review by janet i. martineau
photo courtesy of SVSU
So, just for the fun of it, I decided to count how many cues the sound effects man had to contend with Wednesday night when Saginaw Valley State University opened its short run of the classic "Miracle on 34th Street," done in 1940s radio play style.
69 cues, people. In one hour. Door opening and closing. Courtroom gavel. Phone ringing and receiver slammed down. Feet walking and newspapers rustling. A punch in the snout and photoflashes. Dinner dishes rattling. Chimes. Endless bags of mail going plop. And more.
Yep, no doubt about it Blake Mazur was the busiest of the cast members In this fourth annual SVSU production of a 1940s radio show -- keeping on task while his character continually poured libations from a flask and sometimes mouthed or mimed the action taking place before him.
Great fun, these mock radio shows, as the casts present a show within a show -- seriously acting their parts in the play's storyline and engaging in all sorts of out-of-character shenanigans since with radio shows the audience never were able to see what the actors were doing so they could do just about anything.
Thus we had doddering Lexee Longwell and extremely extremely nervous Dakotah Myers who were just fine when they stood up at the microphone as their characters. Others munched on snacks, drank pop, talked silently among themselves.
17 students were involved in this production, some playing just one role and others two or three roles. It never fails to amuse when a full-bodied adult stands up to the microphone and out comes a squeaky little child voice. Co-directors/play adapters Ric Roberts and Dave Rzeszutek kept all 17 busy always doing something somewhere somehow.
The commercials are always fun in these productions. This year there was the annual tribute to downtown Saginaw's Savoy restaurant, of course. But also advertised was 7-Up, Campbell's soup, and the long-gone Morley Brothers in downtown Saginaw.
The story line had the owners of Macy's and Gimbels in New York City doing battle, plenty of word play, and parts for the co-directors as well. Adding dramatic emphasis was Kevin Simons on organ.
And 1940s period dress was the icing on the cake.
When we say short run, "Miracle" is presented only twice. The second performance is at 7:30pm Thursday, Dec. 5.