- Ada, Oklahoma

Local News

November 29, 2013

Chickasaw Nation stages ‘radio’ play of Christmas classic

Ada — The Chickasaw Nation wants to whisk you away to 1946 when radio ruled, television was waiting in the wings and skilled actors and actresses were just as effective over radio waves as flickering on the silver screen in America’s movie houses.

The Chickasaw Nation’s Arts and Humanities Division will usher you back in time with the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” -- only with a twist.

The play will be presented as a live radio broadcast just as it would have been 67 years ago. The twist is the radio actors will be performing the “radio show” from the McSwain Theatre stage in Ada.

“The audience will see the players as they would have appeared if they were performing a radio broadcast in a studio,” Chickasaw Nation performing arts coordinator and the play’s director James Wallace explains. 

And, while the production will feature cast members in 1940s haberdashery, each will portray several characters and be “acting” with their voices through microphones.

Probably the most entertaining element of “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Show,” will be the “Foley Artist.” That’s theater lingo for the person doing the show’s sound effects.

The foley artist for this production is Clete Robins, whose day-job is a software quality assurance analyst for The Chickasaw Nation.  The play will feature Chickasaws and non-Native participates on stage, Wallace noted.

Audiences will get the rare opportunity to see how sound effects were reproduced in the studio to make the play come to life over the air waves. 

Robins also has a role in the play, so he will be doing double duty.

“Probably the most important sound effect in the show will be the bell ringing when actress Mayme McClure, playing Zuzu Bailey, delivers the movie version’s most famous line: ‘Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings,’” Wallace said.

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