Upcoming Performance

City of Weird
26 April 2017
Willamette Radio Workshop
Kiggins Theatre, Vancouver, WA
Doors 6:00 PM; Show 7:00 PM
Suggested donation: $5.00 per person
Re-Imagined Radio

Re-Imagined Radio

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Overview | Background | Upcoming Performance | Past Performances | Theoretical Framework | Exhibitions

Overview

Re-Imagined Radio is a radio art project focused on re-creating vintage radio dramas before live audiences. Re-creating these ephemeral sound experiences encourages listeners to explore and experience a lost sound culture as well as the conditions under which these sound-based stories were originally created.

Background

Start with a 1936 theatre. Re-enact historic radio dramas complete with voice actors and Foley sound artists. Garnish with digital SFX, music, and visual backdrops. Invite a live audience to watch, eat popcorn, and participate via social media. The result: Re-Imagined Radio—storytelling as never before heard, or seen.

Partners include the historic Kiggins Theatre, in downtown Vancouver; the world-renowned Willamette Radio Workshop, under the direction of Sam A. Mowry; Nouspace Gallery & Media Lounge, an occasional, interactive, multimedia art and media gallery; and the Creative Media & Digital Culture Program at Washington State University Vancouver.

Upcoming Performances

City of Weird

26 April 2017
Five short otherworldly dramas, adapted by Cynthia J. McGean from the anthology City of Weird (published by Forest Avenue Press, Portland, OR, 2016).
Donations ($5.00/person) suggested

Social media
Twitter: #reimaginedradio

City of Weird posterDramatizations to include . . .
"How Do You Say Gentrification in Martian" by Jonathan Hill
A short, graphic-novel/comic style story whose artwork will be featured in our pre-show slides

"Transformation" by Dan DeWeese
What does existential angst look like for killer slime molds from outer space and their nurturing spore-filled mothership when they touch down in Portland?

"The Fixer: a Serial - 1 - The Duchess" by Sean Davis
A noire-style piece featuring a sasquatch with a pot dispensary, a local dyed-in-the-wool prophet and a Russian water ghost, plus the classic hard-boiled detective and a femme fatale with a twist.

"A Code for Everything" by Andrew Stark
The poignant tale of a boy and his robot dog in Portland circa 2025.

"Letters to The Oregonian in the Year 30,000 BC" by Mark Russell
Ancient Portlanders Crolak, Chaka, Grub, and Bill grapple with the trendy new invention of fire and its impact on life in the Yak Village and beyond.

Press
Hewitt, Scott. Kiggins Hosts 'City of Weird' Radio Ddrama. The Columbian 22 April 2015, D1, 2.

Laugh Your Dial Off

30 or 31 August 2017
OTR comedy radio
Donations ($5.00/person) suggested

All performances at Kiggins Theatre — Vancouver, Washington
Doors open at 6:00 PM — show starts at 7:00 PM
Wine, beer, and concessions available

Social media
Twitter: #reimaginedradio

Past Performances

Season 4
  • "A Radio Christmas Carol"
    21 December 2016

    Based on the 24 December 1939 radio adaptation by Orson Welles and The Mercury Theatre on the Air of the Charles Dickens' novel, A Christmas Carol. Live performance by the Willamette Radio Workshop at the historic Kiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver, Washington. Donations to The Clark County Food Bank were requested.

    Recording by Gerald Gaule, streamed on his American Senior Radio Network. More than 580 listeners from 32 countries for the hour long broadcast.

    Stats
    300+ live audience
    580 listeners from 32 countries for live stream broadcast
    763 pounds of food and $325.00 in donations collected for The Clark County Food Bank
    2,228 meals for hungry families in Clark County

    Press
    Hewitt, Scott. Willamette Radio Workshop To Present 'A Christmas Carol' at Kiggins. The Columbian 11 December 2015.
    Hewitt, Scott. "The Sounds of Scrooge Come To Life." The Columbian 17 December 2016, D1, 2.

  • Dracula poster"Dracula"
    27 October 2016

    The radio drama adaptation of Bram Stoker's legendary novel, Dracula, first published 1897. We will follow the script used by Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre on the Air for their radio broadcast, 11 April 1938.

    Dracula, the legendary novel by Bram Stoker, first published in 1897, is considered one of the greatest horror novels ever written. The novel examines the concepts of lust, sex, gender roles, and society's fears of the unnatural during late 19th and 20th century Victorian society. Over time, the focus of its many interpretations has come to be how evil abnormality can evolve from one source and infect the surrounding society with discord and misfortunes. Dracula, the vampire, infects others with his evil.

    Stoker drew inspiration for his novel from tales of Vlad the Impailer, or Dracula, born 1431 into a noble Transylvania family. His father was called "Dracul" because he belonged to the Order of the Dragon in Romania. "Dracula" means "son of Dracul." Therefore, Vlad was known as "son of the dragon" or "son of the devil" which may have been the beginning of the legend that he was a vampire.

