October 12, 2012

Department of Performing Arts Presents Mystery Radio Theater

For six weeks this fall, the Administration Building's Fenway Room is taking a trip back to the 1930s with the Department of Performing Arts' "Mystery Radio Theatre" series. The series began on Thursday, October 11th, with a performance of "The Lost World." In all, the program will feature six classic radio drama performances, including "The Time Machine" and "A Journey to the Center of the Earth." Each show will be fully costumed and staged in the '30's style, including the ushers and staff, and will feature original music by members of the department.

The man behind the idea is Assistant Professor of Performing Arts and Director of Theater Programs Scott Gagnon, who is working with close to 30 students on the program. He considered doing a radio theatre piece in past years, but circumstances this semester made for the perfect time to do it. Currently, the west wing of the Administration Building is being renovated with all new classrooms, offices and an updated Auditorium - home to the performing arts - to be open for January 2013.

"Some of it was born out of necessity," Gagnon said of the innovative idea. "This is just another way for us to perform."

The students will perform the shows for a live audience in the Fenway Room, with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis. However, each show will be broadcast live over EC Radio, meaning a wider audience will be able to tune in to an authentic radio drama throughout the semester.

The addition of genuine Foley sound effects will help to create the true radio show feel. None of the sounds in the shows are pre-recorded, and instead will be generated by the students themselves. The group has constructed a miniature door, a wind machine, and other creative props to help - and Gagnon feels that the sound crew may just steal the show.

"It's been a lot of fun experimenting with that," said Gagnon. "It's all trial and error, but we've come up with some pretty cool pieces and we've been enjoying it."

Shows will be held on Thursday nights at 8:00 p.m. throughout the semester, with free admission into the Fenway Room. Audience members can also tune in to ECradio.org to hear the performances as they happen.

Mystery Radio Theater Performances:

"The Lost World" - October 11th - see photos from the performance on our Pinterest board.

"The Invisible Man" - October 18th

"Halloween Special: Stories by Edgar Allen Poe, Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling" - October 25th

"The Time Machine" - November 1st

"Journey to the Center of the Earth" - November 29th

"First Men in the Moon" - December 6th

- Dan Bourque '13