YOU'RE ON THE AIR
You're on the Air by Barbara Biddison
I sat in on a final rehearsal for this radio show in the Coolidge
Theatre. The live audiences won't get to see all the pre-show prep
that entertained me for about a half hour, but I'm here to tell you
that it's pretty interesting. And the sound effects people are every
bit as important and well rehearsed as those with speaking roles. It
runs August 19, 20, 21.
So the first "row" of the performing space consists of tables with
every kind of sound that you can imagine including a small door with
doorknob opening and closing, bells of all sorts, and people whose
sole job it is to operate the sound effects exactly on time. (They
sometimes use their personal bodies (hands for slaps and mouths for
sounds, for effects also.) Day-dreamers need not apply for these
Behind the row for sound effects, we find the human characters.
Again, you have to pay attention. These real human people with real
human voices convey age (little child, crotchety old guy, lovely young
woman with accent) and character with skill and fun. And, because
this is LIVE radio we get to see their wonderful facial expressions
too. Each person will voice different characters throughout the show
As I see it, the trick for the audience is to simultaneously give
attention to voice for gender and age and accent as well as to facial
expression for mood. And to keep an eye on the sound effects as well.
It's not "nap-time"! And we get to see people on this stage who we've
seen in regular plays or musicals, and people who participate in
Acting Up and Out, and people we have, as far as we know, never seen
before in a theatre or walking down Main Street. This radio
opportunity is all-inclusive. Gabe Hakvaag directs .
STARS IN THE SKY. STARS ON THE STAGE by Thomas Putnam
I attended a rehearsal for HG's evening of show tunes to be presented at the Stony Fork Campgrounds on Saturday at 7:30. The evening was a perfect August night. Warm, but not hot. Still, but with just a whisper of a breeze. And, yes, one could say “the hills are a live with the sound of music.”
There were about 10 people milling about, and techie Gary Fizzano had all his sound equipment on and off stage. Everything was ready. The coordinator of the event couldn't be at this run-through; it was mainly for Gary to check to make sure all was well with the sound. The well-prepared group began to run through the pieces in order of the show.
One after another they mounted the open-air stage facing the wide expanse of hillside lawn where the audience will be bringing their lawn chairs. The line-up begins with Ramon Duterte delivering a powerful rendition of a song that will be familiar to many, new to others.
I remember when we produced THE SOUND OF MUSIC in the early '90's and a man—who was not particularly eager to attend the show, but did so to appease his wife—leaned over to her after that glorious opening of the nun's chorus and said “That was worth the admission; I could go home now and be completely satisfied.” It was good, imho, with over 30 women in habits skillfully trained by Barbara Winters. I felt kind of like this man after Ramon was done. If the rest of the show is half as good as this, we're in for a great evening.
And I wasn't disappointed. One after the other came to the mic and sang their heart out. Some of these folks are trained, experienced performers; others are kids who took a shot and sent in an audition recording. One of the foundation stones of HG is that all are welcome; that we're providing opportunities for people of all ages—and all experience levels—to enrich and empower their lives through community performing arts. It's good stuff.
I had not met a few of these folks. Some I've known for decades. They each chose their particular song that they felt some connecting to/with; and they do a bang-up job of sharing with us that connection.
There is food and beverage and some fun games of chance before the show and during intermission. It's going to be an evening to simply relax and hum along with songs that you have known for years and songs that you may be hearing for the first time. Invite some friends and grab your lawn chairs and treat yourself a well-deserved rest. “The hills are alive...”