Last night I was over at the Full Circle Theater Company, wherein I do most of my acting these days, for a first read-through of my next project. The title is tentative at this point, but the gist of it, as I mention in a previous post, is that it will be a staged "radio show". Emcee, radio station set, sound effects, microphones. Everything designed to look like a radio performance in the 1930's. 1938 to be more precise. Actors will have their scripts in their hands, so memorization is virtually non-existent.
The script consists of four short radio plays, along with some incidentals between each play. There is no intermission written in at this time. It is supposed to take just over an hour.
The piece was written by a local writer, and it is she that will be directing the production. By her own admission, she has not even looked at this script, (which is unpublished) for several years. Not since she and some other actors she knew performed it as part of a project she was working on at the time. So, I have no reference point for the script itself. No previous productions I could look up online or ask around about. All precedent will come from the memories of the director.
However it was made clear that it is pretty fluid at this point. She expects there will be both addition and subtractions to the script as we all get familiar with it, and feel out what sort of show it is to be. Certain aspects are already clear, however. That the actors will never leave the stage, and hence be in character the entire time. That before the play the cast will be milling about in the lobby, interacting with patrons. (Not my favorite thing to do, but I have done it before.) And that at times the audience themselves will be a part of the performances.
And of course we will be dressed in period costumes. Or at least as close to same as we can get with our own wardrobes. I myself think I can pull off 1938 with the clothing I have at my disposal. It is going to be easier for men, than women, I would guess. I will probably just go with white shirt, black pants, a tie, (possibly a clip-on bow, if appropriate, as I have one of those), and perhaps a set of suspenders, if I can find a pair that will go along with the era. Simple enough. Time will tell if that will work or not. (It was more difficult to pinpoint what men wore in 1938 via online research than I thought it would be...I kept getting the same picture of Orsen Welles...though he was on the radio at the time the picture was taken, so it was more helpful than I thought.)
As for the reading itself, it went well. Casting is not 100% solidified yet, but it would appear I am to be the lead in the first skit---a fantasy wherein a man by use of his imagination, becomes a talking bird. I also read for one of the "dramas" (though there was much laughing during the reading), based on an Edgar Allen Poe short story. I think I like the fantasy better than the horror story, but be that as it may, those are the two I read for. (Not counting one tiny appearance in a third skit.) The final skit in the collection we did not read last night, due to the time. I have not yet read that one over myself, so I am unaware of what it is about at present.
Not everyone who is in the play showed up last night, but most did. I already know most of the people involved, so that is always a comfort.
I am not sure yet when we perform, but I think just one weekend in November. We are to meet again next week for another read through, and of course I will be looking over the script between now and then.