Monday, January 2, 2012

Volunteer Thespians Perform Shakespeare's 'Measure for Measure' on Sun Sounds of Arizona

In the 1940’s Americans gathered around their radios for family entertainment. Then the visually-stimulating television era came along, relegating once-popular radio dramas to the closets and hard drives of specialty collectors—with one exception: our nationwide community of people with visual impairments.

On January 7, Sun Sounds of Arizona, a radio service for the visually impaired, will present its newest Radio Theater selection, Shakespeare’s "Measure for Measure,"produced entirely by a volunteer cast and crew and directed by Valley theater critic M.V. Moorhead.

Director M.V. Moorhead
leads cast of "Measure for Measure."
"I’ve loved this play for years," says Moorhead, who directed a full production of it at Southwest Shakespeare Company in 2000. Several cast members from that production have reprised their roles for this hour-long Sun Sounds Radio Theater version.
 Director Moorhead is no stranger to Sun Sounds Radio Theater, this being his sixth directorial production for the radio reading service. Except for the narration, this production was recorded in a three-hour session in late August at the Sun Sounds studios in Tempe. In many cases the actors were cold-reading—for instance, veteran actor Tom Blackwood learned that he would be playing the lead role of the Duke that afternoon. "Due to skill both of the cast and the deft and patient engineers, our "guerilla radio theatre" production managed to come together," says Moorhead. 

While classed as one of Shakespeare’s comedies, Measure for Measure concerns a high government official who attempts to extort sexual favors from a young woman, in return for which, he says, he will spare the woman’s brother from execution—certainly a dramatic and gripping premise, but hardly the sort of plot usually associated with comedy.

The cast and crew of Sun Sounds Radio Theater’s Measure for Measure includes Jenn Banda (Isabella), Ezra Bemis (Servant), Tom Blackwood (Duke Vincentio), Meriam Conyers (Sister Francesca), David Gofstein (Escalus/The Provost), Owen Kerr (Lucio/Friar Peter/Messenger), Douglas Loynd (Pompey/Claudio), Grace Moorhead (Julietta), M.V. Moorhead (Angelo/Narration), Julie Peterson (Mistress Overdone), Susan St. John (Mariana) and volunteer engineers Mike McFadden and Roy Weinberg.

"Measure for Measure" will broadcast at 8 p.m. For those who would like to tune in, visit www.sunsounds.org/listen for online access.

Sun Sounds of Arizona is a radio reading and information access service for people who cannot read print due to a disability. A public service of Rio Salado College, Sun Sounds and 500 volunteers across the state provide information access free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using radio, cable TV systems, telephone and the internet. To apply for service, donate, or volunteer, see www.sunsounds.org.

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