The W o r l d of L i v e Radio Drama
Live Radio Drama is the transmission of voice, sound, and action in a theater setting, before a live theater and broadcast audience.
For me, community radio means, a listening community who have an interest, at a particular time, to what is being broadcast. Oh sure, a geographic community who shares similar traditions and sensibilities can be the wellspring of a broadcast, or even the intended listeners to the broadcast. But a true community has an essence that is universal and can flourish as a connecting core. To this end, Live Radio Drama is the perfect vehicle to ride while traversing a terrain that so closely reflects the human experience. Live Radio Drama has all the disciplines necessary in mirroring the human experience - reading, memorization, oration, language skills, movement, dance, music, mathematics, decoration, carpentry, electronics, computer skills, writing, editing, acting, the design skills of: Sound, set, lighting -- Communications!!!
The medium of Radio Drama presents a structure of open creativity. It is a true democracy. A situation where voice quality, as well as technical ability, and administration capabilities come together on a fluid common ground -- freeing people from image expectation, in casting tasks and roles. This is a therapeutic art form. It releases the creative potential of all who partake. We find folks truly understanding and believing they can be whatever they wish to be. This open process uses the creative process in a way that elevates the human spirit. The process helps people to quite literally "come out" of themselves.
There is a great need to rise and strengthen the human self-esteem; the tapping into ones own magnificence. Because of modern civilization's obsession on celebrity and "magazine" standards of self worth (standards most of us will not be able to meet) -- there are few vehicles of expression that raises the average being. Radio Drama is a way to teach communal cooperation and teamwork in an atmosphere of shared knowledge.
PREFACECommunity radio always faces the problem of how to train people who know the radio only through listening. Many listeners even have the notion that all one has to do is show up to the radio station and they will be broadcasters. It is believed when one enters the station there will be all manner of help to get the message out into the community. It is truly phenomenal to see the many experts in any given field come to a station thinking because they have skills in one area, the skills should make them a force in the field of radio. As with everything, the building of skills is a process. The art form of Live Radio Drama is a fun way for ordinary community folks to experience and train in radio. Live Radio Drama immediately solves two problems: how do you attract new radio functionaries to the medium and how do they learn the skills necessary to sustain their presence.
"I dream of an art so transparent you can look through it and see the world."
SIGN INTERPRETER - At a prominent place on-stage one or more people sign to the audience for the benefit of the hearing impaired. This is a stationary position but the signing should be done with such elegance as to captivate the entire theater audience.
PUBLICIST - This is the person responsible for the entire publicity juggernaut. They must come up with new and unique ways of luring the potential audience, especially now, in an age where all mediums are vying for the attention of any and all of the populace. Their efforts are most critical when recruiting the workshop attendees. Their efforts extend to recruiting support for the production as they find sponsors for the evening's event. These sponsors donate food and beverage, plus material support for the production such as equipment, recording tapes, set pieces, Foley items, etc. Even an after event venue should be pursued by the Publicist.
GRAPHIC DESIGNER - This person is responsible for the printed program layout. This program is given to the live theater audience and also exists on the WEB page. They also should be involved with the design of the logo for the production and at least view the press releases put out by the Publicist. It is very helpful if this person has computer skills in all types of systems.
COSTUME DESIGNER - Has the general responsibility for costumes and the props used by the actors. The costumes can be full or suggestive dress for characterization. As long as the actors have something to take them out of themselves, something to suggest to the live audience the characterization expressed by the script.
SET DECORATOR/DESIGNER - With a minimum of material much can be suggested and achieved by this creative person. A cloth or totem or other fixture can go a long way in bringing the Radio Drama into focus for the cast and the live audience. If there is a budget then a set can be used to great visual effect. It should be remember, however, that sight lines onstage as well as from the audience point of view should not be obstructed. Part of the excitement of Live Radio Drama is to witness the many layers as they work in multi-tandems.
SOUND DESIGNER - As with the music, this person is obligated to heighten the Radio Drama in subtle as well as dramatic ways. Their medium is recorded sound.
