By: Jillian Wilschke—
Muncie, Indiana — Indiana Public Radio will celebrate the holidays with an original radio drama, “A Few Houses Down: A Christmas Play,” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 14, at Sursa Performance Hall on Ball State University’s campus.
The original drama tells the story of two scattered families brought together by their grandpa, who imagines himself to be all of the characters in a classic holiday novel.
Those who can’t make it to Sursa Hall can listen live at 8 p.m. via Indiana Public Radio. The audience in Sursa will enjoy a pre-show program, including a demonstration by Foley artist Vanessa Theme Ament, Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Endowed Chair of Telecommunications.
Matthew Reeder, director of the play and assistant professor of directing and Shakespeare and online specialist at Ball State, said the audience, both in Sursa and on the radio, can expect a unique experience.
“When directing a radio drama, the primary focus is on what the audience hears,” Reeder said. “Since the audience for a radio drama has no visual cues for information, we have to make sure that important information is clearly communicated through words and sounds only.”
This is Reeder’s second time directing an IPR holiday radio drama. In 2016, he directed “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Before joining Ball State in 2016, he spent 13 years in Chicago stage directing.
IPR radio dramas feature a a mix of university and community actors, a live orchestra under the direction of Michael Elliott, assistant professor of musical theatre and dance, and sound effects by Ament. This drama was written by Michael Kleeberg, assistant professor of English at Ivy Tech Community College.
“The show deals with a topic that is certainly close to my own family,” Reeder said. “My immediate and extended family have dealt with the unique and heartbreaking challenges of dementia on and off for the past decade or more, in various incarnations with various family members. But the play isn’t a tragedy; in fact, it is actually a very heartwarming and loving holiday story. This particular holiday story just has a very difficult challenge at the heart of it.”
Tickets for “A Few Houses Down: A Christmas Play” can be purchased from the Emens Box Office for $5 for youth and $10 for adults. Call Emens Box Office at 765-285-1539 for tickets or visit the box office 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
About Ball State
Founded in 1918 and located in Muncie, Ball State is one of Indiana’s signature universities and an economic driver for the state. Ball State’s nearly 22,000 students come from all over Indiana, the nation, and the world, and its 780-acre campus is large enough to accommodate premier facilities and 19 NCAA Division I sports but small enough to ensure the friendliness, personal attention, and access that are the hallmarks of the University.