Fine Arts Column: Remake or mistake?


Many of you may know that the Theatre Department’s main-stage play this semester is the radio show “Merry Christmas, George Bailey.” Some people have approached me asking about this “remake” of the movie, and the question always trips me up, because it’s not a remake. Or is it?

How often have you gone to see different versions of the same play or seen the remakes of old movies and thought, “The original was better”? I know that I have, and that made me curious about what we are doing with our radio play.

The first thing to point out is this: it is not a remake of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Though one may be quite tempted to view it as such, it isn’t. If it were a remake, then we would have a full-blown movie. Instead, this is a radio play/stage performance version of the movie.

All of that said, I understand if many still want to call it a remake of the movie. Even so, that is not a horrible thing. First of all, remakes tend to apply exclusively to movies. Plays are always going to be “remade” or “redone,”  because that’s the nature of staged art.

Secondly, movie remakes usually are done because the original was popular, and hence the remake ought to be a moneymaker. When money is the primary goal of something that should be artistic, it naturally loses its beauty and message because the makers are sacrificing making good art for the sake of just trying to make money.

Obviously, here in the Franciscan University Theatre Department, our goal is not money centered. Our primary goal is to make good and wholesome art that stretches our talents and gives a good message. Sure, I may have some bias being a major who is also playing a few roles in the show, but the point still remains. Our main-stage is not out to make money or to recreate the atmosphere of the movie. That would be impossible; movie sets are extremely different from radio and stage performances.

So I encourage you to be open-minded when you go see it for our last few showings this weekend. You might become nostalgic, sure, but we have put our own spins on it to create something new that still holds the same beauty of the movie. It’s not a remake, and it certainly isn’t a mistake! Even those misers out there, who hate anything Christmas prior to Thanksgiving, are sure to love it!

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