Radio Drama Revival at Husson University Delivers Real-World Skills and Holiday Chills

Radio Drama Revival at Husson University Delivers Real-World Skills and Holiday Chills

Voice actors at the 4th annual live Halloween radio broadcast of “Tales of Mystery & Imagination” included from left to right Aidan Pasha as Prince Prospero, Eric Gordon as the Lord Chamberlain, Bob Daisey as the Announcer and Erica Bickford as the Lady Angelina. Gabriel Clarke and Zackary Hewins (background) provided the sound effects as part of the “Masque of the Red Death” portion of the broadcast. Microphones from Neumann and Shure, as well as Yamaha and Avid consoles, helped bring the drama to life.

In the spirit of Orson Welles’ 1938 Halloween “War of the Worlds” broadcast, Husson University performed a live radio drama on the stage of the Gracie Theatre on October 30th.

Billed as “Tales of Mystery and Imagination,” the cast of Husson University students and local area residents treated the audience to adaptations of two classic horror stories by Edgar Allan Poe. During the 30-minute performance at the Gracie Theatre, the audience watched as both actors and sound effect foley artists worked together to create a terrifying audio environment reminiscent of the dark ages. Those not in attendance listened to this live radio drama on WHSN 89.3 FM.“This is our 4th annual live Halloween radio broadcast,” said Ken Stack, director of entertainment production at the New England School of Communication at Husson University. “Our broadcast brings our students and audience back to the golden days of radio when 'The Shadow', 'Lights Out' and the 'Inner Sanctum' ruled the airwaves. In order to fully appreciate radio broadcasting today, you have to understand its origins. Besides being entertaining, this annual live broadcast serves as a valuable educational experience for the students in our broadcast communications program.”

Dressed as a radio performer from the 1940’s, Gabriel Clarke, a student at Husson University’s New England School of Communications narrates “The Pit and the Pendulum.”

The Maine Association of Broadcasters, (MAB) has recognized the annual live Halloween radio broadcast for the past three consecutive years. Entered into MAB’s annual awards competition, “Tales of Mystery and Imagination” first distinguished itself in 2010 by winning an honorable mention in the “Locally Produced Program” category. In 2011, the radio program received first place in the same category. Last year, the program won second place. In addition, the 2011 edition of the broadcast won a first place award from the Broadcast Education Association.

In reflecting on the success of the live radio show, Stack remarked, “The quality and consistency of “Tales of Mystery and Imagination” is a tribute to both the students and staff at the New England School of Communication at Husson University."

This first of last week's stories was Edgar Alan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death.” It tells the tale of a ruler, Prince Prospero, who welds the doors of his castle shut to seal out his subjects who are dying from a terrible disease. And while no one can get in, it also means, no one can leave. Within his walls, he and his guests celebrate their good fortune until suddenly; an unexpected visitor makes an appearance. In the “Pit and the Pendulum,” the audience heard the story of a man sentenced to death by a panel of black-robed, pale-faced judges during the infamous Spanish Inquisition.

Equipment used In this special event and broadcast:
• Front of House console : Yamaha LS9
• Broadcast console: Avid Venue Profile
• Microphones — Piano : Shure SM 81; Spoken word: Shure 55 SH; Sound effect mics: 2 - Shure SM 44, 2 - Neumann KSM105, 2 - Neumann KSM 137

Experience the radio performance here.

Completed in October of 2009, the 500-seat theater, The Gracie, is Husson University's center for the fine and performing arts. In addition, The Gracie also serves as a learning platform for students from the New England School of Communications in digital audio, sound mixing, set design and construction, lighting, acting and electronics.

Eric B. Gordon is the Executive Director for Marketing and Communications at Husson University.