Radio theater is a concept that is used in some South American countries as a synonym for radio soap opera. It is a novel that is transmitted through broadcasting.
The radio drama, therefore, is made up of words, sound effects and music that allow you to tell a story. Unlike the novels that are broadcast on television, in this case the public must imagine the events since, obviously, the radio does not have images.
As it happens in other forms of art, the radio theater benefits from this limitation, since the actors and sound engineers must make a greater effort to communicate the stories, which can result in a more intense experience than that offered by television or cinema, especially thanks to the intimacy that exists between the radio and the listener.
Whether or not we believe that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, it is undeniable that films should not take the time to describe a character’s sadness, or the intensity of the wind, verbatim, as a writer should do in the lines that make up your creations. In the same way, the participants of a radio drama production need to ensure that the absence of visual images does not negatively affect the content or the understanding of the public, and that means that it cannot be compared with literature or cinema, although trends have managed to displace the latter.
In the first half of twentieth century, radio plays were among the most popular entertainment alternatives in the world. However, the invention of the TV It made him lose space and, little by little, the radio plays began to disappear. Currently, a very low percentage of the programming radio is occupied by radio plays.
There are those who differentiate between radio plays and Radio novels, noting that radio soap operas are series that are broadcast by chapter, while radio plays are equivalent to works of theater (that begin and end in the same broadcast, without interruptions).
One of the most famous radio plays of the history was issued on October 30, 1938, when the American Orson Welles adapted the novel “War of the Worlds”, from HG Wells. Although, at the beginning it was clarified that it was a work of fiction, listeners who tuned in to the radio drama with the broadcast already started thought that, indeed, the Earth was being attacked by aliens. In this way, a popular agitation and the emergency services collapsed at the calls of the people.
Although at present the radio drama does not enjoy the same popularity than other forms of entertainment, thanks to the work of those people who continue to believe in the potential of counting a story without visual images it still retains its space in the radio world. Let’s see some examples of the presence of radio drama in the 21st century:
* In 2003 and 2004, the Argentine producer and writer Alberto Migré collaborated with the resurgence of radio drama in his country through a Program which was broadcast on Sunday nights, in a cycle that he called «Permission to imagine«. One of the strong points of his proposal was the inclusion of actors and actresses of great stature;
* Also in Argentina, the renowned director and actress Nora Massi is in charge of a radio drama series that is broadcast on Radio Nacional;
* in Chile, “The Sinister Doctor Mortis»Is a clear example of a radio drama series that was kept alive over several decades, from the 1940s to the 1980s. screenplay It was always in charge of Juan Marino Cabello and there were several stations that published it throughout his presence in the medium;
* until mid-2003, «stories»Was a radio drama program that was broadcast regularly on Radio 1, in Spain.