Play by area playwright at Good Neighbors Theatre

Posted November 8, 2017 at 10:08 am

Good Neighbors Theatre will present Radio Suspense Theatre, written by Steve Cleberg on November 10 and 11 at 7:00 PM

Quotes from a Somerset Community College news article, “Radio Suspense Theatre Has Long History”, give a look at how the play came into being.

Radio Suspense Theatre has long been a favorite of theatre audiences at Somerset Community College.

“I never intended for it to be much more than a unique style of entertainment for my students to perform,” said Steve Cleberg, SCC Theatre Director and author of the series. “I certainly never thought that it would have a history that would span over 20 years.” GNT is presenting one play from a series of seven.

“I remember working on the set for a production one Saturday afternoon while I was listening to some music from the 1940s; the era of the show that I was working on at the time,” said Cleberg. “I was intrigued by the way these little audio dramas got into my head. I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a way to translate that same experience into a stage production.”

At that point, Cleberg began to work on a play about a radio company presenting a live radio drama on the air.

“Part of the fun of the production would be seeing how that unique style of storytelling worked,” said Cleberg. Manual sound effects and individual actors playing multiple roles were the wheelhouse of radio drama.

“It wasn’t until the late 90s that I began to work on the idea again in earnest. We were organizing a summer theatre program … and it was determined that we would present two shows on alternating nights over two weekends.” The actors in the summer stock company would play roles in two different shows at the same time.

Since the reenactment of the radio show called for performances done from a script, Cleberg saw both aesthetic and practical value to employing a radio show as one of the options. The actors would perform one traditional play in repertory with the radio play.

SCC’s director of theatre went about the business of creating a fictional radio company. The audience would learn about the back story of these characters as they prepared to present two radio dramas.

“About twenty-five percent of the play was done in the traditional manner,” Cleberg added. “We would be introduced to the actors of the radio dramas and learn about their personal lives. We’d then witness the connections made between their personal dramas and the radio mysteries that they presented in the studio style.”

This became the play GNT audiences will be seeing—actually three plays—two within the main play—all centered around the mystery, thriller style of the Golden Age of Radio.

Ticket Prices are $12.00 plus tax/adult and $8.00 plus tax/child between three and 12 years of age. Lap babies two and under are free. Tickets are available at the Byrdstown-Pickett County Chamber of Commerce.

All pre-reserved tickets must be paid for at the time the reservation is made. Stop by the Chamber located at 1005 Highway 111. The Chamber’s phone is 931-864-7195.

Tickets may also be purchased at the Good Neighbors Theatre ticket booth on the night of the performances. All ticket sales are final. Unused tickets are non-refundable.

To purchase by mail, please mail the following information with payment to: Good Neighbors Theatre, PO Box 493, Byrdstown, TN 38549. Name, phone, email, number of adult tickets at $13.17, number of child tickets at $8.78, and total amount enclosed.

Also, indicate the performance you want to attend: November 10, and/or 11, All reservations by mail must be received three days prior to selected date. Please provide a complete list of names/dates of all ticket holders for the reservation. Tickets for mail-in reservations are held for Will Call at the GNT Ticket Booth on the night of the performance/s you select.

Those requiring special assistance must indicate their need at the time reservation is made. Make checks payable to GNT at P.O. Box 493, Byrdstown, TN 38549. Messages may be left at 931-864-4569.