July 14, 2020
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The weekend after classes ended, Kenyon community members were invited to exchange stress and busyness for a dose of 1940s nostalgia and a taste of the holiday spirit. The Horn Gallery was transformed into an old-time broadcast studio as Natalie Kane ’18, from Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, directed a radio play adaptation of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Kane was first struck with the idea of bringing a radio play to the Hill when she saw a theater production of this same adaptation in New York City. “I just thought it would be a really fun thing to do,” Kane said. “It’s something different for the holidays.” This production was sponsored by WKCO and Horn funding.
The play was performed in two matinee showings, first on Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. and then on Dec. 11 at noon. The cast and crew featured an array of talented students who, whether serving as actors or as foley artists producing sound effects, were required to juggle many parts. Chris Raffa ’19, from East Northport, New York, voiced main character George Bailey, while Ethan Starr ’20, from Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, voiced 10 different characters throughout the production. Raffa and Starr were joined by five other actors, who all voiced more than two parts each: Sarah Dailey ’20, Katie Dembinski ’18, Annmarie Magnus ’19, Chris Stoll ’18 and Camila Wise ’20.
In addition to an ensemble of actors, the crew was composed of two foley artists, Leah Dunbar ’20 and Cameron Austin ’20; a sound board operator, Brady Furlich ’19; and a production stage manager, Tyler Guerin ’19. Kane said the cast and crew had only been assembled a week or two prior to Thanksgiving break and only had the first half of December to practice. While a radio play requires less preparation time than a full play because the actors are not required to memorize their lines, putting on a production in this genre is still a great deal of work.
Kane, who is a double major in drama and history, said this event is a tradition she hopes to continue throughout the years, even though it happened this year during a busy time in the semester. “This would definitely be a nice tradition to start,” she said. “Just a more old-fashioned, classic, nice way to begin the holidays. It’s a good message for this time of the year when everything is so hectic.”
by India Amos ’17