What started as a six-week acting class for people older than 50 has grown into a popular live show performed by a crew that reminisces back to the days when radio was a primary source of news and entertainment.

The free show, Radio Daze, has a mix of humorous and serious narratives that recall the actors’ memories of old time radio news broadcasts, commercials and shows like “The Lone Ranger” and “Your Hit Parade.”

“I barely can remember it, but I remember sitting around listening to the radio on Sunday afternoon and one of the announcers said, ‘We interrupt the show to bring you a special bulletin. Pearl Harbor has been bombed,’ and the following day everyone listened to Roosevelt,” said Marilyn Canavan, one of the performers in the show.

The performance will be 7:30 p.m. Friday in Waterville at the Aqua City Actors Theatre on Main Street.

The performers, between the ages of 65 and 83, are part of the six-week class Scripting Our Lives, which is taught at Senior College, a University of Maine at Augusta program for people older than 50.

The class taught by Barbara Helen Baker wasn’t intended to become an amateur theater group, but Pat Onion said when taking the class it wasn’t long before “it was clear we weren’t going to be done in six weeks.”

“It had this very organic kind of growth. We just responded to each others ideas and got fired up by each others memories,” she said. “All of us can remember when the radio was the world.”

Baker said the class has been offered for three years with some of the participants taking the class since it was first offered. She said they have performed at UMA each class in previous years, but this year after the UMA performance, they wanted to take the show on the road.

“When I started this class, I wasn’t sure who we’d all get, but the people who are taking this class are extremely good writers and they’re also very good performers,” she said.

The group is also looking to perform again at UMA and do shows at the Woodlands Senior Living center in Hallowell.

Class participants represent a range of professional backgrounds.

Onion is a retired chairwoman of the English department at Colby College. Canavan was director of the state Ethics Commission and served in the Legislature. Others worked in government, teaching and nursing.

“I’m the only one who has done any acting at all,” Canavan said. “If you want to call it acting. I was in the Legislature.”

Onion said that it’s been fun to have the opportunity through the class to try something creative and different.

“It was just fun having people stimulate your memory. It turns out I really remember ads I heard when I was young,” said Onion. “Maybe advertising is a more powerful force in our psyches than we realized.”

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

[email protected]


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