Can you imagine a time before internet, television, any type of screens at all? Back in those days, besides the newspaper, the radio is how you obtained all your information. But along with giving news, the radio was also the first form of broadcast entertainment. Sure radio has had musical performances since the very beginning, but it was also a place for the family to gather and listen to plays. Old fashioned radio dramas. This was theater of the mind and required you to use your imagination to put the pictures to the words you were hearing.

While the days of gathering your family around a large radio on a weekend night and listening to a drama are long behind us, there are still ways you can go back to days of yesteryear. The WT Theater Department is planning an early 20th-century performance of "Vintage Hitchcock." It will be a live stage performance of three suspenseful radio plays - “The Lodger,” “Sabotage” and “The 39 Steps.”

Although this will be a stage performance, due to coronavirus safety measures, there will not be a live audience allowed in the theater. Instead, the drama will be live-streamed to ticket holders via a private link at 7:30 p.m. September 25 and 26. The actors on stage will be placed in front of microphones, rather than a performance where they usually move about the stage. They will be performing as any number of characters in abridged versions of all three movies, while other cast members will provide live sound effects. It’s just like radio dramas were performed live in the studio in the early 20th century, and just like playwright Joe Landry intended when he adapted the films into the script.

“You’ll still experience it as if you’re in the black box theater with us,” said director Callie Hisek. “It’s a blessing and a curse, this whole thing. Yes, it is difficult to come to terms with the fact that we’ll have no audience in our house. We do theater because we love the interaction, the thrill of the audience being there. But by doing it via livestream, we may actually be getting more patrons to watch the show. My cast members already have family members around the country asking how they can watch it, which they wouldn’t have been able to do before.”

 

Tickets are $15 for the general public, and free for WT students, faculty and staff. A service fee will be charged by the streaming service on paid tickets. For tickets, call 806-651-2804, email artsboxoffice@wtamu.edu, visit the WTAMU Theatre Facebook page or visit the WTAMU Theatre website.