Sunday, December 18, 2011


Queens Theatre, formerly known as Queens Theatre in the Park, is now presenting a staged radio version of It's A Wonderful Life. There's are five actors and one sound man doing all of the work as one actor may be portraying more than one of the famous characters.

It is clear that you are part of the studio audience including the "applause" sign and each of the actors is talking into a stand up radio mike as they read from a script. The show, It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, is being directed by Ray Cullom, the newly appointed executive director of the theatre.

All seemed fine with the acting and staging until about the time that George gets rescued by Clarence. I see the actor's script on the floor in front of the mike. It looks as if he is about to pick it up but then "goes off book". At first I thought that being the first performance that the stage manager goofed up. The actor continues with the lines and I'm thinking how smart that he memorized the script just in case. He continues and walks about the stage as if the show was now a staged production. Every other actor is walking up to the "mike" and reading from the script. Then he talks with Mary and she is "off book" and joining him at one point.

Now, here's the thing. If they are doing a radio show with sounds and all how would people be able to hear the dialogue listening to the radio if they are not talking into the microphones regardless of that the radio cast gets that there is an audience in the room. Then during this period (they later go back to the radio vs stage version after Clarence leaves George), there are special lighting affects...for who? Did the director take these things into consideration or did he just think that the audience would just be happy with the acting, etc.?

The actors do a wonderful job. Now, I will be curious as to whether any of the reviewers catch this.

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