Selected radio dramas produced by Hassberry Theatre Company from the 2005 Big Apple Short Radio Drama Festival on WNYE FM 91.5.
Coming in August, brand new short radio dramas. Stay tuned.
Reviewed by: Taki Telonidis for PRX (April 26, 2007)
”Delightful. That?s the first word that comes to mind after hearing this installment of a BBC series about adolescence. Initially I was doubtful that a 20-minute radio story would be able to bring focus to such a broad topic, but I was pleasantly surprised throughout this piece. It unfolds in a very logical manner, beginning with an engaging introduction, then a series of topics illuminated by the personal experiences of teens (as well as of the reporter, now an adult) plus a sprinkling of experts. The narration is cleverly written and delivered with sparkle and humor. He relates very well to the young people he interviews, and in the course of the story takes us all over the world?from the UK, to Zambia, to America, to India & Bangladesh. Music and sound are used effectively to create a sense of place and pacing. This piece prompts me to ask questions of myself, and to appreciate how much Westerners could learn from other cultures, particularly traditional cultures, who seem to do a better job of preparing their children for adulthood. I could go on, but best to listen for yourself.”
Producer: Rebecca Sheir (07:56)
“Absolutely loved listening to this story told in the “When Harry Met Sally” style.
I kept envisioning this couple sitting on the couch talking to the camera about their experience of having their wedding day pushed up because of military demands.
There are appropriate and fun music interludes to help this story along and it only makes it cuter.
I only ask that we hear a follow-up of this charming coulple when Greg returns from his duty in Baghdad.”
Producer: Teresa Goff (5 mins)
“According to a report by the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research, the number of Canadians living with HIV/AIDS increased 40 per cent between 1996 and 2002.
One group is over-represented in those statistics: aboriginal people.
First Nations people are at increased risk for HIV infections for several reasons. Social, economic, and behavioural factors such as poverty, substance use, including injection drug use, sexually transmitted diseases, and limited access to health services, have increased their vulnerability.
Jason Peacemaker tells his own personal story about HIV and addiction”
Producer: Claudia Cragg (20:00)
“Some strong emotion surfaces in this straightforward interview with exiled Palestinian poet Ghada Kanafani. Born in Lebanon in 1948 – the year creation of the state of Israel displaced her family; grew up reading Arabic poetry which brought tears to her eyes; wrote her first poem in 1967 – “the end of everything,” she says.
“I’m not the one who’s suffering,” she says. But her deep sighs and moving description of entire lives spent in refugee camps tell another story. As does the heartfelt reading of her poem at the end of the interview.
The first time I listened to this with my professional radio ears, I was put off by a shakey start and off-miked questions which sometimes interrupted the poet. But I was drawn into her story and when I listened again, these technical flaws seemed less important. I would still prefer a more artful framework for this thoughtful poet’s words and ideas. But they come through in the interview anyway, so perhaps I’m being too critical.
Might be a strong topical offering for April Poetry Month.”
Producer: Radio Netherlands (29:30)
“You can’t go too far wrong with this material: Seamus Heaney’s closely-mic’d voice in conversation–a voice that takes hold of words with an unusually strong grip before letting them go. Seamus Heaney reading his own achingly beautiful, soul-disturbing poems in a reverberating hall in Rotterdam. Stir in atmospheric music and intelligent narration by the interviewer. I suppose you could go wrong with any material, but the folks at Radio Netherlands, as usual, get it right. This is not just any old piece about any old poet. Heaney’s talk and his poetry are not *about* poetry but about the world–the world of spit and dust and cast iron but also of falling Twin Towers and our “virtual city.” One of the most important poets of our time, an Irishman who came of age writing about the Troubles as “time out of joint” in his own small country, now reflects on a whole world out of joint. A world of “deep, deep, deep unease” where “war is waged almost casually.”
Producer: Tanya Ott-Fulmore
“This is a music-rich studio piece offering something a little different for Black History Month. Tanya Ott is a good interviewer who keeps the piece moving between conversation and performance.
Tanya and her guests, Ansel Strickland and musician Sam Pointer, have a friendly and informative conversation as the listeners get a chance to sample the music of Alabama bluesman Ed Bell.
Well recorded and nicely edited. There were apparently some risque lyrics in one of the musical pieces (can you imagine that in a blues piece?) but they seem to have been edited out.
This would work nicely in a locally-produced magazine show or even as a drop-in during a AAA or eclectic music show. It’s a good alternative to the historical profiles and informational pieces that crop up at this time of the year.”
Producer: A World of Possibilities
Review by David Swatling for PRX (Feb. 4, 2007)
“There’s an abundance of fascinating information in this first of a series of programs about Islam and the West. The first half-hour focuses primarily on the history of Islam and the second half puts that information in perspective in post 9/11 America. The five experts interviewed by the very well prepared host are all excellent speakers. The most time is spent with an Iranian author who was particularly engaging and thought-provoking. This is a polished magazine-style program dealing with an important topic in an intelligent way. If the rest of the series maintains this quality, it’s definately worth sharing with your listeners.”
Tales From the Morgue: Can’t Stand the Heat (20:00)
producer: Mark Sawyer
Reviewed by Joseph Dougherty for PRX ( Feb. 2, 2007)
“If there’s a radio equivalent to the gooey indulgence of macaroni-and-cheese, this is it. Gleefully derivative of everything from “Lights Out” to “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” this audio evocation of those youth destroying EC horror comics, the ones Stephen King used to hide under the mattress, is pure guilty pleasure. Uncontaminated by seriousness and higher purpose, produced with a careful eye for B-movie details, the piece is unrepentant balderdash and should be welcomed at any time of the programming day. “But, Jasper, you’re a scientist. Surely you don’t believe in this nonsense.” “
Radio Lab, Show 203: Morality
Review by Chris Chambers for PRX (Jan 21, 2007)
“This is excellent radio. It’s thought-provoking, amusing and, most importantly, brilliantly produced. The use of music is perfect and the innovative way the two presenters interact within each feature has the effect of drawing you in futher to the discussion. This is a great example of how quite simple features can become transformed using imaginative production. There was superb editing work in there.
I give five stars as sparingly as Howard Hughes gave interviews but I have no hesitation in recommending this and no doubt all the other Radio Lab programmes too.”