Friday to mark special opening night for Magenta Theater


Cast and crew excited to perform Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play in front of audiences

The magic is back this week at Magenta Theater in downtown Vancouver.

Cast and crew are finalizing details for Friday’s opening night of Alfred Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play. It is the first of five productions for the 2022 season.

Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play opens Friday, the first of five productions scheduled for this year as Magenta Theater in downtown Vancouver celebrates the return of in-person, live performances

“Going through the process, trying to learn your lines, figuring out the blocking, and things keep going wrong. Everybody’s in a panic until opening night, and then the magic happens,” actress KC Cooper said. “That is so appealing to me, knowing it’s very chaotic but eventually it’s going to be magical.”

“The hardest six weeks of my life were when we had to delay this show,” said Jason Santos, the director. “We were a week-and-a-half from opening. A lot of work, a lot of time, a lot of effort into putting this show on. We’re all excited to have an audience actually see it.”

The Hitchcock radio play was originally scheduled for last spring, a year into the pandemic, when there was hope that live entertainment would be able to make a comeback. The show was pushed back until the fall of 2021, then pushed again until the winter, and finally pushed to this spring.

Now, it is just about Showtime.

The theater group did a staged reading of this play four years ago.

“It was a one-night only, special thing,” said Gina George, the artistic director for Magenta. “People loved it. I think people just love seeing a different aspect of theater.”

David Ian, KC Cooper, Gina George, and Jason Santos are members of the cast and crew for Magenta Theater’s production of Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play. Opening night is Friday, and Magenta is proud to be bringing back a full season of live theater back to downtown Vancouver. Photo by Paul Valencia
David Ian, KC Cooper, Gina George, and Jason Santos are members of the cast and crew for Magenta Theater’s production of Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play. Opening night is Friday, and Magenta is proud to be bringing back a full season of live theater back to downtown Vancouver. Photo by Paul Valencia

A couple years later, the cast and crew came up with the idea to do it again, but make it a full play,  with sets and sound. 

“It’s as if you are looking through the wall, into a radio station, as the radio actors are coming in for the day and doing a live production of a radio show,” Santos explained.

Back in the day of live radio plays, the voice actors would dress in character and act out the scenes. 

“We’re trying to give people a viewpoint into that,” Santos said.

The audience will also get to “see” with their ears. Santos said 90 percent of the sound effects that will be used for the play will be coming from on stage, from a team of Foley artists.

David Ian is the chief Foley artist — in charge of sound effects.

“A lot of the magic of doing the sound effects is actually not the sound itself, but watching it,” Ian said. “People love watching coconuts being knocked together and making a sound.”

The Magenta cast and crew, such as so many in the industry, did their best to stay active with their craft during the pandemic, even without in-person productions. Cooper said she read scripts with actors she had never met before on Zoom, just to try to stay sharp. 

“It’s been hard on people who use this as a creative outlet,” Cooper said. “We are ready. We want to start now.”

“For two years, we had a lot of Zoom meetings,” Ian recalled. “A performance needs an audience. You just can’t replace physically going into a theater. Sitting down and … characters come in, the lights, the sound is around you, you get transformed. That’s hard to do when you are in your living room looking at a screen.”

Santos said each performance is different. Actors have to learn when to pause, to allow the audience to laugh, for example. Some audiences might laugh longer than others.
“It’s a back-and-forth,” Santos said.

But the big news for Magenta, a full season is simply …back.

Vintage Hitchcock opens Friday and will be performed April 1-3, April 8-10, and April 14-16. For showtimes and ticket information, go to the Magenta website at: www.magentatheater.com

After Hitchcock, the theater will be preparing for the rest of the year.

June: Same Time, Next Year

August: Don Quixote, de La Center. A worldwide premier from a local playwright, this is loosely based on Don Quixote de la Mancha, but set in contemporary La Center. 

October: Murder on the Orient Express

December: Christmas Belles

The four cast and crew members interviewed for this story all have their favorite shows. 

  • Jason Santos, director, caught the acting bug when he performed in a middle school performance of Hansel and Gretel. Later, while living near New York, he watched the Broadway production of Into the Woods, and he saw actors on stage who he had seen on TV. He appreciated how much they loved the stage. Santos said his favorite play is Noises Off, a play about plays.
  • David Ian, chief Foley artist, said his family always had a skit night. “I was in my own world as a kid to begin with, so that was just a natural thing,” Ian said.  His favorite show is The Fantasticks, “a small cast show that can really hit you,” Ian said. “In the hands of a good theater company, it can do some wonderful things.”
  • Gina George, artistic director at Magenta Theater, grew up in San Jose, Calif., and when she was 11 she was a sugar plum fairy in a production of The Nutcracker, on stage with the San Jose Dance Theater. At 14, she turned to acting. She was hired as the artistic director at Magenta two years ago. George said she is “obsessed” with The Play That Goes Wrong, a British farce about things going wrong in a play. “It hits home because something always goes wrong,” she said with a laugh.
  • Back when they were youngsters, KC Cooper and her sister Kim used to write plays and charge their neighbor friends 5 cents to watch. Cooper loves Neil Simon plays, but her favorite play that she has been involved in is Over the River and Through the Woods. She also shared a favorite quote she has heard in regard to the theater: “You do movies to get famous, TV to get rich, and theater to get good.” Cooper will be playing Marian Carpenter in Vintage Hitchcock, and she is ready to return to performing in front of an audience. “The magic happens for me every time,” Cooper said.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Receive comment notifications
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
anonymous
anonymous
3 months ago

Too bad you have to show proof of vaccine to go.