I've loved this story ever since it was constantly on the air back in the 80s and as a teenager I would watch the movie four or five times a season, annoying my friends by quoting large passages of the screenplay. Now I annoy my kids by quoting large passages of the screenplay and look forward to watching the movie as a family and having a good old fashioned Christmas cry.


I helped fashion some of the first successful "live radio play" versions of this in Chicago back in the early 2000s and was delighted to return to this piece last year at The Gamm. 


So imagine my surprise to discover that this radio version we are doing may be one of my favorite experiences of this story ever. The audio format really pulls me into each scene, I feel like I'm meeting these characters anew and laughing and crying with them afresh. It doesn't at all feel like there are actors spread out across the country speaking into computers by themselves--it feels like a real community. The community of Bedford Falls. 


I think this show has affirmed for me what I love about theatre and this story: community imagination. We can sometimes get together as a community and have a good time (not recently!). And we often imagine on our own. But it's rare that we come together as a group and all imagine the same thing. That's what happens with great theatre--a community comes together and we all believe at the same time--filling in the missing details--and imagining a new world. The community of Bedford Falls does the same thing through George Bailey's stewardship. They imagine a better future where people treat each other well, live in warm homes, and build a caring community. 


It's gratifying to think that when our radio play airs--a new community of listeners throughout New England and perhaps across the country--will take part in this community of imaginers. Together, families and friends will imagine the town of Bedford Falls and hopefully a better future for us all.


Damon Kiely