Rosemount High School students are on stage and on the airRHS turns to old-fashioned radio drama for its winter play
By: Nathan Hansen, Rosemount Town Pages
There will still be costumes when Rosemount High School students take the stage for this weekend’s theatrical production. There will still be a set. And there will still be actors reciting lines. But that’s about where the similarities end between what’s on stage this weekend and the typical RHS winter play.
Called RHS Radio Theater: On the Air, this weekend’s show is the second part of a winter theatrical experiment at RHS. The first part, a festival of short films starring students, was presented last month.
On the Air director Thomas Hoffman said the change came from discussions about doing something different with the school’s winter play, which typically hasn’t been a big draw. The two productions split the budget typically assigned to the winter play.
Film festival director Mark Hubbard said the new productions open students up to a new style of performing.
On the Air is a radio variety show in the mold of A Prairie Home Companion. There will be an opening segment, as well as a number of sketches, some adapted from stage productions and some originally written for the radio. There will also be musical numbers.
There are sponsors for the program, and the students have created jingles for them, just as they would have on an old-fashioned radio show.
Students will perform for a live audience at the RHS performing arts center, but performances will also be broadcast live online. There will be links to the shows on the school’s website at district196.org/rhs.
Hoffman said performing in the radio setting has been an adjustment for students who are used to learning exactly where they need to be on stage and when they need to be there. Now, if students need to walk around the stage, they can walk around.
“They’re so attuned to acting for an audience, and granted, while that’s there, I told them that’s not really the focus,” Hoffman said. “It’s all about not having dead air…. We always fill it with something.”
Students have to think constantly about what’s next, Hoffman said.
For Hoffman, a longtime director of plays at RHS, the move to radio theater has been a refreshing change. There has already been talk about bringing both the film festival and the radio program back next winter.
“It’s creative,” Hoffman said. “You get to create it and you learn a lot. We’ve never done that here before.”
Early this week preparations were moving along well for the production. Hoffman had tested the Internet feed. The set for the show, which includes a neon silhouette of an old-fashioned radio bearing the call letters KRHS as well as “Applause” signs, was going up.
The show will be on stage and on the Internet airwaves at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are available at the door or online at district196.org/rhs.