”
Majesty Byrd, a theatre major, also talks about how it can be hard to act through Zoom. “In person, you can pick up everybody’s energy. You can pick up your ques quicker,” Byrd says. “There is not as much as a connection as there would have been if we had done this in person.”
Theatre is an art that requires a connection with those you are performing with By, discussing how she and her castmates try to overcome that barrier. Before every rehearsal, they try to talk about what is happening in everyone’s life to keep the energy flowing.
“One of the major things we have had to overcome is home life and producing a play.” Laura Martinez-Urrea, a theatre major, said. “There are a lot of different obstacles that are just natural parts of life, like my dogs. That can make it even more challenging apart from just the platforming issues.”
Despite all these challenges, these wonderful actors and actresses have found a way to prevail and are very excited to put on a never done before a performance of radio theatre.
Radio theatre has been around since 1924, with the first play written for radio called A Comedy Of Danger by Richard Hughes. According to Bookriot, “the first radio drama was a show called ‘The Wolf,’ adapted from a play of Charles Sommerville by Eugene Walter, also in 1924.”
The big difference between radio theatre and stage acting is only the physical aspect. A theatre is a place where you act with your voice, body language and face. However, in radio theatre, the acting is focused mainly on your voice.
Some might think of not performing with body movements because they will sit down and instead be performing with their voice. Christopher Doshier, a theatre major, talks about how there is not much of a difference between them.
“When we are on stage, we shouldn’t be doing over-the-top hand gestures.. the same things apply here as it does on stage. We want to know who our character is, we want to know what our character wants, we know from moment to moment what is driving our character, why is the character saying what they are saying and delivering the line it should be done and letting it rise organically,” said Doshier.
Andres Benavides, a theatre major, talks about his experience in this new radio theatre. “In all honesty, I’ve never listened to radio theatre before. But I was reminded that it was like a voiceover, completely. I personally enjoy this because of my ability to use my voice. Every time I talk to someone about my voice, they always say that I reminded them of a radio announcer.”
The theatre department’s performances are scheduled for this month, They would love for everyone to come and watch their performance on March 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 with the zoom link here.
Updated March 16 @ 2:45 p.m.