(Posted Nov. 21, 2018)
George Bailey and the people of Bedford Falls will be on stage in Rosedale Bible College’s (RBC) production of “It’s a Wonderful Life–A Live Radio Play” Nov. 30-Dec. 2.
Director Christa J. Wolf chose Joe Landry’s adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra film, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” in part because it respects “the essence of this timeless classic while giving it a refreshing twist.”
For those who have never been to a live radio play, Wolf suggests imagining “something similar to the disclaimer before a sitcom: ‘filmed in front of a live studio audience.’”
Landry’s retelling of the film is a play within a play. A group of professional actors joins with talented individuals from a local radio station to tell the story of George Bailey and his home town. They voice over 50 characters at several microphones, sing jingles from sponsors, and use items like dried beans, rigatoni, and a bike horn for sound effects.
Most people know the story. George Bailey is at the end of his rope, struggling to keep his business afloat as the country is still in recovery from the Great Depression and World War II. With mounting pressure to provide for his family, pay off personal loans, support his friends, and deal with Mr. Potter, the greedy tycoon of Bedford Falls, George contemplates what his life is worth. In a moment of desperation, George is met by an angel, Clarence Oddbody, who shows him what the town would be like had he never been born.
“The impact that one life can make for good,” says Wolf, “is a profound reminder that each of us has greater value than we may realize.” The story also touches on the nature of “true success.”
Wolf says the challenge of a play like this is “to authentically represent the audible aspects of a radio drama” while performing for a modern audience who is more dependent on visual stimulation.
With that in mind, she has tried to add blocking that is entertaining, but subtle enough not to be distracting. She hopes that people who attend RBC’s production will be able to get the same enjoyment out of the play whether “they choose to sit back with their eyes closed in nostalgia or attentively watch the action for the first time.”
Performances are at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. at half price on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone, or at the door, if still available. Visit rosedale.edu or call (740) 857-1311, ext. 119, for more information. Rosedale Bible College is located at 2270 Rosedale Rd., Irwin.