Radio 10 Live Festival brings back the magic of radio theatre

Don’t touch that dial!

Radio theatre is back and coming to the Fred Thury Studio Theatre, 258 Vanier College from April 29 to May 1 at 8pm. Radio 10 Live Festival is a one-act play festival about the power of words and sound. Festival director Guy Doucette is bringing back old-time radio theatre to provide a unique audience experience that is rarely seen or heard today.

"Radio Plays were always about creating mood and telling great stories. They relied upon clearly articulating to you a world, characters and a tale that was brought to life in your mind’s eye just by listening," says Doucette. "For me the festival is about reaffirming the importance of great storytelling. It is about relying less upon visual spectacle to engage an audience, and more about utilizing speech and sound as the means to capture the imagination."

Original student-written productions are brought to life without the aid of complex sets, props, pre-recorded sounds or special lighting and provide the cast and the audience with a retro experience of the heyday of "theatre of the air" when radio shows were presented before a live audience.

Says Doucette: "During the festival you will experience five original works that will tantalize, intrigue and excite your imagination. Whether it is drama, mystery, comedy or suspense – there is something here for everyone’s listening pleasure."

Vanier College Productions presents five student-written plays (two shows of each over three nights):

  • Grim Business by Edward Fenner, directed by David Wray and Ashton Vetter. Korrie Upton, a CEO kidnapped by ex-employees of his robbed and ruined companies, is put on trial for crimes against humanity and against nature. The court is not legitimate but the stakes are a matter of life and death. Grim Business was runner-up for York’s 2008 Kent Haworth Playwriting Prize.

  • Jedi Knight by Konstantin Manyakin, directed by Lorne Mandelzys. A Star Wars fan fiction set after the fall of the Empire tells a new story in the classic struggle between good and evil. Which side will triumph in this story? You will have to come and see, or rather hear, for yourself.

  • Jonathan Winters Detective Agency by Jonathan Shaboo and Liam Oster, directed by Catherine Bernardi. When Jonathan Winters shows up at a painfully average office of a painfully average accounting firm one day, no one could have expected that all chaos would ensue. Mistaken identities, explosions, hobos and visitors from another planet…courtesy of the Jonathan Winters Detective Agency.

  • Mercury Man by Joel Pettigrew, directed by Amanda Childs. While on set for a science-fiction radio show, Orson Welles discusses his accomplishments and life in show business with a young intern. Welles became famous for his Mercury Theatre radio program which itself became infamous for its panic-causing 1938 broadcast of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds.

  • Playing Dead by Ellen Ross Stuart, directed by Matthew Bianchi. A child goes missing. A cop is finally assigned his first big case. A catatonic mother moves into a storage unit and a father books a vacation as a teenage boy mediates on sex. A 10-year-old girl name Charlotte plays with her dollhouse, musing that her sister has disappeared as easily as the invisible friend she lost six weeks ago.

Doucette is the co-artistic director of Back Burner Productions (BBp) and a full-time administrative and producing intern with Clay & Paper Theatre. This is his third season working as a director for Vanier College Productions and Radio 10 Live marks the sixth arts festival he has coordinated to date. His most recent credits include acting in Bury the Dead (BBP), coordinating the What Are You Doing Down There!? 2009 Winter Arts Festival and directing and acting in The Nightwood (BBP), which can be seen during this year’s Luminato Festival.

General admission to Radio 10 Live  is $5. Call to reserve a ticket at 416-736-2100, ext. 40023. To view the full schedule, click here.