From the Oklahoma Dust Bowl of the 1930’s to the bustling cities of the 1960’s, families would huddle around their radio sets and listen to radio dramas transporting them away from their hardships and deep into their own hearts and minds. With today’s technology, ReThink Theatrical is trying to recapture some of that magic with our upcoming presentation, ReThink On Air. This show will explore the unique gifts of current theatrical moments by bridging live performances and audio drama with five unique radio plays that imagine our present, our future, and human possibility through the lens of science fiction.
[Zombie Noises] is a comedic adventure about two high school students who find themselves in the middle of a zombie outbreak created by a science fair project gone wrong and have to figure out a way to get everyone back to normal before they, too, become zombified. Playwright Katie Siegel says that the first thing she thought of when thinking of a sci-fi radio play was “science fair!” and that “...the rest kind of just fell into place.” When considering writing in a radio play format she says, “What excites me most about the radio play format is that there are so few restrictions on what you can do. You want to create a machine that turns people into zombies? Easy, just have a character say it exists. Throw in a sound effect or two, and you're good to go. Theatre of the mind is so wonderful, and so inexpensive!”
Playwright Amir Gad, author of The Midnight Stretch, also looks forward to using audio as a narrative tool. The Midnight Stretch tells the story of your average bi-weekly talk show in a podunk town, until it hosts a rather frantic caller with a little too much to say. Gad traces his inspiration through the song “Touch Tone Telephone” by Lemon Demon that tells the story of the “...infamous phone call made to a radio show in 1997, from an alleged worker of Area 51.” He says, “The mysterious circumstances, combined with the obvious terror the caller has in their voice, stuck with me for so long after I heard it.”
Matt DeMiller, author of Square One, is most excited to explore audio-centric creature design with his story about portals and parent-child relationships. In Square One, Ace must accept that he isn’t the center of his mom’s world when he discovers she has, overnight, found a new life on an imaginary jungle planet. DeMiller says he experimented with the “Type-B” son travelling through an inter-dimensional portal first, but once he considered switching it around so that the “Type A” mother made the first foray, “...it clicked, and this version spilled out...when I stepped back it looked like little bits of the Hangover, Stargate, and Jumanji mashed together.”
Siegel, Gad and DeMiller are only three of our imaginative playwrights. We’ll soon introduce you to our last two writers whose plays dig into the intersection of science fiction and emotion.