The JJC Fine Arts Department and JJC Theatre presented “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Radio Play” on various dates at the end of November.
The play was performed solely over the radio, so there were no visuals to go along with the production.
Radio dramas and plays, such as the one JJC produced, have been around since 1924. Performances rely heavily on dialogue, sound effects, and music to convey emotion and movement within the story.
The fact that performers were not physically on-stage made it more of a challenge for them to get into character, but they found ways to adjust to the new way of producing a play.
“In a given scene, I envision[ed] how my character would move, the scenery around him, and how he would interact with the scenery around him to help project my voice and stay in character,” Alex Mendez, cast member, said.
Mendez also said he moved around while recording even though no one could see it. He would clap his hands out of joy when his character felt excited.
The new and temporary reality of theatre was daunting for the cast members, but it gave them an opportunity for a new experience.
“I remember as a kid watching this behind the scenes look at the movie Aladdin and watching Robin Williams doing his Genie voice in a recording studio,” Mendez said. “When I first walked into the recording studio, it reminded me of watching that video – that realization of I’m voice acting now.”
For the cast, having to sacrifice performing on stage has been difficult, but the performers truly made the most of it.
“Missing the stage is like living without air sometimes,” Devan Zernia, cast member, said. “But getting the chance to work with such a talented cast and wonderful director has been life saving!”
Zernia also said that the radio play served as great practice for future voice acting, as the cast still got set up in the studio and treated the situation professionally.
As nice as it is to be professional sometimes, having fun is more important when collaborating on a piece of art like this.
“Our cast grew as actors and friends throughout the process…and [worked together] on such a fun story and ended on such a high note for the season!” Zernia said.