Teaching radio

Posted by Tanja Estella Bosch | 13 Jun, 2007
You might wonder why I bother teaching radio when you tune in to most commercial radio stations in South Africa. Or perhaps you might wonder why we didn't start teaching radio earlier! My radio teaching is linked to the broader interest in communication for development/ communication for social change and the health communication seminar posts where I've been sharing student work. So, I also taught a seminar on writing for radio this semester. Decided to be adventurous and asked students to write a radio drama (they're coming back into fashion on SAFM and Bush Radio). What I liked about this group's piece (click more to read the unedited script below) is that it's not prescriptive. I still find myself wondering whether one can really reach people through this kind of radio programming, or whether it's inherently patronising and/or paternalistic to deliberately and strategically embed social messages into entertaining formats...At any rate, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of the assignment. The script that follows was written by 2nd year students:- Sharika Jaga, Tamsin Collins, Tracy-Lee George & Matshidiso MatlapengAIDS ANXIETY Synopsis: Our radio drama is entitled AIDS Anxiety because the main character, Danny Wilson, decides to get tested for HIV/AIDS. Danny is very anxious about his test results and in the interim while he waits for his results he decides to call up all his ex-girlfriends. The drama ends in an ambiguous manner; the listener does not find out if Danny is HIV positive or HIV negative. Leaving the ending open is much more exciting for the listener as s/he can use their imagination. Characters: - Dr Peterson - Mr Wilson - Lisa - Monica - Tracy - Jill’s mom (In the Doctor's Surgery) (Background lounge music, baby crying, sound of coughs.) (Voice lady): Mr. Wilson, Dr Peterson is ready to see you now. (Footsteps, then door closes) (Pause) Doctor Peterson: What can I do for you today? Mr. Wilson: um… (Hesitant voice) I would like umm get an umm… to get umm... tested. Doctor Peterson: Tested... For what? Mr. Wilson: umm… you know… AIDS test. Doctor Peterson: Mr. Wilson have you been tested before? Mr. Wilson: No. Dr Peterson: Have you had multiple partners? Mr. Wilson: umm… Yes… well, it depends what you mean by multiple partners? (With a nervous laugh) Dr Peterson: How many partners have you had? Mr. Wilson: Well…a few… just not at the same time. Dr Peterson: Do you always use protection? Mr. Wilson: Well, not always. There was this one time, I was so drunk and I may had forgotten to use one. You know how it goes…one thing just led to another and I didn’t really know what I was doing. Dr Peterson: When was the last time you had sex? Mr. Wilson: Sometime last week maybe… Dr Peterson: Do you know about the window period? Mr. Wilson: Ya, kind of. Does it mean if I get tested and the test is negative, I may still have the virus and not know about it? Dr Peterson: Yes, it takes up to three months for the HIV virus to show in the blood, so this test may not be accurate since you had sex last week. You will need to take another test in three months to make your results more accurate. Mr. Wilson: Oh, okay. Can we get on with it? (Anxious voice) (Footsteps {sound of doctor walking over to Mr. Wilson}) Dr Peterson: Please roll up your sleeve. (Sound of sleeve rolling and wrap of syringe from plastic package) Dr Peterson: This might hurt a bit. (Pause) Dr Peterson: Okay! So we’re done. Come back tomorrow for your results. Mr. Wilson: Okay thanks! I’ll be here first thing in the morning. (Footsteps. Door closes and then a pause for five seconds, and then move to the next scene). (Footsteps) (Door screeches open and bangs closed) (Next scene is of Mr. Wilson in his house, he drops himself on couch and then he sighs) (Inside Mr. Wilson’s head, he is thinking {in an echoey tone}: Cindy, Mary, Monica, Sandy, Jill. Oh, no, what about… (silence) Cindy, Mary, Monica, Sandy, Jill. Cindy told me she got tested. So it can’t be her. Mary…umm… she was a village bicycle, maybe I should call her.) (Sound of Mr. Wilson search through papers) Mr. Wilson: Where is the black book? Where is it… oh, here it is. (Sound of phone dialing, then a ring tone follows) Mary: Hello! (Baby crying in the background) Mr. Wilson: Hey …umm, is this Mary. (Hesitating) Mary: Yes. Mr. Wilson: It’s me Danny! Mary: Danny who? Mr. Wilson: This…it’s Danny Wilson. And… I know I haven’t called you, it’s just that I have been busy. But how are you doing? Mary: Me, I’m fine? You? Mr. Wilson: I’m… I’m ok I guess. But how are you feeling, really, body wise. Are you okay? Mary: (Irritated) What do you mean? Body wise? Danny what do you want? What do you really want? Mr. Wilson: I wanna know… umm… I wanna know… well I got tested today so… Mary: And, and what are you trying to say? Mr. Wilson: Nothing… I’m… just checking? Mary: JUST CHECKING. You’re the one who should be worried. I’m married and I just had a baby. Are you trying to accuse me of something? I don’t under understand why you called me. Why don’t you men just leave me alone? have a child to see to. (Slams the phone down, followed by and engage tone) Mr. Wilson: Oh shucks umm, maybe I will have better luck with Monica. (Short pause) Mr. Wilson: Oh no please tell me I have number. (Sound