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BRCC puts a Modern Twist on a Classic Christmas Tale

Thu Dec 17, 2020 at 09:03 AM

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The first Friday evening in December, families gathered around their smart devices, and were taken back in time through a lively production of “A Christmas Carol” as a radio play. Though the more than one hundred-twenty listeners couldn’t see the characters, the performance brought the familiar Christmas tale to life simply through audio.

Director Patrick New said the radio play was a natural progression after last year’s BRCC student production of “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” which was presented live and onstage. Add to that the challenge of trying to offer theatre in the COVID climate. “I then found the transcript from a 1939 radio play production of "A Christmas Carol" (that featured Orson Welles and Lionel Barrymore) and just adapted that for our production,” said New.

The biggest challenge for New, and the cast, was figuring out the many technical elements. Cast members each created small home studios away from background noise and with a strong internet connection. They manually adjusted their sound levels throughout the production depending on their role. 

Mrs. Cratchit, played by BRCC student Chloe Breeding, was up to the challenge after learning some basics as part of last year’s cast for the onstage radio play. “The biggest challenge you face when doing a radio play is conveying emotions simply through voice inflection,” she explained. “The way I, and others, navigated around that was to still act into the script though we weren’t seen.”

“The show, I think, gave everyone a reason to sit close together, resume a tradition, and learn a valuable lesson about the corruption of money and value of kindness and family. The artistic vision of radio plays just takes you back to the 1940s and I love everything about it,” said Chloe.

For everyone involved – participating or just listening in – the show was a resounded success! “I was really pleased with the performances, dialect work, and foley effects (sound effects), but I was really, really pleased with the enthusiastic reception,” said New. “I think a lot of us are really hungry for theatre, community, and connection, and this event seemed to satisfy that need for a lot of people.  We had more people listen to this production in one evening than we have had for three shows of past productions.  Things are so different this year, it was nice to offer a different experience that both suited our times, as well as called back to earlier, simpler times.”

To hear the performance, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/FACatBRCC/videos/974295216395077.