HEAD WRITER (EDITOR) - This person is the final arbiter in the writing process. Since there is limited time in the writing of an original script, someone has to make the call as to when things are in a state for the actors and Director to begin their work.
WRITER(s) - They must come up with a cohesive script. Most often creative writers work in solitude with flexible deadlines. This individual or group must deliver a working script in time for the cast and Director, Foley people and Musicians, Set Decorator and Costumer, Technicians and Stage Manager - all, to have enough time to complete their tasks.
ACTOR(s) - They must illuminate, through voice, the script. Part of the actor's work is to show the many interpretations of the script. They must show the Director and writers the possibilities during the rehearsal process. Since a Live Radio Drama is a one-performance situation, the actor's ideas to the creative process are most important. It is also interesting to note that since they are "on book" for the performance, some sort of stylized movement is necessary as they deliver their lines at a stationary spot. Especially since they must turn or discard script pages noiselessly at many points throughout the presentation.
FOLEY - This is the live sound effects aspect of the production. Most times this person is the real "star" of the production as the live audience is not used to seeing just how a horse gallops, or thunder is created, or rain is made, or footsteps are executed. The Foley area is a prominent space on the stage with many objects and "toys" in view. It should be noted here that there are safety precautions to be observed and implemented. For instance, safety goggles should be on hand and worn when shattering objects, a first aid kit should be near to take care of any minor accidents... in short, common sense precautions.
MUSIC DIRECTOR - Responsible for all the live music which propels the production throughout. Composes original music, stingers and accents for the production. Provides background accompaniment during scenes. The musician's area is close to the Foley area, as sometimes they must work in tandem.
VOICE CHORUS DIRECTOR - The actors are assembled on stage as a Greek chorus acting out background movements and being suggestive to the acting going on downstage. The Voice Chorus Director creates these suggestive moments. Functions like a musical coral director. Makes sure there are no dull moments with the Voice Chorus as the audience takes in reaction cues from this grouping in its upstage position.
ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER - Assists the Stage Manager. Creates and holds up the cue cards for the audience responses. Has the contact sheet for the group and the various schedules of rehearsals and appointments. Is, in principle, the junior administrator for the production. Many times it is this person who is the one who knows the ins and outs of the city, town, village where the Live Radio Drama is performed. Many times the Assistant Stage Manager is a popular person about town who has the charisma to pull people together and attract a crowd.
STAGE MANAGER - Troubleshoots the performance. If the Foley people need an extra hand, the Stage Manager is that extra hand. If the Director needs something attended to, it is the Stage Manager who does it. The Stage Manager or an assistant is the one who traffics the actors from the Voice Chorus to the proper microphone for the delivery of their lines. This is the person who is the intermediary between the technical crew and the Director. This is the person who helps set up the stage and hauls equipment and props. It is this person (or an assistant) who keeps the contact sheet and lets everyone know what time things are done during rehearsal and performance. This person has their eyes on everything from the program and publicity to the production and after party.
DIRECTOR - The one responsible for the overall "look and feel" of the production. It is their vision that is finally experienced by the live and broadcast audience. They rehearse the cast and have final say over every aspect of the stage portion of the production. A Director of Live Radio Drama directs throughout the production. In this respect, the Director functions similar to the way an orchestra conductor works during a concert.
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR - Without question, this is the most important person involved in the production. They are responsible for the interface between the theater space and the radio station. They are responsible for getting the proper equipment to the proper place and testing everything to find any flaws before broadcast time. Since this event is also recorded for rebroadcast and archival purposes, it is most important that the sound quality of the production is at its best. They are also responsible for the public address sound system in the theater space, so that the live audience experiences all the nuances of the performance just as the broadcast audience does via their radios or computers.
PROJECT FACILITATOR - Is the Executive Producer of the project and the facilitator of the workshop process. It is the workshop process that gives the participants the tools and courage to put on this event. The Project Facilitator is the final arbiter for the project.
Anthony Sloan a/k/a T
(from the Patterson's taking the train toTibet)
...Live Radio Drama (missionary)