It’s a Wonderful play

Ignition Theatre has added some Christmas cheer with its novel approach to a holiday film classic.

The cast of Ignition Theatre’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life rehearse a scene from the play at the Matchbox Theatre in Red Deer.

Ignition Theatre has added some Christmas cheer with its novel approach to a holiday film classic.

The Red Deer theatre company debuted It’s a Wonderful Life: The Live Radio Drama at The Matchbox on Thursday night, just two weeks before millions of TV viewers will watch the beloved 1946 film starring Jimmy Stewart.

Under the direction of Albertus Koett, the dozen actors re-enacted this movie as a 1940’s live radio drama. And this two-hour stage adaptation by Tony Palmero worked well.

A few minutes before the actual performance begins, the audience has a real sense they’re in the middle of a radio set.

The actors are gabbing amongst each other, having drinks of water, and shortly after, the live sound engineer tells them there’s only a few minutes left to air time.

The actors take their positions at several mikes positioned on the stage. A red light turns on, indicating they are now on the air. The announcer comes on to give a run-down of the main characters and who is playing them.

The story revolves around a small-town boy named George Bailey who grows up dreaming of adventure and travel, but ends up some financial misfortune and wants to end his life on Christmas Eve.

A Guardian angel named Clarence helps to bring clarity to George by showing what life would be like if he hadn’t been born.

What makes this version unique is that the actors are moving very little on stage. They largely stay put around their mikes.

Rather than relying on body movement to entertain the audience, the actors used their voices, facial expressions and occasionally their hands in order to convey the tale of a man down on his luck.

Ryan Mattila was very convincing in the lead role of George Bailey. He gave a solid range of emotions from frustration to despair.

When he declares to God and Clarence how much he wants to live again, there was such raw emotion coming from him, it was hard not to get teary-eyed.

Sabrina Notte also gave a solid performance as Bailey’s sweet wife Mary.

Other noteworthy performances included Michael Sutherland, playing Uncle Billy and several other characters, and Paul Boultbee as the grouchy slumlord, Mr. Potter.

All in all, the entire cast was strong throughout.

Dustin Clark, acting as the radio station’s live sound engineer, provided some comedy relief to the show when he sang a few jingles of actual Red Deer sponsors. And the ambience of the 1940s was conveyed well through the stage set, done by Kalon McClarty, and the clothing design created by Stephanie Ridge and Caitlyn Thoreson.

It’s a Wonderful Life: The Live Radio Drama would make a great early Christmas present .

It runs until Dec. 19 at The Matchbox. Tickets are $22 ($18 for students and seniors).

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Full house: Alberta UCP members sworn in at legislature, joining NDP members

THE CANADIAN PRESS EDMONTON — It’s officially a full house at the… Continue reading

Almost 5,000 people flee northern Alberta fire

HIGH LEVEL, Alta. — A northern Alberta town and a nearby First… Continue reading

Two kids from U.S. rescued after spending night alone on B.C. mountain

THE CANADIAN PRESS COQUITLAM, B.C. — After getting lost hiking and spending… Continue reading

‘We feel for those children’: Community saddened by hit and run that killed mother of five in central Alberta

“What about the children?” That is a Sunchild First Nation resident’s thought… Continue reading

Central Alberta MLAs get to work

Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce look forward to working with new MLAs

WATCH: First Red Deer Market of 2019

The event is held every Saturday in the Servus Arena parking lot

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Hiker and his dog lived off the land while lost in Alaska

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — A hiker and his dog ate berries and moss… Continue reading

“Fun Guy” Kawhi the latest example of NBA branding

TORONTO — Kawhi Leonard’s likeness looks down from some 10 storeys high… Continue reading

Tarantino is back in Cannes, 25 years after ‘Pulp Fiction’

CANNES, France — Twenty-five years after premiering “Pulp Fiction” in Cannes, Quentin… Continue reading

Gordon Lightfoot on starring in a ‘legacy’ documentary about himself

TORONTO — Gordon Lightfoot didn’t need much convincing when filmmakers approached him… Continue reading

Burger King to expand sales of new meatless burger to Europe

COPENHAGEN — Burger King will launch in Sweden a version of its… Continue reading

Food insecurity grew in Nunavut after federal program to fight hunger: study

Newly published research has concluded that food insecurity in Nunavut grew after… Continue reading

Preliminary phase of Lionel Desmond inquiry begins in Nova Scotia

GUYSBOROUGH, N.S. — An inquiry begins its investigation today into the death… Continue reading

Most Read