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Stu­dents read a radio script for a student pro­duction of the new “spaghetti western.” Jordyn Pair | Col­legian

Mystery, miners, and a healthy dose of Old West drama are coming to Hillsdale’s air­waves soon.

Hibiscus Pro­duc­tions, a new student orga­ni­zation ded­i­cated to radio drama, held audi­tions Sat­urday to cast their first radio drama, “The Law-Giver,” a western. The pro­duction group, orga­nized through Radio Free Hillsdale 101.7 FM, plans to act as a parent orga­ni­zation to help produce student dramas and bring con­ser­v­ative ideas to the enter­tainment medium.

“The point of the orga­ni­zation is to be a platform,” Shadrach Strehle said. “Our goal as an orga­ni­zation is not nec­es­sarily to be the writers of this content but to make it happen.”

Hibiscus Pro­duc­tions wants to “make it happen” two to three times a semester and air their first show by the end of the month. It’s a goal Scot Bertram, general manager of WRFH 1017 FM, called, “slightly aggressive but not crazy.”

Even though it’s hard work, the stu­dents said they feel it’s also important work.

“Part of being con­ser­v­ative isn’t just holding onto things of the past, ideals and truths, even if they are…universal truths,” said junior Quentin Herman, com­poser for the pro­duction. “You have an oblig­ation to take those truths and present them again and again. Being con­ser­v­ative is a very cre­ative thing. Progress doesn’t belong to lib­erals, so to speak. We need to reclaim the arts, to have sub­stantial ide­ology behind our cre­ative projects.”

This cre­ative project started with the advent of the Dow Jour­nalism Program’s radio station. When the radio program began, ideas for radio dramas were some of the first sug­ges­tions made, Bertram said.

It wasn’t until the fall, however, that every­thing began coming together.

“I had told Mr. Bertram, right at the beginning of last semester, I really wanted to do some­thing in radio drama,” said junior Sarah Schutte, one of the show’s pro­ducers.

That same semester, Tripepi and Herman approached sopho­mores Dylan and Shadrach Strehle with their idea for a “spaghetti western” radio drama — a genre known for its clas­si­cally cheesy style.

Schutte joined forces with the Strehles, Tripepi, and Herman to form Hibiscus Pro­duc­tions. It’s a new step for the radio program, one made pri­marily through the efforts of stu­dents.      

“It really moved along organ­i­cally,” Bertram said. “It’s nice to see stu­dents have taken it upon them­selves to move it from idea to, soon, actual product.”

Taking place in the town of Solon, the Hib­sicus Production’s first story follows Sheriff Aaron Black­stone as he goes head-to-head with the stubborn owner of a mine that col­lapsed with men inside.

“There’s a lot of tension between the sheriff and the mine owner,” said junior Michael Tripepi, who wrote the script. “I think the ending will be a little bit of a shock.”

Although Hibiscus’ first episode is a western, the content and genre will vary from show to show.

“We know that is a desire; people want to be a part of it,” Shadrach Strehle said. “There was def­i­nitely a desire, a demand for some­thing. Giving stu­dents the tools to fill that desire is why we sprung up.”