Liberty University’s Department of Theatre Arts is in the process of producing its second radio drama that will showcase the voices of Liberty students and professors. It will be aired on VictoryFM (88.3) Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 2 at 8 p.m.
“The Eye,” written by Theatre Arts alumnus Carson Burkett, is a modern telling of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.” While the story is family-friendly and will be aired on Christian radio stations, it is a nerve-racking, heart-racing ghost story not for the faint of heart.
“This is Edgar Allen Poe,” Kara Faraldi, an actress in the drama and a Liberty junior, said. “Listen with friends around you because it’s going to take you on a ride.”
In contrast to this dark story, last year, the department produced a light-hearted comedic radio drama called “OCD.” According to producer, director and editor David Steele, the show was well-received, and listeners and students alike are asking for more dramas.
“All the experience our students get is onstage,” Steele said. “But there is a huge market out there for voice actors that do phone messaging like Siri, … (video game) animations and cartoons for TV. It is a wide market that not a lot of actors can tap into because they lack the experience.”
Voice acting is a unique form of theater because it relies solely on what is heard. Live theater and television allow actors to express themselves with gestures and facial expressions, as well as establish a setting with lights, set pieces and other visuals. Radio drama is entirely dependent on sound.
“Actors that come from the stage want to emote with their hands and facial expressions,” Steele said, “But you have to remember that people are only hearing (in this drama), so it requires complete honesty in your voice.”
The actors realize the challenges of voice acting as well.
“With radio, your character is not portrayed in any other way except through the voice,” freshman actor Bryan Bulebush said. “So you have to be clear.”
According to Steele, “The Eye” took a month of rehearsals, two days of recording and two weeks of constant editing.
“I have a passion for theater and directing, but it takes a lot of time,” Steele said. “Sometimes I have to take work home (to do more editing). It exceeds the 40-hours-a-week job, but it’s something I enjoy doing and I want to do more of.”
Despite the long hours, the work was a lot of fun, according to the actors. They especially enjoyed using the recording studios at VictoryFM.
“I loved working with all the equipment,” Faraldi said. “We went into the recording booths, put headphones on and there were these big microphones we talked into. It was all so much fun.”
As a storyteller, Bulebush said he loved finding the moral of the story in learning “why that person struggled, who that person struggled with and, in the grand scheme of things, what that person learned from it.”
According to Bulebush, “The Eye” expresses the importance of letting people in and sharing fears so that those fears do not become a constant source of worry.
“In the story, the main character (faces a lot of challenges),” Bulebush said. “But he had no one to run to, and his thoughts turned very morbid. It’s a story about the wear on your boundaries when you don’t rely on God.”
For more information, go to the Liberty’s Theatre Department website.