Director Kevin Wiczer’s Vision of It’s A Wonderful Life
November 7, 2016 §
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE is one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time. It’s a film that I grew up watching. When Metropolis was holding director interviews for the show, I had to jump at the chance.
My approach to this show had to be true to a radio play, with five actors standing at microphones creating voices for over fifty characters, but it also had to be fun to watch as an audience. A number of ideas came to mind to accomplish this. The first thing, was I wanted something visual that was going to change during scenes. Projections were discussed as the perfect way of accomplishing this. I won’t spoil what the projections are of, since that’s one of the magical elements of the show that I’d like to keep as a surprise.
Since the actors are aware of the audience, and know that they’re watching and participating, we wanted to keep the feeling of a large theater rather than giving it a feel of a small radio studio as well using a false proscenium that will be built. However, one of my favorite elements of doing a radio play is all of the fun Foley work behind the actors. Foley is the art of recreating sounds for radio and film, and is still used today. There are literally two tables full of different interesting Foley props for our Foley artist to “play with”. Each prop recreates a sound such as crickets, doors opening and closing, telephone rings, the tick-tock of a clock, running through snow, and wind for example. The idea is that you should be able to close your eyes and envision everything happen as you hear it.
The other important thing that the cast and I have worked hard on is pacing. It’s so important that there aren’t any long pauses in a radio play. The key was to keep it moving and constant, so we’ve worked very hard to make that happen. Along with the radio play there are also two commercials with singing and dancing which has been a lot of fun as well.
I hope that people will enjoy this show as much as we’ve had collaborating on it. We didn’t set out to recreate the movie; we set out to retell this classic in our own way. The amount of talent on that stage is impeccable, and I’m looking forward to audiences seeing it in action.
We hope to see you at the show!