Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Live from WVL Radio Theatre: It's A Wonderful Life" at The Booth Playhouse

The Booth Playhouse in Charlotte is hosting this wonderfully different version of the classic Christmas tale "It's A Wonderful Life." Actually, it's not that much different at all, with the exception that playwright W. Repoley has framed the original story about a man who has struggled all of his life, only to arrive at a point, on Christmas Eve, where he wishes he were never born, within an unusual story. Of course, Clarence the Angel still comes down to show him what life would be like without him. Sounds the same, right?

Station WVL is getting ready to air the play, "It's A Wonderful Life", on Christmas Eve, only to have over half of the actors unable to get to the station due to a blizzard. This leaves only the sound effects man and the station owner's daughter, along with just two of the cast, to put on the entire show, with each one playing multiple parts.

The characters of Evelyn Reed, Mays, Lee Wright and Kitty Dayle are all vibrantly played by Maria Buchanan, Michael MacCauley, William Repley and Rachelle Roberts, who seem to effortlessly leap from one character to another, even crossing genders as necessary. The play is carried off with the audience playing the part of the studio audience at the radio station, which gives the whole experience the feel of a "reading", rather than a play. I mean this as a compliment, as I love readings.

The whole point of this play is this, that the station manager's daughter, when faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge, is saved by the sound engineer, and his love of what he does. And that love blossoms into a love all it's own.

A very original concept which manages to stay true to the original movie/play and yet adds something of it's own to it. That's not an easy thing to do.

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