Never a group to shy away from a challenge, the theatre company are now tackling the classic story made famous by director Frank Capra and star James Stewart: It’s A Wonderful Life. Following the story of George Bailey and how events in his life lead him to consider ending it all, but for the intervention of an angel-in-training Clarence, it is a tale of hope, love and the true meaning of life.
However, rather than just being a straight adaptation of the film, this play is actually a little different. The setting: a 1940s radio studio. The concept: A group of well-known 1940s fictional stars are preparing to record a live radio-play version of It’s a Wonderful Life, in front of a live studio audience played by none other than…you guessed it…YOU!
“Radio was in its Golden Age in the 1940s so it’s a clever concept,” enthuses director Cliff Gillies, “the audience of the play is actually the audience for the recording of the radio play and they are very much a member of the cast!” With an effects team creating all sound effects live, advert breaks performed by the cast themselves and the actors switching characters faster than you can blink, it promises to be a unique, immersive experience. “There are over 30 characters in the play, but they are all voiced by just nine actors so vocal diversity is essential. There are no costume changes, no real actions, just a reliance on voice, expressions, sound effects, old-fashioned storytelling and the imagination of the audience.” continues director Cliff. “The audience needs to really listen; they could almost close their eyes! This is a show where you have to be willing to allow yourself to get lost in the story.”
And what a great story it is, George Bailey aspires to escape his boring hometown of Bedford Falls and make it big in the world. But an unexpected death, a Scrooge-like nemesis, commitments he feels he can’t break, and a woman he loves all conspire to keep him in the sleepy American town. “We’ve all had those moments when we wonder what life may have been like if we’d made different choices.” explains Mark Haygarth who takes on the role of Clarence, the angel. “At its heart, It’s a Wonderful Life reminds us that we should always be thankful for what we do have. That’s a positive message for everyone!”
This unique theatrical experience will run from Thursday September 28th to Saturday 30th September at Ormskirk Civic Hall. Tickets are £8 from 01704 560229.