Vintage Hitchcock-A Radio Play is full of Opportunity

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Actors Sandy Trout, Patty Amore and Paul Benedict play various characters during the Virgin Valley Theatre Group’s opening of Vintage Hitchcock-A Radio Play at the Mesquite Community Theatre on January 9th and 10th. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.

If the stage were set with nearly all doors leading toward disaster Glen Bjornson, Virgin Valley Theatre Group’s Artistic Director, would be the sure bet in finding that one solitary door which leads toward opportunity.

When the regularly scheduled VVTG’s show All My Sons met with insurmountable issues that ultimately led to the VVTG’s board member’s decision to cancel the show and start over, Bjornson and the rest of the Board of Directors chose to replace it with Vintage Hitchcock-A Radio Play.

Bjornson is a realist; he didn’t expect perfection when mounting this production, there was only 4 weeks to rehearse and 12 characters to play the role of 30 people, all with different accents and dialects.  Perfection was the furthest thing from Bjornson’s mind, what Bjornson was focusing on was the amount of opportunity this show provided the actors and the VVTG.

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The Virgin Valley Theatre Group’s presentation of Vintage Hitchcock-A Radio Play comes complete with a Foley sound table along with sound technicians Janet McDonald, Susan Schultz and Judy Edgington. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.

Bjornson, a 35 year Psychologist and Chemical Dependency Councilor, is a firm believer that disaster and difficulty may happen but it always offers up opportunity along with it.  It is his ability for finding that opportunity that has been one of the key factors in the growth, both in the actors personally and the group professionally, the VVTG has seen in the past year and a half.

Bjornson began this production opportunity with letting the actors know who their characters were to be, they were to be “Actors” playing actors and those “actors” are playing multiple roles “on the radio”.

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Jerrie Clarke and Ted Ung perform two of their many characters in Vintage Hitchcock-A Radio Play which opened at the Mesquite Community Theatre on January 9th and 10th The VVTG has additional shows scheduled for January 16, 17 23 and 24 at 7 p.m. a Sunday Matinee this weekend, January 8, at 2 p.m. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.

Now that you have that straight… imagine how difficult a challenge yet wonderful an opportunity that would be for a seasoned actor to face and rise to  and also imagine how wonderful an opportunity it would be for a new comer to wow the audience with their untapped skills as well.

Many of the actors took the opportunity the internet affords them by viewing You tube and other video sites as well as movies as a means of reference and to rehearse the many different British dialects and Scottish accents they needed for the radio show’s characters.

There was also an opportunity, because the show’s setting was a radio show production, to give the audience a glimpse into the “production” end of theatre.   The cast accomplished this by allowing the audience the opportunity to view their, usually private, warm up exercises before the start of the show and to see the actors as themselves before they step into their “actor” character.

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The Cast of Vintage Hitchcock-A Radio Play show the audience their vocal warm-ups before the show begins. This production offered many opportunities for the audience to experience many aspects of producing a live show. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.

Along with the hard work and dedication it took to put this production together in only four short weeks was the opportunity to have fun!  Bjornson urged the actors to adlib, to have fun with the act of “getting into character” to laugh, to show the relationships developed between actors, to be silly and HAVE FUN!  That’s what community theatre in itself is all about; people having the opportunity to do what they love to do and having fun doing it.

Seasoned or brand new to the stage, the VVTG director and actors all took the opportunities Vintage Hitchcock-A Radio Play offered to them and did an outstanding job rising to the challenges they faced.

You still have the opportunity to see this amazing group of actors rise to their challenges at the Mesquite Community Theatre January 16, 17, 24 or 25 at 7 p.m. or January 18 at 2 p.m.  Tickets are available at Danielle’s Chocolates, The Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery, The Mesquite Chamber of Commerce, Have Boutique Will Travel and the Mesquite Community Theatre Box Office.

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