This week’s Playhouse Perspective blog is written by It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play cast member James Leaming. It’s A Wonderful Life will be at Gulfshore Playhouse November 16th- December 29th.
Say the title It’s A Wonderful Life and most everybody will have a response: a favorite memory of watching it with family and friends or a favorite moment or quote from the movie. Well… almost everybody- there are still quite a few people who have never seen the film, and they’re not just young folks. So first of all it is a gift to share this beautiful story with veteran “Lifers” and newcomers too.
A big part of the joy in telling this version- It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play– is that it requires everyone to play along. The audience is an active part of the telling. We’re all in the studio together and the laughter, applause, sadness and joy is being broadcast along with the ensemble’s telling of the story. Or at least that’s what we agree to believe together because, while the action is live, the “coast to coast broadcast” is imaginary. And everyone’s imagination is required to create the world of a 1946 New York City radio stage and studio- from the live sound effects of glass breaking, doors slamming, phones ringing, cars and trains arriving and departing, to the five actors who create those sound effects while also bringing all the citizens of Bedford Falls (and Pottersville) to life.
But mostly, the film’s storyline still has relevance in our 2019 world. People identify with It’s A Wonderful Life for many reasons. Some to the basic theme of good triumphing over evil; how love, friendship, and community can lift us from the greedy powers that seem to hold us down. Others to the romantic, heartwarming tale of George and Mary. Still others to the honest portrayal of a common man’s pursuit of “the American Dream.” But what I love most about this story is it reminds us that we really do change the world where we touch it; that what may seem like a small or insignificant gesture is actually the point at which we share the walk with others. It’s a sweet inspiration to walk our journey through this life with compassion and gratitude and that we can never take this journey for granted.
It is such a joy to share It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play with Naples.
Thank you Gulfshore Playhouse for the wings!