Medicine Hat Musical Theatre putting on radio play version of It’s a Wonderful Life

Medicine Hat Musical Theatre is putting on a Christmas classic this Holiday Season.

The group is now rehearsing for winter showings of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and ticket sales will begin at the beginning of next month.

“We’re really looking forward to putting on this live radio play,” said MHMT’s Lyn Weisgerber. “We’ve had plans but we’ve had to push them back for musicals, so we’re really hoping we get the chance to go through with this radio play.”

Weisgerber says the radio play is an adaptation of a popular Holiday film.

“It’s a classic movie that people watch around Christmas time,” she said. “The play people will be seeing reads the script to the movie in a 1940s radio station.

“It’s a really fun way of doing this.”

MHMT is preparing for a live audience and is hoping to be able to sell 50 tickets to each showing. People will need to wear a mask at the theatre, but can take it off to eat and drink.

“Safety is always the top priority for us,” said Weisgerber. “The unique thing about the radio play we’re doing is that we only have five characters.

“Our cast are playing Hollywood actors, who are reading the script to a radio audience.

“Since we only have five people, one person can play 13 or 14 different people – it’s a lot of fun.”

There will be five actors on set and a foley artist making sound effects during the play.

Rehearsals are happening now for the show, and two casts have been brought on to play it safe.

“We don’t want anyone to get sick,” said Weisgerber. “We will have everyone trained to jump from one cast to the next, just in case.”

Tickets will go on sale on Nov. 1 on MHMT’s website. Last-minute ticket sales are due to uncertainty around COVID-19.

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“We don’t want everyone to pay, and then have to lock down again,” said Weisgerber.

Opening night is Nov. 26. The show will run Thursday, Friday and Saturday for three weeks in a row.

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Do Musical Instruments Spread the Coronavirus?

As with pretty much every other activity right now, having the quintet gather outdoors is a great idea. If any neighbors complain, explain that the backyard practices are part of a global effort to keep them from dying. If anyone happens to be infected, any virus that emanates in the heat of performance will likely fade into the sky and disperse like the music itself. Indoors, as any parent of a child who’s learning an instrument knows, everything is trapped and can echo around the room indefinitely.

Some instruments do seem to pose more risk than others. Obviously, string instruments can be played without even opening your mouth, but it sounds like your daughter’s quintet is too far along to take kindly to a suggestion that they all learn new instruments. Because the virus is sent into the air by talking, coughing, and singing—any forcible exhalation of air through the pharynx—playing a woodwind or brass instrument would logically pose a risk. These instruments are effectively designed to amplify what’s coming out of our mouths and to carry the sound. A 2011 study of vuvuzelas (the long, straight plastic horns that people blow at soccer games) found that their capacity for spreading infections could be tremendous. Compared with shouting, blowing through the horn sent several hundred times more particles into the air.

Thankfully for everyone, kids don’t train for vuvuzela quintets. Woodwind and brass instruments send air through a maze of twists and turns, and buttons create turbulent airflow patterns that don’t simply shoot everything out in a piercing plume. Breathing into a convoluted contraption such as a saxophone or a tuba, then, actually serves as a sort of filter that collects the larger droplets you might be spewing out. This is familiar to anyone who has emptied a spit valve and seen what pours out.

The real question is the potential danger of smaller, aerosolized particles that can blast out of an instrument and linger in the air. In May, the Vienna Philharmonic reported that it had conducted a study of the aerosols from various instruments. Researchers hooked tubes up to musicians’ noses, and as they played, they inhaled an aerosolized salt solution that could be visualized when it was exhaled. The researchers mapped the clouds of air around musicians while they were playing and reported that none of the instruments sent respiratory droplets beyond the commonly recommended radius of six feet. In most cases, no significant amount of the aerosolized salt particles were detectable coming out the end of the wind and brass instruments. Flutes were the worst offender, passing a “large amount” of aerosol in a cloud covering two and a half feet.

In July, another study in Germany offered findings and hope similar to those from Vienna. But neither study measured actual coronavirus particles, and the overall evidence is still thin. Doctors at the University of Iowa have expressed concern about the rigor of both findings, given

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