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Theater in times of COVID

Mt. Pleasant actors staging Halloween play on the radio

Mt. Pleasant actors are bringing spooky and fun stories to on Halloween with Tales of Fright on Halloween Night, which will air on KILJ. The cast includes

(from top, left to right) Doug Snavely, Mark Hempen, Kadie Johannsen, Becky Morey, Bradly Wood and Kayleigh Septer. (Contributed photo)
Mt. Pleasant actors are bringing spooky and fun stories to on Halloween with Tales of Fright on Halloween Night, which will air on KILJ. The cast includes (from top, left to right) Doug Snavely, Mark Hempen, Kadie Johannsen, Becky Morey, Bradly Wood and Kayleigh Septer. (Contributed photo)
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MT. PLEASANT — The thespians of Mt. Pleasant are showing off their acting chops this spooky season with a radio show, Tales of Fright on Halloween Night.

Six local actors will bring scary and fun Halloween themed stories to local listeners on Oct. 29 and Oct. 31.

Jenny Wilkerson, a new board member of the Mt. Pleasant Community Theatre Association, will be making her directorial debut with the community group.

Wilkerson, who wrote the advertisements and transition pieces as well as chose the stories and poems that will be performed as part of the show, said the show will be a mix of spooky and fun.

“There’s a good wide range. Some stories are creepier than others, and we have some funnier pieces to keep it lighthearted as well,” she said.

Wilkerson, a Halloween enthusiast who calls the holiday her favorite, said she is incredibly excited to be bringing the production to Southeast Iowans.

“I was part of the first radio show and had a blast. I thought what better way to stay involved and do something again. It’s going to be spooky, it’s a full moon on Halloween — I’m really excited for people to hear and enjoy it,” she said.

When she presented the idea to the theater board, Wilkerson already had everything she wanted for the show mapped out and said she was inspired not only by her love of the holiday but also her love for scary movies and stories and the fun fanfare surrounding Halloween.

“I love Halloween. I love the costumes and candy and everything — I’m a little biased,” she said.

In addition to being the first show she is directing under the association, Tales of Fright is the first time Wilkerson is leading a radio show.

“It’s really interesting. Going into auditions is completely different to how they’re done for a live performance,” she said.

“I wasn’t looking at people — I was strictly listening to their voices,” she said.

Although the coronavirus pandemic has prevented the theater association from putting on live productions, Wilkerson said the group is always looking for creative ways to continue bringing art and performances to the community.

“I love that we still have the opportunity to do something and have something to focus on,” she said.

Wilkerson added that even though a radio show is not quite the same as a stage production, it still allows locals to be creative and lose themselves in performance.

“There’s a different kind of pressure. You’re not so caught up in some of the performance aspects like blocking or facial expressions that usually goes into performance. It gives them an opportunity to be really creative with their voices and have a lot of fun with it,” she said.

The director added the community theater group is excited to continue bringing shows to the community and hopes to be back on the stage in the upcoming year.

“We’re happy we get to stay involved and give the community something fun to listen to,” Wilkerson added.

Tales of Fright on Halloween Night will air on Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. and on Oct. 31 at 11 p.m. on KILJ. A livestream of the recording will be available on the radio’s website.