The Jessamine theater group gives new life to the radio dramas of yesteryear
NICHOLASVILLE – There is no other theater group in central Kentucky like the one performing in the back room of a storefront on Main Street in Nicholasville. This troupe gives a new twist to some old 1940s radio drama scripts.
Four times a year, KCAL Old Time Radio is broadcast live to an audience, although broadcasts were halted in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Director Doug Fain said there were two reasons the group formed seven years ago.
“One, we wanted to give something back to the community and two, we’re all pretty much all hams.”
They are familiar faces in County Jessamine. Fain is the circuit clerk, David Damron is a local banker, and Norman and Denise Cline have both performed in the local theater over the years. But faces don’t matter in this so-called theater of the mind.
Actress Carolyn Threlkeld jokes, “I can play a tall, slim blonde on the radio and no one ever knows I’m not.”
If done right, you should be able to enjoy these shows outside the venue with your eyes closed. But if you are in the audience with your eyes wide open, you are also aware of some secrets.
You can watch the actors take turns doing the sound effects, which can be as easy as pouring water into a mug or banging on a wall. Shaking a sheet of metal sounds like thunder; crumpling bags of cornstarch looks like a person walking in the snow.
His wife, Denise, says the biggest difference between doing a radio drama and a traditional play is obvious. You don’t have to memorize the lines.
Fain says, “We try to make it look like it would have been, but I’m sure if some 40s actors saw us they would probably turn around a few times in their graves. “
The KCAL team must do something right. Like in the 1940s, audiences rally around radio (even though it’s a prop) and when a show ends, many regulars immediately plan to be there for the next episode.
“I don’t know how long this is going to last,” Fain said, “but as long as we can keep selling tickets, we’ll keep playing.”
K-CAL stands for Creative Arts League. The group’s next concert will consist of two comedies from June 25 to 27. For more information or to book tickets, call the box office at (859) 885-5363 where to go to www.kcalotr.com.
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