Union library hosts radio version of ‘A Christmas Carol’

UNION, NJ — It was a production of Dickens’ famous, “A Christmas Carol,” like no other at the Union Public Library.

The Friends of the Union Public Library, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to raise funds to support the library and community with programs and various projects, along with a generous donation from Investors Bank, sponsored the production, held at the library Dec. 3.

Raconteur Radio stages theatrical presentations of vintage radio plays, classic works of literature and pop culture parodies for live audiences. The productions are staged around and amplified by an art-deco “fat boy” microphone and feature theatrical lighting, period costumes, vintage commercials, golden-age radio equipment and extensive sound effects.

It was the production company’s second performance at the library.
Karen Jason, Adult Programming and Outreach librarian at the Union Library, said that she first learned about the Raconteur Radio production company when she saw one of their shows. “It’s not a visual show, it’s a radio show, and they are standing in front of you and using equipment,” Jason told LocalSource in a phone call.
Jason said that the company adapts the scripts to suit a visual radio show-style venue. “There are sound effects and visual effects,” said Jason. “It’s really fun.”

Some of the shows performed include “War of the Worlds,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Casablanca,” “Harry Potter,” and “The Maltese Falcon.”

Another popular feature of the production is the 20-minute talk-back and Q-and-A directly following the performance.

Although most younger audience members are not familiar with the old radio shows of the golden age of radio such as “The Shadow,” “The Green Hornet” and “The Lone Ranger,” Jason said that younger audiences have been delighted by the vintage performances. “The younger people can appreciate it,” said Jason. “It’s really different.”

About 26 people attended Saturday’s hour-long performance of the popular Christmas story, and it was a hit. “The show was fabulous,” said Jason. “We had 26 people attend. The audience loved the fog machine.”
After the performance, the director spent a half an hour answering questions from the audience.

Doris D’Elia, a member of the Friends of the Union Public Library, said the organization supports programs such as the Summer Reading Programs, which were expanded this past summer to include teen and adult reading programs, as well as the children’s program. The organization also helps sponsor passes for various area museums such as The Intrepid and Grounds for Sculpture, and recently assisted with the recent purchase of the Krayon Kiosk as well as iPads to be installed at the Vauxhall branch library.