Radio Plays

No Mystery It Was a Fun Show!

RKClumpgroupTheRadioKidsFFP’s own Radio Kids revealed The Mystery of the Clump in the Night at our end-of-semester, homeschool co-op program and had a great time! And so did the audience!

A co-op of some 50 families draws a substantial audience, but there wasn’t any nervousness visible in this performance by our lower-grades drama class (elementary grades). The kids did a wonderful job, and they only get to rehearse once a week, for about 50 minutes, for only 10 weeks, with two quick dress rehearsals. Anyone who has ever put together a reasonably substantial show knows that’s insane. It is. But we do it anyway. And it works. The bar stays high, in spite of our limitations. And the kids reach for it!

RKClumpIntheMicA radio play is something of a “different animal.” It is a skill in itself. It requires the actor to hold a script and read from a script, always into a microphone, while acting for two audiences — the imaginary one, and the live one in front of them. And The Clump is a radio play within a play. It begins as a regular play, with no scripts, as the audience gets to know The Radio Kids as everyday kids who are local radio stars in 1940 America.

Our modern-day, cell-phone-using, television-watching, internet-using, elementary-school-level kids had to learn some things about American culture in 1940. It was fun! And they enlightened the audience with a little cultural literacy in an entertaining way. Nan may have her dad’s Popular Mechanics magazine with a story about the 1939 New York World’s Fair and the amazing new “telly-vision,” but, as Swell Sammy Sakowitz makes clear, “It’ll never replace radio!”

RKClumpBobAnother new challenge was the use of pantomime. The actors met the challenge of helping the audience (and themselves) “see” a bologna sandwich, a baseball bat, and “the clump”!

And, of course, with a radio play, you have to have sound effects (SFX)! Our SFX actor did an amazing job of playing 5 parts, as a Radio Kid who also played “Mom,” and as Bob the Bologna Man, and Bud the Baseball Slugger, while doing physical SFX with wood and pans and cans and other SFX with her voice into the microphone. She literally wore several hats (and coats).

RKClumpsingThis was the “world debut” of this brand-new play and it features two radio jingles (yes, we added one). It is perfect for elementary-school plays (public or private schools), but it could also easily be done by middle school, junior high, or senior high students. It would really be funny with adults dressing and acting as kids!

Did we find out what “the clump” is?! I think we have to wait for the next show!

Meet “The Radio Kids”!

TheRadioKidsIt’s 1940 and The Radio Kids of Station KTIQ (the smart place to be!) are ready to bring you a number of fun and funny radio plays! The plays are “slightly musical” in that the kids always sing their own radio jingle and sometimes sing jingles for their “sponsors” and occasionally a short song.

FFP’s newest script is ready to go live on the catalog, featuring The Radio Kids in something they really love to do — a mystery! It’s called The Mystery of the Clump in the Night! Stay tuned for more on that, soon!

Another play called A Day with the Bickersons will be ready for our catalog very soon — right after we finish getting all of the A Shakespearean Tale! materials ready to upload.

Doing a radio play is a great challenge for any actor, but especially for young actors. It’s not the same as memorizing lines and moving around the stage as they normally do. The actors actually have to act as they read, holding their script, turning the pages, and delivering their lines into the stand-up microphone while staying in character. They are acting for a “pretend audience” in front of a real audience — so they have to think on several levels. It requires a lot of directed energy.

You’ll find that some great little actors (and maybe some big ones) have serious problems reading from and following a script “on the spot.” They will take some extra attention. Many have learned to compensate with their memories, but they still need to learn to follow each page in some fashion. Figure out who these actors are right away and don’t let them get lost or discouraged. Support them from the onset and they will usually find a way to get the job done.

Radio plays are great fun, and also excellent opportunities to create some interesting and entertaining ways to enhance cultural and historical literacy for both the actors and the audience!

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