The Prairie Players' 2017 fall production premieres Wednesday
Local thespians ready for opening night
Barry Rud, pictured during the Prairie Players' final rehearsals, will be voicing Kris Kringle when the curtain opens on the troupe's annual fall production Wednesday night at the Glesby Centre in Portage la Prairie. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)
Local acting troupe Prairie Players have been rehearsing tirelessly since September ahead of Wednesday's opening night, however when the actors and actresses take to the stage of the Glesby Centre in Portage la Prairie, the spotlight will be shining on a non-traditional production of Miracle on 34th Street.
“We'll be preforming a radio play, it's a little bit different than a regular play,” says Rosa Rawlings, director of the group's 2017 fall production. “Thirteen actors will playing 20 characters so when it's time for them to come up to the mic and do their thing, they're acting with their voice. They're still moving, but not too far from the mic.”
The stage will be lined with microphones while the cast sits on the stage throughout the show, and although an unconventional take on the classic holiday tale, the Players are no stranger to radio productions and silenced any of their critics with exceptional radio play performances in years past.
“A few years back Prairie Players performed It's a Wonderful Life radio play,” Rawlings explains. “People weren't sure exactly what to expect. And it went really, really well. Hopefully this is kind of similar.
“Watching the foley artists create sound on stage was what people liked about the last show,” continues Rawlings. “If we had sound effects in a regular play it would be pre-programed and nobody sees it they just hear it. This way they see it being done as well.”
More of an audio journey rather than visual, the actors still prepare like any other production, as a radio-style performance brings with it it's own challenges. The cast and crew - made up of collection of eclectic young adults and savvy theatre vets alike - have been practicing twice a week for the past few months ensuring their impressions of Kris and the gang are refined ahead of showtime.
“It's still the same as far as how you feel the character should sound or should act like or say certain things,” notes the director. “You always want to make sure that they're telling it the way you think they should be telling the story.
The Players will be preforming four shows from Wednesday to Saturday with the final two being dinner theatre events. The play starts at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are available at the Glesby Centre box office for $15. For more information visit glesbycentre.com or call 204-239-5591.