“Show” Me The Radio: CB Theatre Goes On The Air

Illustration by Ella Geronimo (’21) Attention ladies and gents! The actors have left the stage — they’re now on the radio! Prepare yourselves for theatrical shows filled with suspense and drama that will have you on the edge of your seat. Sit back and listen — Christian Brothers Theatre Company is on the air! During […]

Illustration by Ella Geronimo (’21)

Attention ladies and gents! The actors have left the stage — they’re now on the radio! Prepare yourselves for theatrical shows filled with suspense and drama that will have you on the edge of your seat. Sit back and listen — Christian Brothers Theatre Company is on the air!

During a year of uncertainty, many high schools all over the country, including Christian Brothers, aren’t able to experience the very essence of a memorable high school year. Despite non-stop challenges, the CB Theatre program has been innovative in finding a way for students to keep participating in the school’s annual fall production by producing radio shows similar to those popular in the ’40’s and ’50’s. CB Theatre Technical Director Ms. Heather Christianson (‘01) and Artistic Director Mr. Michael Jackson explained the process they used for auditions and how our Falcon family can participate and experience theatre while socially distanced from their own homes.

This year Christian Brothers will be producing two shows instead of one. Sorry Wrong Number is about a woman named Mrs. Stevenson who accidentally over hears a plan about men trying to murder a woman. Unsure of what to do, the suspense and anticipation continues to grow. In Always Room At The Top, an ambitious woman named Helen doesn’t hesitate to become a man’s replacement after the death of the male employee in an advertising firm. However, the man’s death is not what it seems.

To listen in, the audio shows will be available on YouTube. These performances will be aired on November the 13th and November the 20th. Keep your ears open for other platforms that will be made accessible.

The typical fall audition process at CB is for students to come into the Stidum Theater and act out a few of the scenes as different characters with others who are also auditioning. Depending on a few different factors, some actors may go to call backs the next day or directly after tryouts. Unsurprisingly, due to social distancing, actors are unable to meet up and perform in person so Ms. Christianson and Mr. Jackson picked the method of using Dropbox for submitting pre-recorded auditions.

“They had to choose a scene on Schoology and play two characters to voice and record.” says Mr. Jackson. “They had to send it to a drop box and it will be cast purely based on their voice.”

Not only is the audition process different for the actors this year but show practices are as well.

“It’s a shorter time commitment because you don’t have to memorize the lines, you don’t have to learn where to stand and how to move,” Ms. Christanson says. “I think this is the ideal project for kids who are thinking about getting involved and trying out but are still a little nervous or might be intimidated by a regular show. This is a great opportunity.”

Angelina Landeros (’21), who is currently taking part in the show this year describes her newfound confidence now that she can perform off stage.

“I auditioned because I wanted to try and get out of my comfort zone a little. I thought because it’s my senior year I should just risk it and give it a shot,” she says. “The audition process for me was a little nerve wracking honestly. I had always been behind the scenes with the orchestra for both Singing In The Rain and Peter And The Star Catcher. I loved doing sound but I wanted to try something bigger.”

Using a radio aspect during digital learning days is an unconventional, yet brilliant alternative to the stage performance because it showcases a side of theatre most students don’t get to experience outside of a theatre class.

“Back before we had TV, everybody had a radio” Mr. Jackson says, “All the kinds of programs you see on TV, whether it’s a game show or a variety or a drama or a comedy or a sitcom — anything you can think of — they had very similar programing on the radio. Now radio is all music or news. With all these different kinds of series, you would tune in at 8 o’clock to hear your favorite radio show. There’s all this material from this golden era in the ’40’s and ’50’s. The shows were picked because they had good breakdowns of the character that would be good for the involvement aspect for the audience while also adding an intrigue mystery of it.”

“People would gather around the radio and listen to actors perform dramas,” Ms. Christianson adds. “And so these are two, give or take, one hour dramas. They’re suspenseful thrillers.”

Excitement over the show is steadily growing within the cast. Angelina personally can’t wait for her first read through with everyone in the show.

“Just from hearing Mr. Jackson’s ideas and the other auditions I can tell that this show will be fantastic, and definitely leave a lasting experience on the audience.”

The possibility of students to be back on campus next semester is still up in the air at the moment, but even if CB is online for a second semester the theatre department has assured that last spring’s production of 20th Century will happen. Whether it is socially distanced seating, a Microsoft Teams production, or a recording of the show, it will definitely happen.

To all students, especially incoming freshmen, who are reluctant to take the leap and try out, here’s some helpful advice from our CB theatre community.

“I’d say go for. The worst that can happen is being told no,” Ms. Christianson says.

“Nothing happens to you if you don’t try; if you don’t try you’re not gonna do it,” Mr. Jackson adds. “If you go for it, you might surprise yourself and everyone else. Nothing’s gonna hurt you and remember that everyone else is nervous too. Everyone is in the same boat.”

“It’s okay to be nervous and it’s okay to be a bit scared. No one but you will be able to push yourself to open the doors of possibility,” Angelina says. “Being in high school means trying new ideas and experiences, so why not give it a chance? It’s okay to stutter and be nervous. It’s a safe place. It’s about the friendships, learning, and growing from each other and for yourself.”

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