    As a warrior, Vlad was known to impale people on stakes and leave them to die. He was reported to have once dined among his victims, and to have eaten bread dipped in their blood. Killed in 1476, Dracula's head was cut off and displayed in Constantinople. In 1931, archaeologists exhumed his grave and took the skeleton to the History Museum in Bucharest, where it disappeared, leaving many mysteries about Prince Dracula unanswered and thus contributing to the legends surrounding Dracula.

    On 11 July 1938, the Mercury Theatre on the Air broadcast "Dracula" as a radio drama and contributed to keeping these legends alive. Directed by and starring Orson Welles, as both Count Dracula and Doctor Seward, the cast also included Martin Gabel, Agnes Moorehead, George Coulouris and Ray Collins.

    The performance was notable, but quickly forgotten as the cast and crew of the Mercury Theatre began immediately working on upcoming performances. Following the broadcast of "The War of the Worlds," 30 October 1938, perhaps the most famous radio broadcast of all time, Orson Welles noted the earlier performance of Dracula to defend the production of realistic tales of horror.

    The performance of "Dracula" by the Mercury Theatre on the Air is the basis for this Re-Imagined Radio performance. Voice actors and Foley artists of The Willamette Radio Workshop under the direction of Sam A. Mowry will perform the original broadcast script Thursday, 27 October 2016, at the Kiggins Theatre. This will be our contribution to the Halloween holiday.

    Stats
    270 live audience

    Press
    Re-Imagined Radio: "Dracula."
    Hewitt, Scott. Kiggins Presents Radio-Drama Production of Bram Stoker's 'Dracula'. The Columbian 22 October 2016.

  • Gunsmoke-Shadow poster"Bloody Hands" and "The Silent Avenger"
    4 May 2016

    Episodes from Gunsmoke and The Shadow. Both deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) before it was named or understood.

    "Bloody Hands" (Gunsmoke episode 155; 2 April 1955). Marshall Matt Dillon, faced with too much killing and fearing he has lost his edge, quits his job. But when a murderer comes to Dodge City, who will save its citizens?

    "The Silent Avenger" (The Shadow episode 111; 13 March 1938). Joe Bricker is sentenced to death. He manipulates his brother, a World War I sniper suffering from PTSD, to kill everyone responsible for his pending execution. Can the invisible Shadow find and stop the invisible sniper before it is too late?

  • "Sorry, Wrong Number" and "The Hitchhiker"
    23 March 2016

    Two radio dramas by Lucille Fletcher to celebrate her work in conjunction with National Women's History Month.

    "Sorry, Wrong Number," starring Agnes Moorehead, is called the most effective radio drama ever written and the best episode from the Suspense series, itself called one of the best series of the Golden Age of Radio (1920s-1950s). Mrs. Stevenson is connected into a telephone conversation between two men. She can hear the two men, but they cannot hear her. Apparently, they are plotting to murder a woman at 11:15 that night, just as a train passes outside. Mrs. Stevenson realizes she may be the murder victim.

    "The Hitchhiker" is, essentially, a ghost story. Driving cross country, Ronald Adams sees a strange man hitchhiking again and again. Adams becomes obsessed with finding this hitchhiker, and learning his identity.

    Press
    Hewitt, Scott. "The New Magic of Old-Time Radio." The Columbian 13 March 2016: D1, D8.
    —. "The Sound Magician: David Ian Demonstrates the Art of Foley." The Columbian 13 March 2016: D1, D8.



Season 3
  • "A Radio Christmas Carol"
    16 December 2015
    Facebook page for this event.

    Based on the 24 December 1939 radio adaptation by Orson Welles and The Mercury Theatre on the Air of the Charles Dickens' novel, A Christmas Carol. Live performance by the Willamette Radio Workshop at the historic Kiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver, Washington.

    Press
    Hewitt, Scott. Christmas on the Radio. The Columbian 11 December 2015.
    Hewitt, Scott. "Bits 'n' Pieces: Radio plays scare up some chills at Kiggins." The Columbian 3 October 2015.

  • "The Fall of the City" and "R.U.R."
    7 October 2015

    Two classic radio dramas. "R.U.R." dramatizes a fundamental tension for humans with robots: we want them to be workers who make our lives easier, but if they have the ability to think independently, then are they actually slaves that should have rights? And, if they can think for themselves, would they possibly overthrow humans? Learn more.

    "The Fall of the City" focuses on the ambiguous relationship humans have with freedom. We want to be free but we also like order and structure, even if that order and structure is imposed upon us. How much freedom and liberty are we willing to give up to enjoy order and structure. Because of this ambiguity, we both fear and welcome the conqueror. Learn more.

    Press
    Hewitt, Scott. "Bits 'n' Pieces: Radio Plays Scare up Some Chills at Kiggins." The Columbian 3 October 2015: D6-7.

