WBOO: A Halloween Radio Variety Hour is a hilarious take on a 1950s radio variety hour that challenges our notions about live theatre. More of an experience than a production, the play was staged in two locations. The majority of the audience was in Miller Theater, while some guests were at listening stations with actors in the Chandramohan Library. Each performance provided a unique experience, with improvisation and audience participation built in.
The production was written and directed by performing arts teacher and ComedySportz coach Jen Bascom, with a goal of representing her students’ skills.
“Last spring, I was searching for the right play to direct that could celebrate the talented seniors in our drama program. Nothing quite fit the bill,” says Bascom. “These students are musically gifted, great with scripted character choices and strong improvisers. I decided to write a piece that would highlight all of these skills.”
In addition, she wanted to give her students a taste of the contemporary theater scene.
“If any of these students choose to move on to a professional career, they would be hired for work like this. This is what is happening in theater—interactive and immersive experiences. As an actor, it is what I get hired to do all the time. It's exciting work,” she says. “High school students are so capable of handling improvisational and interactive work, as each of them proved,” she continues. “It was a joy to see them realize that there is magic in an audience-actor shared theater experience.”
Among the many characters represented were Dracula, the Wolf Man, Frankenstein and his bride, as well as the Mummy and a host of other ghoulish guests, plus the zombie choir (the Flintridge Singers) and the Skeletones Band (members of the Prep music program).