Tuesday 14 March 2017

What is the difference between a radio play and a staged play?

The performance on October 2, 2016 at Surf  Lodge:
Tina Jones, Chris Jans, Drew Staniland,
Kathy McIntyre, David Botten 
I got to find out for myself when I stepped in to one of the roles at a rehearsal for my radio play, October Ferries to Gabriola. (By candlelight because of a power outage.) All I had to do was read the lines in the script, while the actors did everything else.

It is so cramped and busy up there at a mic, and the actors play several parts, often with different accents. There are no separate scenes written into the script, it’s a matter of swiping back and forth, sometimes with a narrator setting the scene.

A radio play moves faster than a staged play. There’s no pausing, no chance to catch your breath. And surprisingly, the actors don’t just stand there. They move around, over to the typewriter, over to the shoes that make the walking sounds, whistles for bird calls, and neatly arranged pieces of glass which sound just like a glass breaking when hit together.

Kathy McIntyre played Margerie, an actressy actress, who shook her bracelets for emphasis. Finding the perfect bracelets was a bit of a challenge, but they were effective, dangling from a string tied to a microphone.

The actors had to practice to keep from laughing. They didn’t slip up once, but they knew that, if they did, the audience would get a kick out of it.

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