Members of the drama elective do an acting exercise based on the phrase "do as I say, not as I do" during their elective period on Nov. 8. (Photo by Elise Sommerhaug)

Due to lack of cast members, high school drama rehearses new radio play

This year’s high school drama play includes time traveling, a mad scientist and people from the future.

Due to issues with the cast, the high school play was recently changed from “Blithe Spirit” by Noel Coward to H. G. Wells’s “The Time Machine.”

According to senior Brandy Riziki, because a cast member “opted out” and the drama class wasn’t able to find a replacement in time, drama director Brian Frishman had to find a new play.

According to Frishman, there are not many good radio plays due to the fact that most of them don’t have a written script. “The Time Machine” is an exception.

Riziki said that in the play, the main character, scientist John, time travels and comes back to the present to tell the story of his adventures. Some of the characters believe his tales of traveling through time, but others don’t.

Riziki plays the role of Philby, one of the characters who does believe him.

“I am one of the characters who believes him,” Riziki said. “I start and end the story because I explain why I believe the story of time traveling.”

Senior Josh Friedman plays the main character of the story, the time traveler.

Sophomore Charlie Acquisto, who is a new member of the cast, plays the role of two characters by the names of Mimu and James.

“Mimu is a human from the future, and (in this play) people from the future act younger than normal people, so Mimu has the brain capacity of a 10-year-old,” Acquisto said.

“I also play James, who is a guy with an (European) accent, and I’m still figuring out what accent to give him.

“He is just (a bystander) when John talks about his adventures with the time machine.”

In addition to Riziki, Friedman and Acquisto, the cast includes junior Aaron Graves, sophomore Carter Joost, freshman Kali Wells and eighth grader Caroline Kramer.

Unlike most other plays, however, “The Time Machine” is a radio play.

Riziki said that in a radio play, the actors are not required to memorize the script due to the immensity of monologues.

“(It’s) like on radios, where people talk for a long time,” Riziki said. “There are a lot of speeches and a lot of paragraphs, so we don’t have to memorize it.”

Riziki further explained that since there is less memorization involved in the play, high school drama rehearses only once a week, on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Friedman explained that in a radio play, no motion is involved.

“We don’t have the liberty of making facial expressions or moving around a lot,” Friedman said. “It hinders what you can do in a way, but it also allows you to bring more emotion into your voice.

“It allows you to bring more life into a performance, not by moving around, but in a different way.”

Frishman agreed with Friedman.

“The actors aren’t using their bodies for the most part,” Frishman said. “It’s a great exercise in learning how to communicate emotion, intensity and suspense with your voice only, as opposed to your entire body.”

Acquisto shares the same views with the two.

“Aside from (the play) not being onstage, I think the idea of a radio play is kind of cool,” Acquisto said. “You (combine) the sounds, voices and effects, play it through a speaker and it plays out in your head in a unique way.

“(Unlike a normal play,) you are not fixed to one view. Everybody could have different views on what the characters look like and what the future looks like – it’s your version of (the play), not the (original) version.”

—By Ming Zhu

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