By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
A group of Eastern New Mexico University students, alumni and professors are excited to give area residents a new experience when it comes to listening to “the radio.”
The group will simulate a radio show at 7 p.m. today at the ENMU University Theatre Center’s Main Stage, complete with two programs inspired by the golden years of radio dramas, music and fictitious but comedic commercials in between.
Joseph Kline, dean of the College of Fine Arts, organized the production and wrote the commercials for the show. Kline got a chance to connect with his staff and students through his participation.
“I started in education not until I was 40. Since then, I’ve always got to work with students on shows,” said Kline, who is also a professional playwright. “It’s my professional activity as an academic.”
The show will feature the plays of ENMU Professor Jim Lee, creator of Theater of the Mind radio drama series. The show will give listeners a deconstructed view of what they hear on the radio.
“Obviously it’s an audio play, but we’re going it to a live audience,” Lee said. “We don’t have costumes or makeup or sets. We’re playing a subtle game with vision.”
But what the show does have is all the elements of the radio as if the audience were to just turn the radio dial and tune in.
Will Someone Please Tell Me What’s Going on Here?
The first play in the show is a quirky comedy, which features banter between a couple and a few other characters. Amethyst Collins, a sophomore from Los Alamos, has performed the play live in Roswell, describing it as one of the best experiences of her time at ENMU.
“I really liked the cast interaction. I loved getting closer with my fellow actors,” Collins said. “I loved feeding off the energy of the crowd, it’s really cool.”
Collins will play Florence, a nosy neighbor of the couple.
“I really like some of her comebacks,” Collins said. “I’m doing an accent this time. Since two of the other parts have been recast, it makes her change too.”
The second play is a suspenseful drama, relying on the cast to evoke fear through sound.
ENMU alumnus Jeremy Gardels from Clovis will be playing a villainous character.
“My character is a psychologist who turns sociopath. I pay a visit to one of my patients to finish our session and her session for good,” Gardels said with a haunting laugh.
Gardels said it’s fun to play the bad guy, but he’s nothing like his character.
“I don’t kill anybody for fun but I think we can all identify with a double identity,” Gardels said.
He added the hardest part about performing a radio drama is expressing emotion through voice as opposed to body language.
The radio show wouldn’t be the same without the music, said the show’s creators. A few ENMU music students and the Blackwater Draw Boys will perform songs between the plays and commercials.
Molly Chavez, a junior vocalist from Belen, will sing “The Story” by Brandi Carlile. Chavez said she got to pick her song, which makes it more special.
“My favorite part is I feel like I’m adding a part of me,” Chavez said. “I love performing contemporary music and I feel like I share a piece of the song I chose.”
What: Live Radio Drama
When: 7 p.m., today
Where: ENMU’s University Theater Center
Cost: General admission is $5 and ENMU students are free