BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Hitchcock is headed to the stage at Maumee High School in November.
Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play will allow Maumee students the opportunity to experience something outside of pure comedy while educating younger students on the theater.
Presented as a radio play, the students will perform three short tales within the production, each based on a Hitchcock film: The Lodger, Sabotage and 39 Steps. The audience will serve as the live audience for the fake radio show.
“This will be reader theater, which is different for us, and there’s not a lot of movement as it’s taking place at a radio station,” said director Jamie Naragon.
The students will take to the stage as if they’re actors for a 1940s-era radio play, dressed in costumes inspired by that time period.
They will read from their scripts at the microphone, providing students the chance to focus more on the vocal aspect of theater.
“Because you don’t have to spend as much time on ‘move here’ or ‘do this then,’ we can focus vocally, so some students have even developed an accent,” Naragon added.
It’s also a good way for the cast, with a large number of freshmen, to learn the ins and outs of theater without as much pressure on the stage.
It is still a difficult endeavor, however, as the first step for each student is to figure out who their 1940s character is. They then have to play the character who is acting as someone else on the radio.
“Most of our cast is also playing two to three characters throughout, so they have to learn how the audience can clearly understand who they’re playing,” Naragon said.
Students on the stage will also be producing the sound effects live, much like a radio play would have done.
They’ll create the sounds of footsteps and closing doors to add layers to the production.
“This is kind of suspense and drama, but we’ve mixed in some comedy. We have kids who will be making the sound effect of a door closing with their mouth,” Naragon said. “In the play, we’re a bad radio station – we’re low-budget.”
Naragon wanted the students to experience this play so they will understand more about Alfred Hitchcock and his contributions to American cinema, in addition to learning more about dramas.
“My students are very good at comedy, but we have a very young cast and at least half have never done a show, so we want to help them with experience,” Naragon said.
Despite the hurdles, the students are quickly becoming prepared for the production and are learning more about theater.
Many of the students have even done research on their own, learning more about Hitchcock and the characters they’ll portray.
“We want the audience to be aware it is reader theater intentionally. The students are working hard, they didn’t just not memorize their lines,” Naragon explained.
It will be a new experience for audience members, who will have the opportunity to see the play on Friday, November 3 and Saturday, November 4 at 7:00 p.m., and on Sunday, November 5 at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at the online Maumee High School ticket box office, which is available at Maumee.k12.oh.us. Tickets are $10.00 for adults, students and seniors.
Prior to the Friday showing, senior citizens who reside within the boundaries of Maumee City Schools may attend a dessert and coffee reception at 6:15 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling (419) 893-3200, option 1, by Tuesday, October 31.
The Maumee High School Performing Arts Center is located at 1147 Saco St. in Maumee.