It’s All Just Drama, Right? Audio Dramas Take the Stage at Camelot Theatre
News flash: not all drama is the same. Camelot Theatre in Talent is embracing the drama of dialogue—complete with music and sound effects—in their audio drama series. The next installment is War of the Worlds, running July 23 – 25. And, while the whole series will be aired on Jefferson Public Radio, audio dramas are not to be confused with radio dramas.
“It is like the difference between a TV show [radio drama] and a movie,” clarifies Jonathan Pratt, Resident Sound and Video Designer at Camelot Theatre. “In a TV show, you are constrained by content and time; with movies, you have more time and freedom.”
That said, Pratt seeks to truly embrace the genre. Specifically with War of the Worlds, the setting for Camelot’s audio drama will be in the late 1890s, when the piece was originally written by H.G. Wells. Numerous adaptations have spanned the years, most notably with the 1938 radio broadcast (which some took to be a report of a true alien invasion) and the 1953 theatrical film (which made the story in the present-day of 1953).
“It is always interesting in science fiction, which is a forward-thinking drama, when you are looking to the past,” says Pratt. “War of the Worlds narration intro is usually cut out because of all its narration, but we get to keep it.”
Pratt, who handles 160 shows per year at Camelot (he says he practically lives there and keeps a blanket in his booth), has been “fascinated by doing these live,” and has written, directed, and composed all the shows in the series.
“I like to think of myself as a very economical director,” he says. “I like to use my time wisely; only 13 days from start to finish.”
And while the preparation for such a production is minimal compared to full acting performances, the art form lends itself to challenges, also due to the fact that the performances are recorded live.
“The action is suggested, not acted out,” says Pratt. “You don’t have the visuals.”
He adds that audio dramas are excellent for beginning actors who won’t have to memorize their lines or aging actors who are having memory problems. “It is like an open book test; the notes are right in front of you.”
Great success with The Curios Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde last Halloween and Jane Eyre this past April is leading into the previously mentioned War of the Worlds this summer and Dracula this October.
And, in addition to being aired on Jefferson Public Radio, all the productions will be available on a new podstreaming platform coming in early June, found through the Apple, Google, Spotify and more favorite podcast platforms under “Camelot Theatre.”
Pratt says he is always thinking of new ways to present these audio dramas.
“What does the audience know? What are you telling them? How do I make it different? I don’t just want to remount what has been done 100 times,” he says.
War of the Worlds