Radio After Dark members get into their roles during a previous performance. The group performs The Wizard of Oz Friday (May 17) at Nanaimo Centre Stage.

Radio After Dark members get into their roles during a previous performance. The group performs The Wizard of Oz Friday (May 17) at Nanaimo Centre Stage.

Radio show journeys to Oz

NANAIMO - Radio After Dark presents three performances of The Wizard of Oz starting Friday (May 17).

He’s ruff, gruff and a coward.

The Cowardly Lion wants to have the courage to become king of the forest. His life changes when he meets a girl named Dorothy and they follow the yellow brick road to Oz. He finds his inner bravery and confronts his fears.

It’s a character Bill Miner, a member of Radio After Dark, has always wanted to play and now he is during the group’s production of The Wizard of Oz.

“He was such a vaudevillian character,” said Miner. “He’s just a big ham at heart.”

Radio After Dark’s shows harken back to the time when people used to gather around the radio to listen to shows.  Cast members are  recreating those nostalgic radio shows.

Performers won’t be acting onstage but will have to recreate the show using their voices and sound effects.

For the production, Radio After Dark combined the 1950s radio script with the movie script.

Miner said there were about 10 iconic moments in the film that weren’t included in the radio production. The radio show also didn’t have the songs Lions, Tigers and Bears or If I Were King of the Forest. Miner said it was a laborious process to put those scenes in but he felt it wouldn’t have the nostalgic impact if those weren’t included.

Miner said what struck him about the movie as a child was the magical transition to Oz from a black and white world to a colourful otherworldly place.

“It was one of my first experiences to fantastical worldly visions. It just captured my imagination. It was so easy to suspend disbelief and sink into the adventure with them,” said Miner.

Actors involved in the production include Miner, Chris Jans, Kathy McIntyre, Antonio Gradanti and Tina Jones.

Radio After Dark is hosting three performances. The first is at Nanaimo Centre Stage Friday (May 17) and performances at the Gabriola Golf Club Monday (May 20) and Tuesday (May 21). Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and available by calling 250-714-0050, Fascinating Rhythm, Artworks and the Gabriola Golf Club.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com