Manifesto

Mission Statement:

Audio drama is one of the most intimate and expressive dramatic mediums, rivaling theater and film in poetic, visual, and narrative qualities. Many people are unaware of this - a stigma lingers that "radio drama" is a scratchy, cartoonish thing of the past, as if people thought that cinema ended with silent movies, unaware of all the great films made since that time. In reality, audio and radio drama is the great frontier of modern theater - with subtle, intimate performances and powerful, gripping stories.

My aim is to promote a discussion of the art, sociology, theory, and future of this remarkable artistic form. The current state of audio drama is precarious, but through careful consideration of how content is presented, distributed, and interacted with, I believe that the radio and audio drama community can grow and prosper and reach an even wider audience.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Welcome

I recently attended a symposium in New York City on the future of radio drama. During the panel discussion, Arthur Yorinks made some great points on the difficulty of propelling the medium into the future. The very term "radio drama" is so loaded with negative stereotypes that it becomes a burden, he said.

A new term needs to be created, because as soon as the term "radio drama" is mentioned, it conjures up thoughts of Old Time Radio, of cheesy crime serials and limpid sitcoms. Or of The War of the Worlds. It is so ingrained in American consciousness that radio drama is a thing of the past, a quaint old timey thing that has no place in modern artistic or commerical worlds.

That is not what radio drama is.

I would like to start the discussion off with asking for new terminology. What shall we call this thing that we love, these plays of sound and voice? Going forward, I am going to try to use the term "audio drama."

In the next several weeks, I am going to write a few more posts about theoretical stuff. Observations, theories, general food for thought about the subject. I am also going to begin, shortly, to post audio plays for people to listen to. The plays that I will post are hard to find and unavailable commercially, as is most modern audio drama. This blog is for educational purposes. The goal is to explore what modern audio drama has to offer, and to try to correct the weird ruts that the medium has fallen into. There are several ways to do this. I am also going to try to use these posts to generate a manifesto of sorts, a simple document that will, theoretically, provide a loose framework for identifying a) what audio drama IS, b) how we can make it better and c) how we can reach a wider audience.

Please feel free to comment and add to the discussion. Thanks for reading this.

Welcome to the world of modern audio drama!

2 comments:

  1. Heya! SO exciting this blog. Carly sent it to me after me declaring my interest and curiosity about audio drama--started w/ radio previews for AquaTown last summer, and my fondness for Brecht. I look forward to your posts of audio. Can you rec intern'tl programs to track--Carly says there's a lot more happening abroad. Yay for this!
    ~andrea del Moral

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  2. I'll be posting some links soon, but most of the BBC's output are radio plays, of various lengths. Sometimes they do serials like "Planet B" which is a brilliant scifi series they recently did, but it's very much like British TV in general - short runs, miniseries, one-off plays, etc. One of the reasons for this, and something that's probably a good topic for the future, is the emphasis on the writer and the writer's vision in the process of radio drama production. It's like theater in terms of the primacy of the author's vision. So in terms of programs to track - that's hard to do. The BBC airs things a few times and then they go back into the vault and disappear forever. But more on that soon!

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