  • Golden Age of Superan poster"The Golden Age of Superman"
    18 June 2015

    Based on Superman of the 1930s-1940s, this radio adaptation by Dan Wyatt, Jr. cast a satirical eye on contemporary issues facing Vancouver, Washington. Starring Vancouver Mayor Timothy Levitt and other local civic leaders, and featuring the talents of students from John Barber's Digital Storytelling class. Student projects archival website. Facebook page.

  • Case Files of Dr. Moreau poster"The Case Files of Dr. Moreau"
    22 April 2015

    Inspired by the 1896 science fiction novel The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, this radio adaptation by William S. Gregory focuses on a scientist who attempts to convert animals into humans using vivisection. Themes include pain and cruelty, moral responsibility, human identity, and human interference with nature.

    Listen to the 22 April 2015 performance of The Case Files of Dr. Moreau by the Willamette Radio Workshop and students in my audio performance class.

    An eight minute video excerpt by the Willamette Radio Workshop
    Facebook page
    The Wunderkammer of Dr. Moreau highlights student projects



Season 2
  • "A Radio Christmas Carol"
    18 December 2014
    Facebook page

    Based on the 24 December 1939 radio adaptation by Orson Welles and The Mercury Theatre on the Air of the Charles Dickens' novel, A Christmas Carol. Live performance by the Willamette Radio Workshop at the historic Kiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver, Washington.

    Press
    "WSUV Brings Program, Artwork To Downtown." The Columbian 13 December 2014.

  • War of the Worlds 2014 poster"The War of the Worlds"
    30 October 2014
    Facebook page

    For a second time, the world was utterly destroyed before the ears of an overflow audience at Kiggins Theatre!

    Press
    "'War of the Worlds' Reimagined at Kiggins." The Columbian. 30 October 2014.

  • Around the World in 80 Days poster"Around the World in Eighty Days"
    6 August 2014

    Inspired by the 1873 Jules Verne novel Around the World in Eighty Days. A re-imagined version of the 23 October 1938 radio broadcast of "Around the World in Eighty Days" by Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre on the Air. Included a curated gallery exhibition of student multimedia narrative responses to the novel entitled Chronicles.



Season 1
  • "A Radio Christmas Carol"
    19 December 2013

    Based on the 24 December 1939 radio adaptation by Orson Welles and The Mercury Theatre on the Air of the Charles Dickens' novel, A Christmas Carol. Live performance by the Willamette Radio Workshop at the historic Kiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver, Washington.

  • "The War of the Worlds"
    30 October 2013

    Inspired by the 1898 H. G. Wells novel The War of the Worlds. A live re-enactment of the most famous radio broadcast of all time on the occasion of its 75th anniversary. The world was utterly destroyed before the ears of an overflow audience at Kiggins Theatre! Included a curated gallery exhibition of multimedia student work, entitled Martians with Moustaches, in response to the novel.

    Press
    "75 Years of War of the Worlds." OPB. 30 October 2013.

Theoretical Framework

This project focuses on radio drama from the so-called "Golden Age of radio," the 1920s-1950s, as examples of sound-based narrative and storytelling.

Richard J. Hand and Mary Traynor say radio drama is comprised of "constituent parts: Words, Sounds, Music, Silence.
(Richard J. Hand and Mary Traynor, The Radio Drama Handbook: Audio Drama in Context and Practice. New York: Continuum, 2011. 40.)

Words might be narration / dialogue / speech. Sounds might be sound effects, abbreviated as "SFX," including previously recorded sound history, or dialogue. Music includes thematic elements, transitions between scenes, or sonic emotional identifiers. And silence forms a punctuation for speech or other sounds, or a counter against them.

To these constituent parts I suggest adding listeners' imagination and listening. See Radio-Audio Drama, part 3 for more about these aesthetics.

Sound and radio are ephemeral, disappearing soon after their production. Even if preserved (recorded), meanings and cultural considerations, in place at the time of original production, may change over time.

I investigate curating sound elsewhere and note one curatorial practice as curation by re-creation. As I pursue this curatorial practice, I re-create the ephemeral sound experience of radio drama before live audiences, thus encouraging listeners to explore and experience a lost sound culture as well as the conditions under which these sound-based stories were originally created.

I continue to develop a theoretical framework with a focus on sound and radio to underpin this project, and other creative practices associated with Radio Nouspace.

Exhibitions / Publications / Broadcasts

"Curation by Re-Creation: Innovative, New Knowledge Model for Classic Radio Drama." INKE New Knowledge Models: Sustaining Partnerships to Transform Scholarly Production, Whistler, BC, Canada. 19 January 2016.

Barber, John. "Sound Curation by Re-creation: The War of the Worlds Radio (re)broadcast." Leonardo Electronic Almanac. Histories, Theories and Practices of Sound Art special issue. James Bulley, John Levack Drever, eds. (In press)

"Sound Curation by Re-Creation: The War of the Worlds Radio (Re)broadcast, Martians with Mustaches: A Case Study and Suggestions." International Sound Arts Curation Series. Goldsmith's, University of London and The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, England, 15-17 May 2014.