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Auditions open for ‘A Christmas Carol’ radio play

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The Central Alabama Performing Arts Guild is moving forward with its annual radio play.

“A Christmas Carol” has been chosen for this year.

Anyone interested in participating can sign up for an audition time. Auditions will be scheduled for Sept. 11-13.

This year will look a little different with auditions and recording of the play being done remotely instead of in person.

“This is going to be a very special production for us because this is our first 2020 production,” CAPA Guild president Mary Schiermann said. “I am so proud of our group for what we are doing already (virtual puppetry group), but opening the door to do a radio play … and being able to pull it off right now, right here in the midst of this chaos has brought such hope and joy to my heart, and I know it bringing that same emotional need to others.”

Leadership is looking to fill 19 roles for speaking parts for a variety of ages for both males and female characters.

“Inclusiveness is very important to us,” Mary Schiermann said. “And that’s one of the things we really like about ‘A Christmas Carol.’ There are 19 parts for adult men and women, teenagers and young children. We look for projects that let us involve people of all ages and all stages.”

Short speaking roles and major roles will be available.

“We are looking for just the right voices,” producer and Guild member Mike Schiermann said. “I’m not going to ask anyone to do a phony British accent.”

The production is looking for people who can convey emotion in their voice.

“I am not looking for anyone to do anything crazy with their own voice,” Mike Schiermann said. “Cast members will be selected based on how suitable their natural speaking voice is for the part.”

Those interested in auditioning should email capaguild@gmail.com for a copy of the script and to schedule an audition time.

Auditions are being done via the video conferencing platform Zoom for a panel of judges or over the phone for those without internet access. Rehearsals will also be held on the Zoom platform. The guild hopes to hold two read throughs with as many cast members as possible prior to recording.

The script is special to the group because it was used in the 2014 radio play it performed, and Schiermann (aka Scott Michaels) was a part of a production using the same script while working for a radio station in Florida 30 years ago.

The Guild had produced the radio play after Mike Schiermann found a recording of the play he had been a part of at the radio station.

“It is a very abbreviated version of Dickens’s story,” Mike Schiermann said. “I think it is very effective. It certainly tells the story of the Christmas Carol, but I think it also does a really good job of bringing forth the message of what the Christmas spirit is all about.”

The 2014 group enjoyed the production and the CAPA Guild leaders hope to have fun with it again.

“This production is going to sound different than the productions we have done in the past because … people are actually going to record their parts over the phone,” Mike Schiermann said.

Equipment in Schiermann’s recording studio will allow him to record the caller with clarity intact. Each part will be recorded separately.

“It’s going to be kind of a historical document,” Mike Schiermann said. “It’s radio theater in the midst of a pandemic.”

The radio play is usually aired on WKLF, and the Guild expects it will be again. There is also possibility that it will be aired on other regional station. It will also be published on the Guild’s YouTube and website capaguild.org. Past radio plays can also be listened to on these platforms.