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N-P grad resurrects Marley in radio ‘Christmas Carol’

N-P grad resurrects Marley in radio ‘Christmas Carol’

BVU freshman takes part in college radio retelling

A classic holiday tale will have a new twist, thanks to students and faculty at Buena Vista University.

Starting Dec. 7, BVU will air the first of three parts of an audio-only production of “A Christmas Carol” on KBVU FM 97.5, featuring Nashua-Plainfield High School graduate Chance Johnson, ‘15, as Marley the ghost.

“My character just starts everything,” Johnson said of the first Christmas spirit to visit protagonist Ebenezer Scrooge.

The production is Johnson’s first voice acting role, although the BVU freshman was involved in theater since high school. The adaptation was produced and directed by Dr. Andrea Frantz, associate professor of digital media, and Dr. Bethany Larson, associate professor of theatre, with sound design by Matt Tudor.

Recording for the program ended in October, with sound designers stitching together voices and scenes along with sound effects. Preparation was very different from Johnson’s previous experiences, he added.

“it is in no way similar to rehearsing for a big production,” Johnson said. “You don’t have to memorize it, you can show up and read it in front of the microphone six or seven times, and they choose one of those times as the best one.”

The voice actors, mostly students with a few children, faculty and staff members, also didn’t rehearse the same way that a film or live actor would need to.

It also took focus away from many common parts of acting –– facial expressions, body language, visual cues –– and relied entirely on speech patterns and sound for the story. “One or two times I had to meet with the other members of that scene, and we would read through it. (How we would) emphasize certain points of a sentence, how we speak, how we pause,” Johnson said.

“All you’re hearing is voices and sound effects. As an actor you have to imagine what’s going on as well. How would your character react if it was actually happening in front of you? How would you move around?”

The role gave Johnson a chance to strengthen public speaking skills and take part in the theater department, even though his major is in chemistry. Johnson also played a role in BVU’s fall play “Blithe Spirit”.

“It’s an easy way to get involved in theater. If you can explain things well, you’re good at public speaking, it’s a fun way to be in theater without being onstage or in front of a camera,” he said. “I would definitely do it again.

“A Christmas Carol” will be aired on KBVU: The Edge, FM 97.5 in three parts on Dec. 7, 8 and 9 at 7 p.m., and then again in full, on Christmas Eve at 7 p.m. A livestream is available at http://web.bvu.edu/ organizations/kbvu/.

By Kate Hayden [email protected]

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