Theater makes best of difficult situation

‘Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Show’ will utilize foley artists, other novel techniques


Jenna Benbow

Park students rehearse for the fall play over zoom during a virtual rehearsal on Oct. 5. “Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Show” will likely be available to watch late November.

Gabriel Kaplan

Thespian co-president and senior Phoebe McKinney said they are grateful for the opportunity to host a show this fall — “Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play” — but preparing and performing online poses a series of unique challenges.

“It’s very interesting to see how we are adapting to it because theater is what I love to do, and I’m still having a lot of fun, but there are a lot more hurdles to jump over like technical difficulties,” McKinney said. “For me, the biggest disadvantage is I really perform my best when there’s an audience in front of me, so I don’t know what that’s going to be like. But, I think a big advantage is the simplicity of the whole project.”

This specific play consists of several short stories well-suited for a streamed performance, according to assistant stage manager sophomore Meshach Mandel.

“It’s Vintage Hitchcock,” Mandel said. “We are transforming it from a radio show to a stage play, and from stage play to an online play. It’s basically three, old Alfred Hitchock stories that are performed as if it’s a radio show.”

McKinney said the play will include a number of unique modifications to liven up the virtual performance. 

“We’ve only had a few rehearsals, but … we are still getting that connection that a lot of people look for in theater,” McKinney said. “We work a lot on the voice aspect of it because that’s kind of all that we have left. What’s really interesting is that we actually have costumes, and for this show, we are doing foley sound. So, there will be people making auxiliary sound effects who will actually be in costumes and a part of the performance as well.”

It’ll definitely keep you on the edge of your seats. It’s a very suspenseful, very interesting set of stories.

— Phoebe McKinney

Students will likely be able to see the show around late November, according to director Jodi Schifsky, but timing and other details are still being worked out.

“Initially, we were going to have both the performance and the audience live on Zoom, but we realized that it isn’t really feasible to have that many people on a call,” Schifsky said. “We have a third plan, which is to record a performance in the auditorium and then broadcast that at a later date. It will be socially distanced, and there will be two versions you can watch: one will be focused on the actors and one will be focused on the foley sound artists.”

Mandel said he hopes to see more people viewing the show considering attendees will no longer have to commute to see it.

“It’s an advantage to not necessarily have to go anywhere — it doesn’t impede on your schedule — so attendance levels may be up,” Mandel said. “(Being virtual) is not necessarily a huge advantage or disadvantage, it’s just a lot different.”

McKinney said they encourage all students to see the show for a thrilling experience.

“It’ll definitely keep you on the edge of your seats,” McKinney said. “It’s a very suspenseful, very interesting set of stories.”