Those who love Halloween might find themselves spooktacularly challenged this season, with most in-person events canceled. But the creative team at Poseidon Theatre Company is finding an auditory way to inject some frightful fun into the month. DRAMA – an aural experience will deliver a series of episodes that promises far more than your average podcast.
Penned by New York Times best-selling author Jeffrey James Keyes (Killer Chef with James Patterson) and directed by Aaron Salazar, DRAMA – an aural experience will transport you into the world of the supernatural, paranormal and mysterious. An original score by Manuel Pelayo and Giancarlo Bonfanti has been sonically designed for your headphones to create an unforgettable immersive experience. The cast includes Caturah Brown, Jenniffer Diaz, Gabriel Gutierrez, Samantha Lacey Johnson, Jayson Kerr, Dara Kramer, and Gillian Saker. The first episode, Imaginary Friends, is based on a play of the same title that premiered in the Samuel French OOB Festival.
“I wrote and produced many of these short plays over the years, and when we all went into quarantine earlier this year, I connected with my friend and collaborator Aaron Salazar, Artistic Director of the Poseidon Theatre Company,” says Keyes. “I mentioned I had a bunch of ghost story plays, he asked to read them, and quickly proposed recording them as an audio fiction series. I think we were all suffering from a bit of Zoom fatigue at the time, and Aaron was recording and developing a number of separate podcasts. We recorded the first few and shared them online through their website and started gaining a following, so we decided to launch these as an actual podcast leading up to Halloween.”
Keyes is familiar with suspense, having co-written the thriller Killer Chef with James Patterson. Although the medium may be different, there are still fundamental dramatic structures that apply. (Keyes earned an MFA in playwrighting from Columbia University.)
“It’s all about conflict, character, structure, and space. Suspense can be created by incorporating strong inherent conflict. It’s important to have clearly defined characters that the audience, or in this case, the listener, can connect to,” says Keyes. “Adhering to a three-act structure, even in short form, with a beginning/middle/end and clear transitions is a logical frame that can guide any audience. Physical space is abstract in this specific form, but you can create space by writing in a breath or a pause here and there. This will indirectly guide the audience to also breathe at that moment. This space allows their mind to drift momentarily and wonder about the possibilities of what could happen next. This energy remains kinetic for the audience and contributes to the overall tension and suspense.”
Words are only part of the creative vision, though. Salazar brings his sonic experience from the stage to this project through the collaboration with Poseidon Theatre Company’s resident composers, Manuel Pelayo and Giancarlo Bonfanti.
“When the idea came during the initial part of the “shelter in place” to adapt Jeffrey’s work into audio format, I knew I wanted to make it something much more of an aural experience, where the sound would immerse you into the world of each story, via original music/scoring, sound effects and mixing of the vocals, all geared specifically for your headphones,” says Salazar. “I wanted to feel that intimacy of the voice, and create an escape for the listener. It’s a thrill now to expand on this format and create this new podcast to open up to a wider audience, and usher in a new chapter with Alvarez Keko Salazar Productions producing this work for Poseidon Theatre Company.”
To subscribe to DRAMA – an aural experience, click here.