Welcome to our Featured Play Spotlight. Dead Men Don’t Do Radio Plays by Allison Williams is a collection of two plays that can be performed separately or combined to make a full evening of theatre.
Steve Powell is radio star Frank Grayson, Private Eye. But in real life he’s not as suave, doesn’t have a way with the ladies and has a habit of narrating his life. But that doesn’t stop crimes from falling into his life. Can little Stevie Palowski step into a PI’s shoes and get the dame?
Dead men may not do radio plays, but you definitely should introduce this genre to your students. Put together a SFX crew and bring the radio sounds to life. All the effects are itemized, including suggestions.
Why did we publish this play?
Dead Men Don’t Do Radio Plays shows how you can present a radio play as it was done back in the day with practical sound effects. Put together a SFX crew and bring the radio to life. All the effects used in Dead Men are itemized, including suggestions. What an awesome project to introduce to your students!
Let’s hear from the author!
1. Why did you write this play?
I wrote these plays because I’d been reading all the old Perry Mason mysteries, and I wanted to create radio scripts with that same “last-minute surprise witness!” element of the old novels. And those books are so much fun – women keep sliding out of cars with “a dangerous flash of a shapely knee” and it’s so neat to see how our social mores have changed.
2. Describe the theme in one or two sentences.
That it’s important to be yourself, but it can help you succeed to try on being someone else, too.
3. What’s the most important visual for you in this play?
That the sound effects team are part of the main action. It’s so much fun for the audience to watch them create the atmosphere.
4. If you could give one piece of advice for those producing the play, what would it be?
Go ahead and use the paper scripts. It’s what radio players would have done, and it means you don’t have to give your cast the “You can’t call line any more!” speech.
5. Why is this play great for student performers?
Because it’s “radio,” students can focus on character voices, and not worry too much about their bodies. Actors of course eventually develop both those elements, but for young actors, it’s a great way to really thoroughly get comfortable with a character voice before putting it all together in a play with more movement.
Not right for your group right now? Search our play catalogue to find one that your performers will love!
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