WILLIMANTIC, CT (11/16/2017) Written by Jordan Corey
It’s no secret that with the winter season fast approaching, becoming engrossed in holiday stress can be all too easy. What better way to decompress than with a night out at a show?
On Dec. 2, Eastern Connecticut State University is hosting the Chatterbox Players, a group of local residents who will present a live old-time radio performance of “The Magic Christmas Tree” and “The Gift of the Magi.” The event – free and open to the public – takes place in Webb Hall 110 at 6 p.m.
“I started The Chatterbox Players to bring radio history to life,” said director Christine Guarnieri ’03. The role of the radio in American culture has been significant since commercial radio broadcasting began in 1920. As the first device to allow for mass communication, radio brought news and entertainment into the comfort of people’s homes. What we now refer to as the old-time radio era, or the Golden Age of Radio, was undoubtedly an exciting age for many.
Guarnieri hopes to recreate the intimate atmosphere of radio. “This is my way of giving people a chance to step away from the negative thoughts and feelings that bombard us at work, on the news or through social media,” she said, “… a way to find a little inner peace through laughter, memories and a sense of community.”
For the upcoming Chatterbox Players performance, actors from the Windham Theatre Guild, Eastern professors, listeners of Guarnieri’s long-running radio show and some of her grandchildren will read from the 1949 “Our Miss Brooks” script of “The Magic Christmas Tree” and the classic O. Henry story “The Gift of the Magi.” Musical bridges will be played by Eastern student Erick Smith, an advanced saxophone player.
“Both of these shows create a powerful image of giving, but on completely different levels,” Guarnieri stated. The preparation process has required dedicated efforts from all sides, shown through the careful consideration of music and sound effects, the capturing of the right voices and the hours spent rehearsing.
Doors open for the family-friendly event at 5:30 p.m. “Many times in the past, members of my audience have commented, ‘I just closed my eyes and listened, and I felt I was somewhere else in time.’ That, to me, is the highest compliment,” concluded Guarnieri.
Eastern is the state of Connecticut’s public liberal arts university, serving more than 5,400 students annually at its Willimantic campus and satellite locations. In addition to attracting students from 163 of Connecticut’s 169 towns, Eastern also draws students from 20 other states and 29 other countries. A residential campus offering 39 majors and 65 minors, Eastern offers students a strong liberal art foundation grounded in an array of applied learning opportunities. Eastern has been awarded “Green Campus” status by the Princeton Review seven years in a row. For more information, visit www.easternct.edu.
It is the policy of Eastern Connecticut State University to ensure equal access to its events. If you are an individual with a disability and will need accommodations for this event, please contact the Office of University Relations at (860) 465-5735.