United Kingdom F.I.N.E. a Radio Play: International podcast recording (click here), edited in London, England, July 2020. Reviewed on 23.10.2020. (RJW)
Producer/Writer/Director – William Tippery
Sound Design/Original Music – Tyler Dumoulin
Graphic Artwork – Ryan Nuñez
Acting Moderator – Shelby Wyminga
Kaitlyn, Student – Sarah Joanou
Samael, New Student – William Tippery
Dr Devyn, Counsellor – Sharon Crandall
Brooke, school friend to Kaitlyn – Ali Watson
Taylor, school friend to Kaitlyn – Blythe Jandoo
Father to Kaitlyn – Victor James Wisehart
Mrs Olsen, teacher – Angela Konrad
Radio plays are hardly a new concept, yet here they serve a fresh means of communication and are in vogue with BBC Sounds. Here the medium has been reinvigorated to combat the Arts ‘lockdown’ and provide an opportunity to present a modern audience with material and music to heighten the emotions and use effects to add realism. The piece involves seven artists from four countries who work together in the present lockdown situation, which the world now finds itself in. Led by director, William Tippery, they have not let the pandemic stand in their way.
This is a highly original plot by Tippery with specially composed atmospheric music by Dumoulin. A powerful opening of anticipation (punctuated with heart beats) is provided alongside appropriate musical links throughout the piece. The play concerns the interaction between a student and her counsellor as well as meaningful chat with a new student, Samael. She finds that she can speak freely in the privacy of counsellor, Devyn’s, office where each has to decide on how far they can go in balancing honesty with personal privacy. How much should Kaitlyn tell? How honest should Dr Devyn be in giving advice that will not offend nor be too intrusive? The interaction that takes place holds a fascination for the listener. The variety of emotions expressed by both characters interweaves with coloured subtlety and intrigue that build to a crescendo to successfully hold the audience’s attention, and it does. A flashback to a conversation between Kaitlyn and her father brings to our notice the matter of divorce of her parents that has led to her insecurity, often the reason for broken homes in the real world. The message to a pained Kaitlyn is to take personal responsibility to free herself from her present environment.
Velvety-toned Sharon Crandall as the Counsellor is ideal for the part and she comes across as a truly patient and sympathetic person. Taylor, a girl friend of Kaitlyn at first seems happy with an intimate friendship during a sleep over yet later becomes full of guilt and embarrassment and unfairly decides to throw a blame of molestation on Kaitlyn. Taylor acts with conviction in her part. Kaitlyn is driven to eventual suicide that she could have avoided had she taken control and responsibility for her emotions and present condition.
The piece provides a powerful dialogue for mental health and teen suicide issues and offers a resource to support those in need of short or long-term mental health solutions through partnering with people trained to help. Social restrictions during Covid-19 have enhanced the vulnerability of insecure people and mental health carries a high level of importance today. Because of this the play makes a fitting statement.
Accomplished and confident singer and performer William Tippery possesses much potential that should be nurtured both in front and behind the microphone. There is sincerity in his quiet authority that has the listener believing that his character of Samael is a real person plucked from any school. ‘Shame; it’s that weight in your stomach that makes you feel sick and exposed. Shame is when you hate who you are and is a much stronger feeling than Guilt’.
Little in Samael’s delivery suggests his American origins yet some of the other members of the cast convince the listener that the piece is concerned with life in an American school. The use of sound effects is well judged; there is a particularly nice audio transition from a school’s bustling background to a stunned silence to denote a flashback to a previous conversation between Kaitlyn and her father.
It is hoped that this gifted team can present the piece with a public performance once the pandemic is over and continue to work together on other projects, for they project a myriad of stereotyped characters found in society. Throughout, Tyler Dumoulin’s excellent mood music works well and never swamps delivery of the lines.
We wish William Tippery’s group well with their endeavours.
Raymond J Walker