of him paging through his black book). Okay, I have her home number. Okay, 687… (Sound of dialing digits) Monica: James residence hello! Mr. Wilson: Hi… umm… is Monica there? Monica: Speaking, who’s this? Mr. Wilson: Hi Monica, it’s me Danny. Monica: (laughing) Oh, it's you, you, naughty boy. How have you been actually? I thought of you the other day when I saw Mary. Do you know she has a baby? (Excitedly) Mr. Wilson: Well I know that now. Monica: And did you hear about Jill… Mr. Wilson: (Interrupts her) Monica, I’m actually calling for a reason. Monica: … What? Are you getting married too? Ah everyone’s getting married except me. Mr. Wilson: No, I’m not…umm… I got tested today and I just need to know…umm… like… if you… umm… should I be worried? Monica: Danny Wilson, how dare you? You know you were my first. If I were you, I would be worried about Mary. Mr. Wilson: But Monica, you’re still not answering me. Monica: What? Are you asking if I have AIDS? Of course not, you silly goat. But I haven’t told you bout … (excited) Mr. Wilson: Thank you Monica, I have to go, I will call you soon. Monica: Okay, keep well, promise will hook up soon. Mr. Wilson: Said I’d call. Monica: (Excitedly) I will be waiting. Mr. Wilson: Ok, bye. (Sound of phone receiver put down, then silence) Mr. Wilson: Okay (Takes a deep breath) I think I need a break. (Sound of footsteps, then the sound of the fridge door opening. Then the sound of a bottle of beer opening as the gas escapes followed by the sound of him taking a sip) Mr. Wilson: Wow, I can’t believe Mary the village bicycle has a baby, who would of thought. And sweet, sweet Monica is still the same. (Breathes). At least I’m safe for now. Mr. Wilson: Now whose next? Lisa (Sound of him paging through the book) Mr. Wilson: Oh here it is, Thank goodness. (Sound of him dialing the number on the telephone, then the phone ringing on the other end) Mr. Wilson: (Hesitant voice as the phone continues to ring) why isn’t she answering? (Hangs phone up and then picks it up again. Sound of the redial tone and phone ringing) Lisa: Hello, Lisa speaking! Mr. Wilson: (Relief voice) Ahh… Lisa great! Lisa: Yeah hi! How can I help you? Mr. Wilson: Hey, how are you doing? Lisa: I’m ok, like I said, how can I help you? Mr. Wilson: Well, it’s me Danny. Lisa: Yes, And? Mr. Wilson: Well… today, I like… got tested and I was… just wondering if umm if … Lisa: (Cuts in) Oh, so you’re calling to see if I gave you AIDS. Well, I got test lasted week and you were the one I was worried about. If there is nothing else, leave me alone… (Sound of her slamming the phone down) (Sound of call dying, then the engaged tone) Mr. Wilson: Oh well… that’s cool… at least I’m still safe… I don’t think there will be a problem with Jill but I will call her anyway. (Sound of dialing telephone followed by a ring tone, phone rings three times then a voice) Voice: Your call is being diverted. (Then ring tone continues) Mr. Wilson: Ok, that’s weird, maybe she’s moved. Woman voice: Hello! Mr. Wilson: (confused voice) Hello, Jill. Woman voice: (With a shaky voice) No this is her mother. Mr. Wilson: I’m sorry; can I please talk to Jill? Woman voice: Jill… no you can’t… what’s it in connection with? Mr. Wilson: I just needed to speak to her. Woman Voice: Well you can’t she’s…she’s passed away. (starts sobbing) Mr. Wilson: (Shocked voice) passed away? How? When? Where? (Woman continues sobbing, then hangs up the phone) (Mr. Wilson is talking to himself) Mr. Wilson: (panicking) Oh gosh, what happened? What happened? (Sound of footsteps pacing) Who will know? Who will tell me? (Sound of him pacing more and breathing fast) Mr. Wilson: (Still in a panicking voice) Oh, oh, oh… Tracy will know… she introduced me to Jill. Tracy will know, Tracy will know. She will know. (Sound Mr. Wilson franticly going through his black book, then he stops) Mr. Wilson: Here’s her number. (Sound of phone dialing, then it starts ringing) Mr. Wilson: (Panicking voice continues) Please answer, please answer the phone. (with ringing tone in the background). Tracy: Hello! Mr. Wilson: (Panicking voice continues) Hi, Why did you not tell me Jill died? Tracy: Hello! Who’s this? Mr. Wilson: It’s Danny, why did you not tell me? Tracy: (pause) Oh, Jill’s Danny! Mr. Wilson: Ya, the Jill who died and you did not tell me about. Tracy: But, I thought you knew. Mr. Wilson: No, I didn’t know. What happened? Tracy: She… didn’t you know. Mr. Wilson: (Getting irritated) Know what? Tracy: She had the virus, everyone knew. She fell ill, she was ill for a long time. She was admitted to the hospital, then discharged, got better for a while, then she was ill again. She was admitted again, then discharged, and she went home. It got bad while she was at home and then she died. AIDS is crippling us all. Mr. Wilson: Excuse me, did you say AIDS? Tracy: Yes, what virus did you think I said she had? I can’t believe this, I can’t believe you didn’t know. (Sound of phone falling down with the sound of Tracy’s voice through the receiver. Mr. Wilson starts breathing heavy. Then a pause, to show a change in scene.) (Next scene is at the doctor’s waiting room the next morning. The Background is lounge music, baby crying, sound of coughs, then voice of lady) Voice (lady): Mr. Wilson, Dr Peterson is ready to see you now. (Footsteps, then door closes) End of radio play