If you were to have talked to me a bit over a year ago and asked me about podcasts, I would have just shrugged and said that one of my friends was really into them and that would have been the extent of my knowledge. I really only thought of podcasts as information streams, since that is what my friend listened to. They were simply an audio medium to learn stuff from.
I started listening to podcasts about five years ago, back when I was a tiny high schooler. I started in the most stereotypical way: listening to Welcome to Night Vale. I quickly fell in love, listening to it with my mom as we painted my room bright purple. I even got to go to one of their live shows (I still have the t-shirt). But I never strayed past Night Vale’s borders. I didn’t really feel the need to.
For those that have been following me for a while on Twitter, you'll know that I've been trying to chronicle my entire podcast listening with #MicroRyView posts for every episode I've listened to. And since I'm thoroughly addicted to podcasts, I have listened to quite a few within the last year!
Having said that, I have one recommendation today based upon a variety of factors. For my very first recommendation, I will have to give it to one of my absolute favorite podcasts right now. Fate and the Fablemaidens.
“A rising tide lifts all ships.”
I have heard this phrase hundreds of times since I have become involved in the audio drama community. It is repeated as we celebrate successes, as we strategize, as we mentor others. But what does it mean and why is the idea behind it so important to so many audio drama creators?
“YOU KNOW WHAT, LET’S MAKE A DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS PODCAST,” I announced, tipsy at a corporate happy hour at the rundown Irish pub, Jack Doyle’s. The job I was working, which gave me two whiskey gingers for my trouble, was a drag, but at least I worked with two guys who loved D&D just as much as I did. And I had a friend who I had roped into another game, so why not? Sure, I had never run a full-fledged campaign before, or never ran my own podcast, or even really knew what I was doing. But it sounded fun and I really wanted to put a Danny-Zuko-style talking gargoyle on a microphone.
Returning December 21st, Marsfall’s complex imagining of a group of human colonizers on Mars is rife with conspiracies, well-executed action, and classic science-fiction discussions of ethics and artificial intelligence in ways that don’t alienate their audience.
The idea of the fourth wall in theatre is a result, in part, of the writing of 18th century French critic and philosopher Denis Diderot - and the contribution his writing made to the rise of theatrical realism. Diderot advocated for a more natural style of acting - as if real events were happening in front of an audience that could be observed through a transparent fourth wall of the room in which they’re taking place. This notion led to the more ‘traditional’ set up of Western theatre we’re used to now - in which the fancifully termed proscenium arch is the frame through which a play is often observed, and there’s a clearly defined stage area emphasized by things like curtains and lighting.
When I look back on the last few years, it's difficult to imagine where I would be without actual play podcasts. In a very real sense, I owe a great deal of who and what I am to the medium. And I think it's safe to say, that thanks to a wonderful community and mode of expression that has unlocked so much of the person I want to be, I am happier and better thanks to a decision to try something entirely different.