MARSHALL - When it comes to recreating the feel of an old-time radio program, it takes more than just reading a script.
The Marshall Area Stage Company is presenting the radio drama "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" at 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Oct. 29-30 at Charter Hall 217 at Southwest Minnesota State University and 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31 at the Marshall-Lyon County Library.
MASC has done a radio show for the last few years, starting with "The Invisible Man." Director Paula Nemes said she introduced the genre to the theater company because it's one she enjoys.
Photo by Cindy Votruba
Jennifer Kohler, left, as Lettie Acker and Ross Holmberg as Ichabod Crane, rehearse a scene from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”
"I love the old-time radio shows," Nemes said.
And in order to pull off the format and style of those old-time radio shows like "The Shadow" "Sherlock Holmes" or "Ellery Queen," actors have to rely on creating their characters by mainly using their voice. For example, SMSU student Jennifer Kohler, who portrays Lettie Acker, has to go between Lettie as a young schoolgirl and Lettie as a 70-year-old woman.
"I've always been involved with stage acting," Kohler said. "It's a lot less about what you can put on your face than you can with your voice."
As the older version of Lettie, Kohler said she uses a certain inflection in her voice.
"I just go more gravelly, let that natural growl in your voice out to become older," Kohler said.
"Be unique" is what radio show newcomer Jon Chalmers of Tracy said he does when doing his role for "Sleepy Hollow."
"My challenge is I do different townspeople and I can't step on the other actors' (parts)," Chalmers said.
Mike VanKeulen and his two sons, Alex and Daniel are also in the show. Mike VanKeulen said radio drama is about doing wonders with the voice.
"In a way it's like you lose one of your senses and the other ones kick in," Mike VanKeulen said.
The voice creates that picture in your mind as a listener, Mike VanKeulen said.
As Jacob Acker in "Sleepy Hollow," 10-year-old Daniel VanKeulen said he's been told to slow down with reciting his lines.
Maureen Keimig has to develop a slight Dutch accent for her character, Mistress Van Wyck. She's been listening to tapes of Dutch accents as well as going to the International Dialects of English Archive website and listening to her German-born mother speak.
"I don't want it to be overpowering so the audience won't know what I'm saying," Keimig said about the accent.
Besides making the actors' voices "radio ready," trying to create sound effects by using different kinds of items can be challenging, Nemes said.
"Lots of trial and error," Nemes said. "There are some sounds we are using voices for, like the horse."