WINNSBORO — Pine Tree Players helped to get Fairfield County in the Christmas mood with a live radio play version of It’s A Wonderful Life. At the risk of overusing the word wonderful, director Brian Garner said the six showings were just that.
“The audiences were very appreciative and they loved the performance,” he stated.
According to Garner, It’s a Wonderful Life is the type of play that puts everyone in the Christmas mood.
“It’s a Wonderful Life is one of those elements of Christmas that, if you don’t see it at least once, it doesn’t feel like Christmas,” he stated in the playbill. “My wish this Christmas was for a talented cast and crew to put on this show and I got my wish and much more.”
The classic Christmas story was brought to life through a microphone and Garner believes the audience was able to view the play with their eyes closed.
“We had to work between the idea of a true radio play while injecting some character and movement on stage to entertain the crowd,” he said. “We’re such a visual society that we had to give the audience something in the theatre to look at.”
In spite of those challenges, the actors, actresses and Foley artist played their parts to a T. It was as if the cast was narrating the story and painted the picture in the viewers’ minds.
“I can’t say enough good things about my cast and crew because they pulled it off beautifully,” Garner stated. “I got such great support from the theater and everyone on the board. My cast was great and my crew was great.”
Five cast members played over 40 combined roles along with one Foley artist to create the sound effects. Garner said the cast’s close relationships made the performance blossom.
“We’re such a family and we’ve worked together on several productions,” he noted. “It would not have worked without them and everyone who did things behind the scenes.”
The Foley artist — played by Marcie Wedding — brought the show to life with sound effects that would be used to create the story to a radio audience.
“Marcie is awesome and came up with some of those sound effect ideas on her own,” Garner said. “She really threw herself into the part and it enhanced the performance a lot.”
Some of the differences in preparation for a “radio play” included less rehearsal than an average play because they were able to read from the script.
“As long as they (cast) knew their character then I was OK with that,” Garner said. “The cast was able to bring the characters out as well as reading their lines.”
The next play on the bill for Pine Tree Players is “Hats,” which is about the trials of elderly ladies. Auditions have not been announced yet but for more information you can visit www.facebook.com/pinetreeplayhouse. The show will premiere during the fourth weekend in March It will be directed by Ginny McKinney.
Pine Tree Players’ annual meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 8. Members will decide on the shows that will run in the next year as well as vote for new officers on the board. Garner encourages the public and former cast members to attend.
“We really invite people to come to our annual meeting to see what all goes into theatre,” he noted. “The door is wide open and we’d like to see new people and even people we haven’t seen for awhile.”