An intrepid cast in a 1940 radio show learns a few minutes before show time that they have nothing with which to make sounds just before going live with a performance of “A Christmas Carol.”
The show opening is Thursday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Paris Junior College.
“In this production we pay homage to the golden age of radio,” said PJC Drama faculty and play director William L. Walker, “where families gathered around their wireless sets, eagerly awaiting the next episode of their favorite programs. Comedy played a pivotal role in lifting spirits and fostering a sense of unity during these turbulent years.”
Penned by Dr. Page Petrucka, “A 1940’s Christmas Carol” showcases the ingenuity of the actors – both PJC students and those they portray – to ensure the show goes on.
The cast at KFLG AM radio in Kansas City, Kansas learns ten minutes before show time that their sound engineer with all sound equipment won’t make it. As they scramble to find objects to make sounds and how to use them, they forge ahead to make the best of a crazy situation. Audiences of all ages will enjoy this hilarious, fast-paced comedy with a timely Christmas theme.
“This adaptation of the classic ‘A Christmas Carol’ takes a whimsical turn as unforeseen comedic circumstances unfold on stage,” Walker said. “The actors, in the spirit of the 1940s radio era, find themselves in a hilarious scenario where they must create their own sound effects. Imagine the joyous chaos as they fumble with everyday objects to produce the sounds of footsteps, door creaks, and even the clattering of chains.”
Both the actors and backstage crew have been having fun and learning.
“My character has many voices. It’s definitely different; I’ve had to learn to do a British accent,” said Brayden Oats, who plays Ralphie Rogers. “I’ve had a lot of fun doing this play. It has physical comedy and the little bits that some people might not catch and others see and laugh – that makes it all great. It’s going to be a really good show.”
“I help the actors keep up with their lines and go through it with them,” said Assistant Stage Manager Jayden Retiz. “I also help out with comedic advertising reads in the production and with props, and it’s been a great learning experience.”
“I play Lana, a classic leading lady-type such as Judy Garland or Lana Turner, but she’s extremely anxiety-ridden and has multiple breakdowns,” said Sarah Curtis. “It is a super-hysterical show that has a lot of slapstick physical gags that bring to mind television reruns from the 1950s such as ‘I Love Lucy’ or ‘Bewitched.’ The interactions are also fun to watch because we play a character playing five other characters, so we have to maintain our character while also portraying the radio play’s characters. There are also story lines where actors might hate or love each other. It is family-friendly and there is a good balance between physical slapstick and performing a really good rendition of ‘A Christmas Carol.’”
Tickets will be cash or check at the door with general admission $15; senior citizens/students: $10; those with current PJC ID: free. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate and receive a discounted ticket for $5.
Cast | Ms. Charlie Studebaker – Emma Davis; Hank Jeffries – Ryan Smith; Lana Smith – Sarah Curtis; Judy Miller – Brenna Mills; Shirley Caldwell – Addison Brown; Ralphie Rogers – Brayden Oats; and Patsy Studebaker – Katherine Chesson.
Crew | Stage Manager – Jordan White; Assistant Stage Manager 1 – Jayden Retiz; Assistant Stage Manager 2 – Brendan Rite; and Crew – Amanda Blouin, T.K. McGee, and Rylie Johnson.
Photo cutline 2: From left, Brenna Mills and Addison Brown improvise with founds objects to create sounds for the live radio play, “A Christmas Carol,” in the PJC drama production opening Thursday at 7:30 p.m.