NEW YORK CITY: Playwrights Horizons has launched an anthological scripted fiction podcast called Soundstage, which will feature works by Heather Christian, Robert O’Hara, Jordan Harrison, and Qui Nguyen in season one. The podcast, featuring plays written specifically for the audio format, had been slated to debut later in 2020. Playwrights Horizons, in an effort to serve its audience during this pandemic, moved the launch up with episode one dropping today.
“We’ve been working on this series for some time,” said Playwrights Horizons associate artistic director Adam Greenfield in a statement, “but in this moment where storytelling can help us get through weeks or months of life in isolation, we felt called to share these with the world prior to our intended distribution date.”
The first episode is PRIME: A Practical Breviary by Heather Christian. Christian’s work is a 10-song cycle using modern prose and composition to create a prayer for 6 a.m.— and the daily challenge of waking up and facing the morning.
Releasing on April 16 will be Robert O’Hara’s GATHER, which utilizes the high-stakes of a spy thriller format to tell the story of a series of mysterious disappearances.
Following the second episode, Playwrights Horizons is intending to release episodes on a biweekly basis continuing with Jordan Harrison’s PLAY FOR ANY TWO PEOPLE (April 30). This psychological drama turns the listener into the actor as Harrison uses timing and sound design to turn the listener’s apartment into the stage.
Qui Nguyen’s OUTTAKES (May 14) will take the episode four slot. Through the format of edited found interview tapes, OUTTAKES tells the story of a son trying to get his immigrant parents to tell him a war story from their lives in Vietnam.
The rest of the slate has yet to be announced, though Playwrights Horizons has confirmed that later episodes will feature the work of Kirsten Childs, Milo Cramer, Jeremy O. Harris, Lucas Hnath, Carlos Murillo, Jenny Schwartz, and Kate Tarker.
“With Soundstage, audiences will continue to have access to innovative new work,” Greenfield said in his statement. “This series doesn’t propose a substitution for in-person performance—nothing can replace the experience and electricity of live theater—but rather seeks to employ the theatrical imagination of playwrights to navigate the dimensions and boundaries of audio.”
Soundstage originally began production in 2019 with the idea of unleashing the country’s playwrights on the world of scripted podcasts. Episodes are 15 to 40 minutes long , and are free to listen to on all major podcasting platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher.