The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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November 14, 2013

On the air: Bethany showcases live radio, Hitchcock's films in theatre production

Bethany showcases live radio, Hitchcock's films in theatre production

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"I'm a huge Hitchcock fan. ... I figured I'd be kicking myself for the rest of the year if I didn't try out," he said. "It was kind of like setting a kid loose in a candy store when I was cast in this show."

The setting of the play is a radio studio that is broadcasting live adaptations of three Hitchcock films: "The Lodger," "Sabotage" and "The 39 Steps." The play includes vintage commercials, a live (and visible) orchestra and a range of elements that preserve the setting as a central point of focus.

Foley artists are visible on stage creating all sound effects, their accoutrements and movements fully apparent to the audience. The radio station's stage manager is also visible to the audience, cuing the actors and action for the radio broadcast.

Director Peter Bloedel said all of the student actors play multiple roles and speak in multiple dialects throughout the course of the show. At some points, the students are even having conversations with themselves. As such, Bloedel said he spent more than two weeks strictly working on dialogue and dialects with his cast.

He added that all the music in the show was composed by Bethany theatre instructor Benji Inniger and all sound in the production is produced on stage.

"We're so used to doing everything with computers," Bloedel said, "that for this show, the big challenge for ourselves was: Could we come up with all of this on our own?"

As for Jeske, his roles call for Romanian and Scottish accents as well as a variety of English inflections. But developing the voices, he said, has been far less difficult than developing a sense of timing and consistency with his castmates.

"With others, it's a balancing act," said Jeske, noting that he typically performs alone in his YouTube videos. "But the result is this wonderful, barely choreographed ballet of chaos on stage."

 

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