Was it the doctor in the dining room? The colonel in the kitchen? Or Miss Brodsky in the bedroom?
On Friday afternoon, the BU community can listen in as eccentric scientist Victor Zwarsky holds a dinner party for five guests to announce his new invention — the modern television set. But over the course of the evening, Zwarsky is murdered, and it’s up to the guests — and WTBU’s listeners — to identify the culprit.
The events will unfold as part of “End Transmission,” a radio drama that will be broadcast on April 28 at 4 p.m. on WTBU, the University’s student radio station. Written, produced, and acted by students, “End Transmission” is intended as both a nod to an earlier media age and an exploration of radio’s modern-day possibilities.
“We’re presenting a murder mystery, but really talking about how media affects people,” says Justin Rivers (CAS’06), who wrote the script and plays Detective Frank Farnsworth in the show. “In the drama, there’s this new technology, and it brings up all the different characters’ attitudes about it.”
Rivers and producer Jeremy Yanofsky (CAS’06) began working on “End Transmission” last summer and started recruiting actors and a composer after finishing the script in January. Neither had created a radio drama before, and they discovered that the medium required them to make some unusual casting choices.
“The voices have to have texture,” Rivers says. “If you can’t see the people, you can’t differentiate them through costume or appearance. The actors have to sound like the character they’re portraying and be different enough that you can tell who’s speaking.”
While the mystery will be revealed over the course of the broadcast, listeners are invited to call in with their opinion of both the murderer’s identity and his or her motive. Prizes for solving the puzzle include a gift certificate to Nuggets, a PS2 video game, and coupons for Hollywood Video.
“I hope this opens people up to the notion that they can do dramatic readings, poetry, or prose over the radio,” says Rivers. “It’s an easy, do-it-yourself medium.”
“End Transmission” can be heard at www.wtburadio.org, on BUTV channel 6, and at 89.3 FM and 640 AM.