Starting a radio drama series may be reminiscent of golden times, but Eastern New Mexico University professor Jim Lee says the school’s new program will build character and experience for students and staff.
Lee, who worked in Hollywood radio dramas in the 1970s, is excited to bring his area of expertise to ENMU with the new Theater of the Mind series.
The first production, “Tick, Tick,” aired in late October with a suspenseful creepy theme for Halloween. The group is comprised of ENMU students and staff. Lee said open casting will be held for each production.
“It’s a great thing to learn,” Lee said about radio drama. “A lot of people think it’s a thing of the past. Not only will students have a cultural appreciation, it gives students skills in modern-day broadcasting.”
ENMU student and Grants native Jerrid Williams, assistant director of the series, says he worked with the voice actors nearly two hours a day weeks before the production was released.
Williams said it was interesting watching the voice actors paint the picture of the story solely with sound.
“This experience and working with Dr. Lee is going to be something I remember for the rest of my life,” Williams said.
“Tick, Tick” is a 24-minute production featuring three characters and an announcer. The story, written by Lee, takes place in a rundown apartment on the bad side of town in the present day, according to Lee.
“Throughout almost the entire show, someone is tied to the chair while the other person calmly explains how she will meet her end,” Lee said, followed by a sinister laugh. “It helps one appreciate a very sharp knife.”
Lee says the key to a successful radio drama is in the personality of the voice actors.
“It’s a simple trick. Make people see with their ears,” Lee said.
Williams added that facial gestures and expressions can make a world of difference in how the actors deliver.
“It makes their portrayal of the character more genuine,” Williams said.
Lee was most impressed with Sophie Jo Miller, who played the victim.
“She portrayed struggling with a rope without sight,” Lee said. “I almost felt sorry for her.”
Lee says he’d like voice actors to perform the next show in front of a live audience.
Click here to hear the group’s first production, “Tick, Tick”