It’s a Wonderful Play: MHS Thespians’ Annual Fall Performance
Updated: Mar 5, 2019
The Thespian Society of Mishawaka High School will be performing the radio show It’s a Wonderful Life this coming weekend, December 18th through the 20th.
After four extremely successful performances of their children’s show, James and the Giant Peach, the thespians of Mishawaka High School have been diligently working on their newest show, the adaptation of Frank Capra’s classic holiday film, It’s a Wonderful Life. While at first the idea of a radio show may arouse skepticism, three questions must be asked (and answered) about the play itself: “What is a radio show?,” “Why is this adaptation relevant?,” and “What’s the show even about?” As I spoke to Mrs. Abigail Bill, the director of It’s a Wonderful Life and an art teacher at Mishawaka High School, the true tale and task behind performing this show was revealed.
A radio show is a “live broadcast that was incredibly popular during the 1940s,” Mrs. Bill stated. “There were no TVs and people couldn’t afford trips to the movies, so they turned to radio shows for entertainment.” Unlike the thespians’ past plays, this show is special in that the audience isn’t pulled into the visual world of It’s a Wonderful Life, but instead they’re entranced by the twenty-three actors onstage, each of whom contribute to the story with unique voices and characters, just like in the radio shows of the past.
While it may not seem like a big deal to be putting on a radio show, Mrs. Bill firmly believes the contrary. “Radio shows are a lost art,” she exclaimed, “They’re a lost art, and we’re bringing this one back to life.” Mrs. Bill also comments that the show itself is a lot of fun, referencing the ‘commercials’ that take place throughout the show as had been done in actual radio plays, and even mentions Joplin Miller and Moira Ferrer, two MHS students who live-produce the show’s sound effects.
As for the show itself, Mrs. Bill offered a generous summary of the play, stating; “It’s a Wonderful Life is a show, set before the Wall Street Crash of 1929, focusing on the life of average-Joe George Bailey, a passionate, generous, and half-deaf man who contemplates taking his life after a series of devastating events brings him to a point of hopelessness. Wishing that he’d never been born, George Bailey is greeted by an angel, Clarence, who plays a Dickens’ Christmas Carol-esque role in helping George see the purpose in his life again.
Mishawaka High School’s It’s a Wonderful Life premieres this Friday, December 18th at 6:30 p.m. and is followed by a Saturday show at 6:30 p.m., along with a final Sunday matinee showing at 3 p.m. Tickets for the show are $1 for students and children, and $2 for adults. Good luck to the cast and crew as they put on this spectacular show!