Pitt State students bring back old-fashioned theater with radio storytelling

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Jason Knowles, PSU Media Production Assistant Professor: You are listening to Gus Radio Theatre, tonight's performances comes from our CAPS 13 guys and gouls.

PITTSBURG, Kan.–Long before we could watch our favorite dramas, Americans listened to them on the radio. And, to make them sound as real as possible, performers used sound effects.

“A lot of it, the visuals–they’re going to have to use their imagination,” Knowles explained. “I’ve actually seen in the past when we’ve done this–the audience will close their eyes and just kind of listen to it like they would on an old radio show”

This isn’t the first play some of these students in Knowles’ Audio Production class have performed in, but it’s much different than they’re used to.

“We have to make all the sound effects to make it,” said junior Michael Weaver. “So you can better imagine what it’s like to hear those footsteps for the people walking, to hear the wind, the horses galloping and he have to do that so well that you don’t think about it.”

These two productions will be performed on October 31st, a date synonymous with radio drama.

Back in 1938, a radio drama featuring Orson Wells grabbed the attention of millions of listeners, many of which missed the announcement before the play started that stated it was only a play.

“Orson Wells did an adaptation of H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds for his Mercury Radio Theatre, and it was very affective,” Knowles explained. “It wasn’t as big as a mass hysteria that he caused, but he did get some people pretty worked up.”

Tuesday was a dress rehearsal for the real play, which will be open to a limited number of students, faculty and staff on Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Seating will begin at 11:15 that day and will be on a first come, first serve basis.

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