Fall youth workshop production of ‘LDTC Radio Hour’ is Saturday, Nov. 22
If you go
What: “LDTC Radio Hour,” the Lake Dillon Theatre Company’s fall youth workshop
When: Noon, Saturday, Nov. 22
Where: Lake Dillon Theatre, 176 Lake Dillon Drive, Dillon
More information: Visit www.lakedillontheatre.org, or call Tim Pare, director of education, at (970) 513-1151, ext. 106
I dare you to have fun, and I challenge you to make people laugh,” said Tim Pare, Lake Dillon Theatre Company director of education, during a final rehearsal for the fall youth workshop production “LDTC Radio Hour.”
Pare instructed the eight workshop participants to take a deep breath and let their faces fall slack as they shook them back and forth, followed by the rest of their bodies, before scurrying to their starting positions for the second run-through of the evening.
“Every time you go to make coffee, in your dressing room, up at your microphones here, when you have your sound effects, you have to be very clear with what you are doing,” Pare offered as a final bit of advice. “It’s a very important task. It may not seem important, but it’s very important when you’re on stage.”
The students digest this bit of information, along with the feedback they’ve just received from cast members of “The 1940s Radio Hour,” the theater’s current professional production.
“They were asking us a lot about how to be funny, which I think is something that all actors struggle with,” said Diane Huber, who plays the role of Ann Collier in “The 1940s Radio Hour.” “But especially at a young age, the gratification of getting those laughs is what they are looking for, so they try really hard to be funny, as opposed to letting the funny happen and letting that reality they are in be funny to the observer.”
“LDTC Radio Hour,” the workshop production, is an adaptation written by Pare based on many of the characters who appear in “The 1940s Radio Hour,” and because of that the pros were able to give the students insights based on their own roles.
“I like actresses and actors like that to come and watch to give you tips, and they think, ‘Oh, this part is similar to ours, maybe they should do it like that,’” said Phoenix Cyphert, who plays Judy in the student production. “I like an audience better than just Tim. I’d rather do something in front of a whole entire audience instead of just one person. And I want to be an actress when I grow up, so it’s cool to see people like that come and talk to you on their own time.”
Hunter Wellington said his character, Arnie, only has two lines at the beginning of the play, so his feedback from the professional actors was limited.
“I’m mostly the sound effects guy, so they didn’t really give me tips,” he said. “I just made sound effects whenever I’m supposed to, whenever Tim tells me to, whenever I feel like it. If we were supposed to perform this for one person, I wouldn’t really like it. If we’re going to work this hard, I want to perform it in front of a big audience.”
Grant Haralson, who plays Wally Ferguson in the professional production, said much of the feedback centered on making each action on stage deliberate and also concentrating on the task at hand.
“We talked about keeping focus and not stealing focus from other friends and actors,” said Frank Sansone, who plays the role of BJ Gibson in “The 1940s Radio Hour.”
“We talked about how they are playing characters that are very opposite of what they usually play. We also talked about knowing where they are going and what they are doing several times. As kids do, they get distracted by each other.”
GETTING OUT OF THEIR COMFORT ZONES
Pare said the youth workshops are an important outlet for kids to develop personal skills and social skills such as teamwork, communication and self-confidence, in addition to the more obvious creative arts training. With “LDTC Radio Hour,” he also worked on casting students in roles outside their comfort zones to further develop those skills.
“Usually for the school year, I get a lot of returning students, so we can skip the preliminary stuff and get into the fun, meaty part of acting,” he said. “So for each student, we picked a different role that they haven’t played before to push them out of their comfort zone. We’ve developed all these silly characters, so that’s been my favorite part is seeing them grow in this direction.”
“Tim challenges us to be outside our comfort zone, to be opposite of the characters we normally play,” said Olivia Brown-Wolf, who plays the role of Betty in the student production. “I like that because it’s different from a lot of other shows that I’ve done.”
Sansone said in a world of video games, iPads and TV, being a part of the youth theater workshop forces the kids to act and react to one another and get their creative juices flowing.
“I feel like at their age, and all through the growing up process, it’s easy to be very self-conscious, and being able to be in a safe environment like this, they get to play and they get to explore who they are, within the vein of theater,” Huber said. “They learn about themselves a lot by playing all of these different characters.”
The workshop participants were eager to see their friends and family in the audience for their performance at the Lake Dillon Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 22. They were particularly enthusiastic about the humor throughout the script.
“I like how it’s kind of based on a real, live situation, but we’re kind of making things up as we go to make it more funny,” said Abigail Wineland, who plays Janey. “I’m excited to see how all the actors make it different, depending on what we’re actually doing in the real show and now just practicing, if we memorize our lines or not. We probably will.”
Tucker Berg, who plays Johnny Bravo, said he likes how the workshop production is set in a place where everything wrong happens, which he said makes the show very funny and chaotic.
“I’m looking forward to performing on the same stage and same theater that the professionals do,” he said.
“It’s a pretty funny show, and I like how it’s around Christmas time, it’s Christmassy, and I like being so funny in the play,” said Sean O’Brien, aka Steve. “I’m excited to make everyone laugh, so my friends and family see how our play is.”
“I like my role,” said AnnaRose Craig, who plays Maggie. “I haven’t played anything like it before, and the show has a lot of jokes and it’s really funny.”
‘CREATING SOMETHING TOGETHER’
Haralson said as a shy kid, his own experiences in youth theater programs helped him come out of his shell, socialize and make friends, and the bonds that form between kids who act together are similar to those established by professional theater groups.
“Creating something together creates a close relationship with each other,” he said. “We still experience that when we create shows as adults.”
The professional actors said watching the kids rehearse reminded them not to take their own roles so seriously, to really enjoy their performances and have a good time — after all, that’s why it’s called a “play.”
“I forget that I was at this stage where it was all fun and games, and a lot of times when you go into it as a profession, all the real-life things start to weigh you down and you forget that this used to be something that you did because it was so awesome and so much fun,” Huber said.
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