Thespian radio show, “Theatre on the Air,” now in its second season


Brandon Lawrence

New episodes of the radio show are posted weekly on Lawrence’s Youtube channel Drive Home Reviews. Each video contains a slideshow with information pertaining to the original performance of the script.

Season two of “Theatre on the Air” continues to provide thespians with the excitement of performance through 1930s and ‘40s radio scripts. The online radio show opens up new possibilities for both actors and audiences alike.  

The show puts out their 25-30 minute episodes every week on theatre teacher Brandon Lawrence’s youtube channel, “Drive Home Reviews.” The cast uses actual scripts of varying genres from 1930’s and ‘40’s radio shows and records them live on Microsoft Teams. Lawrence takes charge of the editing process, cutting out recording mistakes and adding in sound effects. In the past year, the show has become more efficient in their production.

“The entire process has been streamlined,” Lawrence said. “When we first started of course, we were just guessing and figuring out how to best do things. Now, I have a definite system for what needs to happen and when.”

In the past year, participation in the show has increased. The cancelation of the theatre department’s spring and fall productions led many of White Station’s drama students to search for a new theatrical outlet. 

“The cast size has changed,” Lawrence said. “We started out with a core group of about seven to ten people, and with the school year back in session, we’ve had more volunteers, more folks joining in. The main thing that’s changed is the kind of constant rotation of the cast.”

Despite the large cast, Lawrence hopes to use the last few months of the school year to provide senior cast members with the performance opportunities they have missed.

“I have a very large senior class, as it relates to theatre,” Lawrence said. “So what’s gonna be happening probably starting with our next episode is I want to start showcasing seniors a little more, getting them their sort-of star vehicle, so they have one last hurrah before they graduate.”

Over the past year, cast members have adapted to this new form of performance and found that it carries unique advantages. The online format of the show allows for the fixing of mistakes and easy access to episodes.

“I think the biggest advantage is really that we can share it and watch it as many times over as we want,” Blake Shirley (11) said. “Generally with theatre you don’t have that luxury. You just get three shows and that’s it, but with this you can watch it as many times as you want and always go back to it.”

The radio show format introduces students to new aspects of performance, previously unseen in live theatre. Performers are limited to using only their voice to convey emotion, leading many to consider the possibility of voice acting in their theatrical future.

“Before I even entered stage theatre, I thought that being a voice actor would be cool,”Shirley  said. “Already having that in the back of my head, I guess it’s opened up to me what it feels like, a bit of the process of being a voice actor. By no means is it super professional or even close to what it’s like, because we do it in a ‘live’ format, but I guess it’s kind of prepared me for whatever kind of voice acting future I want to have.”

Despite the restrictions this new medium brings, the theatre department continues to grow from this experience. When all students can safely return to the building, Lawrence plans to continue to run the show in the background as they focus on standard projects.

“We’ve got at least five or six more episodes planned out,” Lawrence said. We’re trying to hit some of the genres that we haven’t explored too much. We try to get an episode out every week, so keep watching and thanks to everybody who listens.”