VORG #43 Sept-Oct-Nov-Dec 2004
"Radio :30" by Chris Earle
As Voice Over Actors, we’ve all experienced that uneasy feeling when you’re in a session and you can’t hear what they’re saying in the engineer’s booth because the talk-back is closed. Then comes the instant when the talk-back button comes on, only to hear chuckling and laughter or worse. Most of us experience paranoia at that moment – while we’re expected to give a performance. Chris Earle created an award-winning play out of such moments. A Toronto based actor, playwright, and Voice Over veteran, Earle has seen this unique drama played out first hand. Using his own personal VO experiences he created “Radio 30”, the story of RON (played by Earle), a slick radio commercial ‘Announcer’. The play is set entirely in the studio with a never seen, only heard co-star, director/engineer MIKE (actor, Robert Smith).
The Voice Over Resource Guide spoke to Chris Earle following his Opening Night performance of “Radio :30” at the prestigious New York International Fringe Festival. “The whole show went great and to a full house. I couldn’t be more happy.” We hope his play finds a future venue in Los Angeles.
The following is an excerpt from “Radio :30” in which RON participates and bares witnesses to every Voice Over Actors nightmare.
RON: I saw a guy die in here once. Not physically. But I think it was
the kind of mental meltdown that you never really recover from. He
was an older guy. A real old-fashioned “Voice of God” type
of announcer. (Imitating the Voice of God.) “All for just 4.69.” It
was the kind of voice that used to sell everything. A famous voice.
You’ve heard it. Rich. Authoritative. Clients loved him. A total
pro. Very respected. But his type has been out of fashion for quite
awhile. Now it’s the voice of . . . a friend. (Ron stands, adjusts
mike, and acts out the story.) So this guy and I were doing a session
together — this was well after the guy’s heyday, right,
but he’s still doin’ O.K. Still working. So we’re
doin’ this thing. I’m being the quirky guy and he’s
coming in at the end with the big announce. Pretty straightforward — here’s
the product, here’s the price — think how much you’ll
save (as God), “but hurry — or there might not be any left.” And
this young geek from the agency — he’s maybe 12 years old,
but already dressing like a teenager — starts to mess with the
old guy’s read.