Play switches to audio only format


Donovan Wilson Reporter

The Theatre Department has found a way to work around the regulations of COVID-19 and put on a radio production of “An Enemy Of The People.”

“An Enemy Of The People” is a play written by Henrik Ibsen. The play focuses on a scientist who discovers a poisonous bacteria in his town’s water and then shifts to political unrest in the small town. The play, which has been adapted to a radio drama, is performed entirely in five acts.

“We are so happy that you can hear these crazy stories,” said the director of the play Benjamin Curns.

This semester started with the Theatre Department uncertain as to the way plays would be conducted or which plays could even be produced, but the one certainty was that the play would still carry on. This play worked to the strengths of the times we currently live in with COVID-19 regulations as it didn’t require anybody to be in person. The audio-only nature allowed it to be easily produced.

“This is a topic we should constantly be talking about,” said President of the Crescent Players Leah Herde.

In 2014, there was a health crisis in Flint, Mich. with this still being an ongoing issue and the COVID-19 pandemic being currently prominent all over the world, this play holds a lot of relevance.

The music of the play was produced by the Crescent Players, as it usually is. The music they played had a very creepy vibe to it which makes the play even more appropriate for the times.

Plays include many moving parts rather than just the actors involved. All non-orchestral score sound effects were handled by the Theatre Department and cued to happen separately from the actors’ audio.

There were no visual aids used. With the entire focus being on audio, that’s where a bulk of the production took place. It also required the actors to put all of the emotion that they would normally display through costumes, movements and facial expressions entirely into the volume and inflections of their voices.

“They just don’t make house calls like they used to,” said member of the virtual audience Ariana Harris.

Plays usually always feed off of audience involvement to gauge enjoyment, see what worked can be reused next time or can be retooled. While there was no live audience, the production used a live chat that allowed the virtual audience to comment on the play. In some ways, this offered more in-depth, real time criticism from the viewers than is possible in-person.

The play first aired Oct. 9. There were subsequent performances on Oct. 10 and 11 and there will be performances of the play Oct. 15 through Oct. 18. All performances are at 8 p.m. the respective night.

The Theatre Department next production will be the play “Sweat.” This will be the second and final production of this semester. Auditions finished on Oct. 6. rehearsals and production is underway.

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