Taking its talents from the stage to the world of podcasts, the University of Detroit Mercy Theatre Company is getting creative during the pandemic with a new, original audio drama series. On March 19, DMTC presents Hitchcocked: An Audio Serial, a five-episode show that is described as “part comic adventure, part old-time radio serial, and completely modern.”
Based on the films of Alfred Hitchcock, the adventure comedy show takes place in December 1999 and tells the story of two young Detroiters — Alma, an assistant manager at a video store, and Grant, a film fanatic — who find themselves on a cross-country chase to stop a mad bomber. The work is written by playwright Joe Landry. Andrew Papa, an assistant professor of theatre and director of Hitchcocked, connected with Landry last year to see if DMTC could adapt one of his works.
“We kept asking ourselves, ‘How can we continue to be creative and offer our students opportunities to perform and still be safe,’” says Papa in a press release. “…Having to adapt to the pandemic has shown us that we have to rethink what theatre is. And what we’re saying is that it doesn’t have to be this or this. Theatre can be many different things. And it should be.”
The show, which was mostly worked on in a virtual setting, features original music by theatre student Jeremy St. Martin. Meanwhile, Liz Valesano, an assistant professor of theatre at the university, created illustrations of scenes and characters to accompany each episode.
More than 20 cast and crew members worked on the series, including Preston Cornelius, a senior theatre student who plays more than a dozen parts in the production. “It’s been a fun challenge,” Cornelius says in a press release. “I get to play characters I’d probably never be able to play in real life because I’m not old enough or don’t have the right look, but because the audience can’t see me, they get to imagine me based on the voice.”
New episodes of Hitchcocked will be released at 8 p.m. over five consecutive Fridays. Episodes can be accessed at no cost on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. To coincide with the launch of DMTC’s audio drama, a 30-minute behind-the-scenes video will also debut at 7:30 p.m. on March 19.
For more information, visit udmercy.edu.