Salt Lake Community College will soon air a radio adaptation of Michael Crichton’s “The Andromeda Strain” on Radio SLCC.
Put on by the Mockingjay Players, the four-part serialization “Andromeda Strain” was directed by SLCC graduate Kachina Choate. The cast of the production is made up of SLCC students.
This isn’t the first project for the Mockingjay Players. Choate, now a lab aide in SLCC’s Communication Department, started creating adaptations during her time as a student at the college in her radio performance and production course.
“I was listening to radio dramas, and I had read ‘The Hunger Games.’ That was the year the movie came out, and I thought ‘OK, this would be fun as a radio drama,’” she says. “I also thought I could stop with just the one. I couldn’t.”
Choate ended up doing the entire “Hunger Games” trilogy.
“It was the first time that we were able to get people from music, theater, film and communication together on one project, and that was quite fun,” Choate says. “And that happened again this time.”
This time, the Mockingjay Players have turned their attention to Crichton’s novel.
“It’s an interesting story, if you’ve ever read the book,” Choate says.
Originally published in 1969, “The Andromeda Strain” is about a team of scientists investigating the outbreak of an alien virus in Arizona.
“In the book, it’s all men,” Choate says. “We did some gender swapping in ours. We also did some place swapping.”
The music for the production is an original score by Spencer Braithwaite, who is in his third year at SLCC. He had never had the opportunity to score for a production before, but had been putting in the work for years.
“I have been writing and producing music for about eight years now,” he says. “My specialty is synth-wave and 80s, type sci-fi stuff.”
When a teacher brought up “Andromeda Strain,” Braithwaite leapt at the opportunity.
“I’m a music recording technology major, and a lot of my teachers started talking to us about this opportunity to compose music for the school’s radio drama,” he says. “They said it was a science fiction. That sounded right up my alley, so I approached Kachina about it, and she immediately accepted.”
When it came to his inspiration for “Andromeda Strain,” Braithwaite went back to his passions.
“I had two big inspirations for the music I composed,” he says. “The first being the ‘Stranger Things’ soundtrack by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein. That soundtrack is what got me into making music like that. The second big inspiration was the ‘Tron: Legacy’ soundtrack by Daft Punk.”