DMACC Theatre Invites Audience Members to Enjoy its Summer 2020 Play on a Different Kind of Stage in Response to COVID-19

Posted 7/27/2020

​​World premiere of the radio play ‘Willy Beau Dilly’ is being released as a four-part streaming series​

  • Director Carl Lindberg introduced students to a different performance medium this summer in response to COVID-19.

  • Radio play allows for 100 percent social distancing for both actors and audience members during the current pandemic.

  • Part 1 of the four-part play is now streaming online and at no cost on the DMACC theatre website, as well as on a variety of apps. ​​

DMACC Ankeny T​heatre, a flagship program within the Simon Estes School of Fine Arts at DMACC, hasn't let the current pandemic get in the way of its annual summer play production, thanks to a creative approach.

DMACC Theatre's world-premiere performance of the radio play “Willy Beau Dilly" by Jayme McGhan will be delivered as a four-part streaming series over the next four weeks, with DMACC Ankeny Campus Theatre Instructor and Program Chair Carl Lindberg and DMACC students embracing a different kind of performance stage that comes with built-in social distancing for its actors and audience members alike.

Part I of the play is now streaming for free on the DMACC Theatre website, as well as on a variety of online platforms and apps, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and Stitcher under the play's title. The remaining three parts of the play will be released, one per week, over the next three weeks.

“Once it started becoming obvious that DMACC would be primarily online this summer, I started looking into things we could do to keep providing our community with theatre," Lindberg said. “We canceled our scheduled Shakespeare production and decided to move in an entirely new direction. A radio play felt like something we could do with 100 percent social distancing that could still be entertaining and an educational experience for our students."

“Willy Beau Dilly" was written by Jayme McGhan, whom Lindberg first met when he was a fine arts graduate student at Western Illinois University and McGhan had just graduated from the Master of Fine Arts playwriting program at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV).

“This is the second one of his plays I've produced, though the other was well before my time at DMACC," Lindberg said. “Jayme is a good friend now."

Lindberg said “Willy Beau Dilly" was written as a stage play set in 1894 in St. Paul, Minn., and the dialogue has a great quality for radio.

“Jayme and I only had to make minor tweaks to make it work," Lindberg said.

DMACC students had the opportunity to virtually audition for the play via Zoom earlier this summer. Once the cast was set, students began rehearsing together online and even enjoyed a rehearsal drop-in from McGhan in mid-July.

Katy Crowley of Ankeny, a second-year DMACC Liberal Arts student, is one of the six actors in the cast. The performance marks her first return to acting in a play since elementary school. 

“It's the first time I've ever had a speaking role, though," said Crowley, who was born and raised in West Des Moines.

She said rehearsing during a pandemic was challenging, with two-hour cast rehearsals over Zoom testing the cast's online endurance.

“We originally planned on meeting for four hours a day, but cut it down to two hours after our first long rehearsal," Crowley said.

She also said doing a radio play comes with both advantages and disadvantages, and was a unique experience.

​“I didn't have to memorize the script!" said Crowley, sharing her appreciation for that rare occurrence in theater. “But since we didn't have a live audience, we missed out on the adrenaline, nerves and excitement of show night. It was a nice way to ease into show business, but I look forward to performing in front of a live audience in the future."

Crowley said she was also thankful for Krister Strandskov of Des Moines, who edited the recordings, cutting out and correcting any audio where the cast members may have fumbled a line. He also added all of the sound effects and music that audience members will hear in the play.

“Even though a radio play was an adjustment for all of us, everyone was super patient and flexible with each other," Crowley said. “Thanks to our fantastic team and cast, we created something we are proud of and had fun in the process."

Lindberg said a brief synopsis, voiced by DMACC student cast member and play narrator Audrey Krukow of Urbandale, will introduce each of the play's four parts.

“'Willy Beau Dilly' is a charming piece, and hopefully it allows audience members to take a break from everything we're dealing with in our day-to-day lives," Lindberg said. “We're also excited to potentially expand on this creative approach during the fall semester as well."

The cast of “Willy Beau Dilly" includes:

  • NARRATOR - Audrey Krukow of Urbandale
  • MARLA IVES - Katy Crowley of Ankeny
  • CELIA RHODES - Egla Birmingham Hassan of Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
  • WILLY BEAU DILLY - Austin Klimpel of Ankeny
  • RUPERT IVES - Codey Gillespie of Indianola
  • NORMAN COOLEY - Darren Kim of Waukee

The creative team includes:

  • DIRECTOR - Carl Lindberg
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR - Lo Stone of Des Moines
  • TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, SOUND DESIGN, SOUND EDITOR - Krister Strandskov of Des Moines
  • PRODUCTION MANAGER - Rachel Trimble of Dubuque
  • STAGE MANAGER - Jessica Holland of Des Moines

For more information on the DMACC Ankeny Campus Theatre program, visit​ www.dmacc.edu/theatre. You can also follow the DMACC Ankeny Theatre on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.


 

For more information, contact: Carl Lindberg, (515) 965-7031, celindberg@dmacc.edu

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