By Michelle Kinseyâ
MUNCIE, Ind. â Think “The Office” meets “A Christmas Carol”, narrated in the style of “This American Life”.
That’s how Jennifer Blackmer describes this year’s IPR radio drama, which airs live at 8 p.m. on December 17 from Ball State University’s Sursa Performance Hall. And she should know. She wrote it down.
Blackmer is a professor in the Department of Theater and Dance and director of the Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry, both at Ball State University. And she’s no stranger to the IPR radio drama.
“I have been involved in radio drama since I first directed” Miracle On 34 “e Street, âwhich was in 2013,â she said. âSince that year, I get involved every year in various capacities, whether as a director or producer. But this is the first year that I’ve written the play itself. Please don’t blame me.
Ah yes, the pressure is there. But this award-winning writer is excited about the challenge.
âI am a playwright; it’s what I do and what I teach, and what I love, âshe said. âBut the irony is that I haven’t had a chance to write for Radio Drama yet because I’ve been busy with other writing projects. Unfortunately, these opportunities were not available to me during the pandemic – I lost a lot, in fact, as theaters across the country canceled their seasons and had varying degrees of success in reopening.
âWhen I heard that we were going to be producing the radio drama in person again this year, I jumped at the chance to write. It has been a wonderful ray of hope amidst so much loss and uncertainty. Plus, I got to try my hand at writing a wacky comedy! I made myself laugh, but I don’t know if it really matters.
She hopes the audience laughs too. âPlease laugh. Like, a lot, âshe joked.
âSeriously, the story is about the importance of your community and recognizes the many and varied contributions of those around you,â she continued. “It’s about how we define success in a high-stakes, fast-paced business world, versus what is really important – empathy, love, compassion and finding joy in those around you. We tell meaningful stories this time of year for a reason, and it’s important to me that we reflect on how we bring the holiday spirit with us even when times are tough and the pressures are great. .
Angie Rapp, radio drama producer and IPR marketing manager, agreed.
âAfter a one-year hiatus due to a pandemic, I am delighted that we have the chance to bring the IPR radio drama back on stage and on the air for our audience,â she said. “This original work by Jen Blackmer is going to find the perfect combination of humor and warmth that we all need right now and I’m so excited to see it perform in front of an audience.”
And with an EmmyÂ® Award-winning âDream Teamâ, she added. “Being able to reunite Blackmer, director Matt Reeder, music director Michael Elliott, host Chris Flook – with the addition of Stan Sollars on Foley – is such a treat.”
Tickets to attend the show (please be seated before 7:30 p.m.) are $ 15 for general admission and $ 5 for students / children, on sale now at the College of Fine Arts box office located at Sursa Hall. Buy online at indianapublicradio.org/community, by phone at (765) 285-8749, or in person, Monday to Friday, noon to 5 p.m., or from one hour before the performance at Sursa Hall.
Masks are compulsory in the Sursa room.
If you miss the live broadcast, the IPR Radio Drama will air on Ball State PBS at 1 p.m. on December 25 and 4 p.m. on December 25 on Indiana Public Radio.
âThis American Carolâ is presented by LifeStream Services and Indiana Michigan Power. Major support is provided by Michelle Walker Thrivent Financial, Yorktown Public Library and The Meeks Mortuary and Crematory. And sponsored by Mark’s Service Center and Morrison Woods Health Campus.