The Knights of Columbus are at it again. For the second year in a row they are producing a radio play for the whole family from the 1940s about love, wonder and hope. This year, it's Miracle on 34th Street.
In this production, you will see radio actors come to work at the Lux Radio station in 1947. They bring with them their talent, lunch, newspapers, eccentricities and characters they play in the radio drama. The sound effects team is in the studio with the radio actors, producing sounds of doors opening and closing, feet hitting the floor, telephones being answered all with very basic mechanical tricks and all live. Around the country, we imagine folks are sitting in their living rooms, dinner over, radio on, listening to these actors perform the play.
Miracle on 34th Street is about a very busy, Type A, 30-something Macy's executive who, along with her young daughter, doesn't have much belief in anything. Mom is charged each year with hiring several Macy's Santa Clauses. This year, she hires one gent who claims to be the real thing. A lawsuit follows, and over the course of court proceedings, mom's and daughter's faith is restored.
When asked why he selected Miracle on 34th Street for this year's offering, director David Short replied, Because of its Christmas theme, and because it is warm hearted and for the whole family. And it's about spirit, not religion.
And why turn the classic film into a radio play?
No one else on the Coast is producing plays in this unique form, he said. I think it will be fascinating for our audience to see how a radio play works. We are not just sitting and reading the play into a microphone. We are all actors with two characters: the first as a radio actor with our own eccentricities coming to work in the 1940s studio, and the second as the role we portray at the mike, the character in the play. How we interact when not at the mike reveals our characters as the radio actors. For example, one is very flamboyant, another painfully shy. And watching how the sound effects are produced for live radio will charm everyone.
Complete with a live organ player, a sing-a-long, and words from their sponsors (ads from local Sunshine Coast businesses read aloud in character), the play is an accessible $10 at the door. Miracle on 34th Street is at the Seniors Activity Centre in Sechelt on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 2 and 7 p.m., St. Mary's Church Hall in Gibsons on Friday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 9, at 2 p.m. CKAY-FM will broadcast a performance on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, during the afternoon. All proceeds go to various charities on the Sunshine Coast.
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