Radio Plays are a form of classic American Theatre that relies on dialogue, music and sound effects to audibly enhance a story with no visual component. While these types of plays are no longer at the forefront of modern day theatrical experience, I believe these popular plays of the mid-20th century are derivative of an oral storytelling tradition and significant to American entertainment culture. This thesis will discuss the aspects of radio plays that viscerally captured audiences. While this concept can be applied to many popular America radio shows of the time, this thesis will focus on one form ; the black radio play or black situation comedy series. I will deconstruct different genres of radio shows and identify the elements of sound effect, imagery and patterns in speech. This thesis will apply these elements to programs about white family life, (Fibber McGee and The Lone Ranger ) as well as family comedies about black cultural life, (Amos n' Andy, The Martin Lone and Beulah Show and Aunt Jemima). In addition, it will also reveal the business of employing white male actors to voice the parts of black characters and the physical mechanics used to create a “black sound”. As the thesis reveals, black actors gain work and are hired to voice black characters. The focus is on the vocal challenges of staying consistent with the Uncle Remus-style dialect used by their white contemporaries. Part two of this thesis is an analysis of my role as writer in an original radio play/situation comedy set in a black community in the 1950's. Included in this process I will introduce a reflective journal documenting my writing and rehearsal process. Character research will chronicle each character’s relationship to the play, as well as the vocal choices explored.
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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic, Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Weaver, Pascha, "Radio Drama: A "visual Sound" Analysis Of John, George And Drew Baby" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2168.