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Talking radio drama at Clowes

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The Intergalactic Nemesis features projected comic book panels coupled with live sound effects and dialogue.
  • The Intergalactic Nemesis features projected comic book panels coupled with live sound effects and dialogue.

Will Gould is the kind of actor who can make you see - as in perceive, imagine, feel - more than what's actually transpiring before your eyes on stage and/or in a classroom. On Jan. 14 at Clowes, as part of the Clowes Conversations series of live interviews pertaining to Clowes programs, Gould let us in on why he can gift us with those magical moments. Gould's talk ties into the Jan. 25 return trip to Clowes of the The Intergalactic Nemesis, a stage show described as a "live-action graphic novel" that takes cues from radio drama of yore.

Gould's overview of radio from the 1920s-50s was replete with his vocalization of favorite characters from programs that touched him. We learned from him that when radio networks connected select cities, a national audience sharing a similar experience at a given time and date created a special sense of unity.

Radio drama began in 1927 with adaptations of favorite short stories and original thrillers including Escape, The Shadow, Suspense, The Whistler. Along with live from symphony halls and opera houses came vaudeville comedians in situational skits and comic book characters in voiced action.

Hunched over sets listeners could cheer heroes and hiss villains and marvel at the sound effects. Gould says he was "hooked" when his father introduced him to the BIG Little books of the 50s and to the radio broadcasts: "Buck Rogers of the 25th Century. Wow, I'm enthused. I must find Buck Rogers somewhere; The Lone Ranger on the Texas frontier with a whole new mythology; The Green Hornet; Superman. That's what I want to do. That's the epitome of an acting career. But I was totally in the wrong generation."

With the advent of television, radio plays largely disappeared. Gould graduated from Goodman in Chicago and became a puppeteer.

Nevertheless, Gould's "love of theatre of the imagination" informs his acting and teaching careers and fuels his hobby. He eagerly shared his extensive collection of radio programs, comics and BIG Little books.

And he got us enthused about the forthcoming Zygonian domination of Clowes Hall on Jan. 25 when two live-action graphic novels will take over the stage: Book I-Target Earth at 3 p.m,; Book II-Robot Planet Rising at 8 p.m. A 6 p.m. dinner will us to meet the cast and crew in person. Tickets for each event or a special price for all three are available at Clowes Hall box office or 800-982-2787.

James Cramer, coordinator of "Clowes Hall at 50" special events, invites NUVO readers who missed any free Conversation to go to cloweshall.org/events/by-genre/spoken-word, and click on the Clowes Conversation of your choice.

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