Radio drama meets the stage

Meryl McNally (left) and Al Reiser (right) rehearse radioplays by &The Bard of the Airwaves& Norman Corwin.
Amanda Loder

Meryl McNally (left) and Al Reiser (right) rehearse radioplays by &The Bard of the Airwaves& Norman Corwin. (Quinn Lake)

No doubt about it, “Theatre of the Air” is well on its way to becoming a Lawrence tradition. At the very least, it was popular enough to merit a sequel. “This just all started with me listening to old-time radio dramas on Wisconsin Public Radio and falling in love with this dramatic form,” said Timothy X. Troy, founder of the event.

With the help of student assistant Ane DeDiemar, Troy obtained a grant from the Dean of Faculty Office for his radio drama course, and from there it grew into “Theatre of the Air.”

As the name implies, elaborate sets and stage blocking will be absent from the show; rather, it will embody radio drama in its true form with actors “acting for the microphone.”

Also in the tradition of the art, “Theatre of the Air” will be recorded live, but there will be some portions played from tape.

The show will run for two nights, and each of those sessions will be taped and edited. The best acting from each of the sessions will be spliced together to create the final product, which will play on 91.1 WLFM next fall.

Troy is also keeping with last year’s precedent of having a unified theme. Last year, actors performed episodes of famous series-dramas such as “The Shadow.”

This year, the show is focusing on the works of Norman Corwin, or, as he is known in the world of radio drama, “The Bard of the Airwaves.”

“In an environment where there [were] a lot of series programs, he was writing original plays each week,” Troy explained. “We’ll be presenting three radio dramas. All three are from his 1944 series, ‘Colombia Presents Corwin.’”

These three dramas include the love story “El Capitan and the Corporal,” the fantasy “You Can Dream, Inc,” and one of Corwin’s most famous works, “Untitled.”

Recording sessions for “Theatre of the Air” will take place on Thursday, May 30th and Friday, May 31st at 7:35p.m. in Cloak Theatre.

On the stage
* “Theatre of the Air” recording sessions
* May 30, 31 at 7:35 p.m.
* Cloak Theatre
* Admission: $10 for adults; $5 for students and senior citizens; free for LU students, faculty and staff.