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Ensemble Stage Presents Staged Radio Play of “It’s a Wonderful Life” Nov. 24-25

Ensemble Stage will be hosting a staged radio play of It’s a Wonderful Life on Saturday, Nov. 24, and Sunday, Nov. 25 in the Hahn Auditorium (185 Azalea Cir SE, Banner Elk). The Saturday performance beings at 7 p.m. while the Sunday performance beings at 2 p.m.

The play is based on the 1946 film, It’s a Wonderful Life, which follows the perspective of George Bailey. Bailey is a characteristically generous man who devoted his life to better the lives of those around him; however, through this sacrifice, many of his dreams were relinquished. Bailey contemplates losing his life until his guardian angel, Clarence, visits him and shows him what life would be like without him.

The play will follow a 1940’s style of broadcast radio, allowing the audience to experience authenticity within the performance. Radio plays incorporate a sense of nostalgia, utilizing sound effects to convey different environments and transitions.

“All of the effects on stage are done by foley artists,” Gary Smith, artistic director of Ensemble Stage, said. “Footsteps in the snow, wind, glass shattering and bells ringing — it’s all done live on stage.”

The staged radio play will also implement accompanying visuals.

“There’s going to be projections and theatrical lighting effects that go along with it,” Smith said. “I like to say it’s a 40’s-style radio play on steroids.”

It’s a Wonderful Life is an emotionally-charged radio play with 13 actors portraying 40 different characters, ultimately showcasing the talents’ versatility.

“There’s a lot of work on characters and what their intent is,” Smith said. “A lot of it has to come across with your voice — getting them to change their voices enough to sound like different characters, talking in different rhythms — things like that.”

Ensemble Stage has been performing seasonal holiday-inspired radio plays for the past nine years. This holiday season, the adaptation of It’s a Wonderful Life follows the popular film.

“If you love that show — which seems to be a perennial thing, everyone watches it every year — then this is a neat little way to see it,” Smith said. “It’s a nice way to spend an hour on the weekend after Thanksgiving to get everything set and get yourself rolling on the holiday season.”

Tickets for It’s a Wonderful Life can be purchased online, at the box office (185 Azalea Cir SE, Banner Elk) or via phone at (828) 414-1844.