Theatre re-popularizing the radio show

By Emma Russell

Student Life Editor

Due to social distancing guidelines, live theatre is no longer an option. Even Broadway has made the decision to close until 2021, and even that may be an optimistic prediction. However, the Washington College department of theatre and dance is still intending to move forward with the productions planned for the fall 2020 semester.

For his performance Senior Capstone Experience (SCE) Will Reid was set to star as the lead in the play “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” based on the novel by the same name written by Mark Haddon and adapted into a play by Simon Stephens. Directed by Iz Clemens 19’ this play is about a boy named Christopher who excels at math but lacks everyday social skills and abilities. One night he finds a dog who has been murdered, and upon finding himself under suspicion is determined to solve the mystery.

Instead of being performed in front of a live audience, Will Reid said that the play will be “more like a podcast, almost like a radio play.” Similar in style to the podcast musical “36 Questions”, starring  Johnathon Groff and Jessie Shelton (which has been popularized by the social media app Tik Tok) and has shown theatre-lovers that theatre will always find a way to prevail, even in the most unlikely of circumstances.

“I wanted to keep this immersive quality that I had envisioned if we were doing a full-blown production,” said Reid. A radio show, Reid realized,  was going to be the best way to put this show forward, under the current COVID conditions. Not only is it the best way to continue with the show, but it’s also a learning experience for Reid as well as the other nine actors (who have yet to be cast) in voice acting. Something they probably wouldn’t get much experience working on within the department. Reid, a huge cartoon and anime fan is looking forward to experimenting with this new form of acting and is ready to face the challenge.

While everything is still in very early stages it seems as if junior Meagan Jenkins, who is the sound designer for the show, is going to have her work cut out for her. The theatre department is getting Jenkins a field reporter, a device she’ll be able to use to make and record her own sounds, leaning more into the radio show effect Reid is striving to aim for.  Megan said she wants to try and use sound to show what’s happening inside Christopher’s head, “What I got out of the story (sound-wise) was that Christopher is sensitive to most sounds and so I think using sound to show how he processes it (since the show is in his perspective) is the way I’m going to go for now.”

However, despite the apparent lack of need for other designers Reid assures that the hard work put in by senior Miles Cochran, the lighting designer, and sophomore Lexi Meola, the costume designer, will be featured in a specially designed website.

The show was originally meant to have a two-show run, with performances on Nov. 12-13. If all goes to plan with the reacquisition of rights, says Reid, that date should remain in place for the release of the podcast.

If anybody is interested in auditioning for the show, auditions will be conducted virtually through an online portal open Aug. 24 -30 according to the update email sent out by the Theatre and Dance department.

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