We begin by taking in, alongside our narrator, the bright gardens and velvet lawns of Mandelieu, France. The narrator—a young, unmarried woman—brings to us the beauty surrounding her through internal dialogue as she explores this particular section of the country.
A focal point of said area is the seaside, brought to our ears by the sound effects of waves tumbling over themselves as they reach the shore in Mandelieu. It is here our leading lady meets Maxim—a widower and the master of Mandelieu—who is a gentleman to be sure, but nevertheless curt even with the woman of his affection.
“I was thinking, I wish there was some sort of invention that could preserve memories. I would cork them in a bottle and save them forever,” our protagonist stated.
“Sometimes the memories grow stale, horrible. Please, can you stop biting your nails?” Maxim continued.
It is within these moment-by-moment exchanges between characters, in this reviewer’s opinion, that a conversational, life-like manner is alive in RadioTheatre’s rendition of Alfred Hitchcock’s famed tale REBECCA.
In a whirlwind romance such as theirs, however, we must be prepared that on the backside of this 29-minute audio, trouble and heartbreak may ensue. When the couple is married and begins to reside at Maxim’s castle-like mansion, it then becomes evident his late wife is very much still the woman of the house, even in her absence.
“Mrs. de Winter. Mrs. de Winter. I soon learned that name was not mine. … Everywhere I turned there were the indelible imprints of Rebecca’s continuing hold on Mandelieu and on Maxim.”
When it is revealed through suspicious behavior and a guilt-driven confession that Rebecca de Winter’s death happened under dubious circumstances, the mansion of Mandelieu, and the newlywed’s relationship becomes rife with jealousy, betrayal, heartbreak, and the unforgiving paranoia of living in someone else's shoes.
Frank Zilinyi, R.Patrick Alberty, Alejandro Cardozo, Caitlin Boyle, Sarah Gwynne Walker, Annemarie Hagenaars
Dan Bianchi (director/story adapter/sound), Wes Shippee (sound design/tech director)
Photos courtesy of RadioTheatre NYC
About the Author: Margaret Smith ( Photo by Mike Rundle )
Margaret Smith is a Chicago-based, multi-genre writer and editor. They are a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, a lover of all-things theater, and a crossword puzzle enthusiast. More of their work can be found on the Better Magazine website.