The Sonic Society

Showcasing the very best in new Audio Drama

A Great Light is Going Out

When you’ve been in the audio world as long as we have, you’re used to seeing podfaded shows.

Many excited groups get revved up for a season, sometimes only a few episodes, and then go dark as life, interest, and various other factors get in the way. Audio Drama is not a game for the weak-hearted. It takes a lot of determination to produce regularly, and send your creativity out to a distant crowd. I’ve set many a local actor’s heart a flutter when I’ve told them the number of listeners are hearing their characters. Compared to the little theatres of Halifax, which have a large crowd at 50 or 70 people, it’s exciting to think of thousands of engaged fans.

But it’s also really lonely. You probably won’t hear from 99% of the people out in the RSS void. Only a few listeners will email to tell you if you’re doing well, and worse still most won’t bother telling you if they’ve left the feed. Live theatre on the other hand is instant praise or criticism. The stage is immediate and engaging and I get that.

As I’ve said, we’ve seen people come and go here at the Sonic Society, but there were always a few columns in the audio drama coliseum we could lean against. Giants, that are some of the great innovators of the modern audio dramatic landscape. Bob Arnold and Chatterbox Audio Theater, by any measure are examples of great innovators. For years, I’ve used some ¬†of Chatterbox’s promotional youtube clips in my classrooms to titillate the next generation of students. Chatterbox Audio captivates audiences with their retelling of classic tales, and their new productions that grip the imagination timelessly.

Chatterbox is shutting down.

I can’t even say that out loud without stifling a sob. I’ve never met Bob. I’ve never knowingly run into any of the Chatterbox folk, but I feel very privileged to know their work. Bob and I have exchanged many emails through the years. It was my honour to write Tulpa for a Chatterbox Halloween Season. Their performance of that script still takes my breath away.

Chatterbox is shutting down.

I’ve always had a secret dream to go visit their studio when they’re performing- maybe even take a minor role among the hallowed ranks, and bring to life a classic. Maybe “The Cherry Orchard” or “The Tales of Perseus”. Maybe a sequel to their triumphant “Surfacing”. Maybe a lost short story of Ray Bradbury’s. The possibilities are enticing.

Chatterbox is shutting down.

I leave the last words on the subject to Bob Arnold and his heartbreaking post Dimming the Lights, I need to go and download their entire catalogue again. I don’t have the fortitude yet to say adieu.


About The Author

Born to Teachers and Amateur Audio Enthusiasts in the small rural community of Belwood, Jack's first love was stories- writing, reading, telling, and singing. He developed his acting skills through High School, University, and through film and community theatre. Jack writes the lion's share of Electric Vicuna's Audio Drama scripts and has his own writing site at www.jackjward.com He's thrilled to co-host the Sonic Society with his wonderful, talented, friend David Ault!

Comments

6 Responses to “A Great Light is Going Out”

  1. I loved Bob Arnold’s work and I’m sorry to hear that Chatterbox is closing up shop. It was always consistently enjoyable. I really hope that the “indefinite hiatus” here is akin to Steven Soderbergh “retiring.”

  2. Jack says:

    Could not agree more! Thanks for the note! – J

  3. Ack. Sorry to hear this. Chatterbox had great variety in their productions, all top of the line.
    But I suppose 10 years is a good run when so much rides on one set of shoulders. Bob would wave off, but he drove that damn bus. Fave Recreation: Bathysphere (can never be enough love for Oboler). Adaptation? Probably Markheim … Original: Time to Go.

  4. Jack says:

    Bathysphere was amazing!

  5. Bob Arnold says:

    Thank you, Jack, for this incredibly moving tribute. It would mean a lot coming from anyone, but it means even more coming from you, a collaborator, a friend, and a constant source of inspiration. The Sonic Society shaped and continues to shape my ideas of what’s possible in audio drama. And your own scripts are always exciting to read and hear.

    Thanks as well to Edward and Glenn for the kind comments. Even after ten years of doing this, it’s always a little surprising (in the best way) to read people talk about your work in such positive terms.

    My love for audio is undiminished, and I’ve still got a dozen ideas crowding my brain. So it’s not goodbye, just see you later.

    Thank you again, Jack, for everything.

  6. Jack says:

    Thank heavens for more work coming from you my friend. I simply could not imagine this medium without more amazing Bob Arnold productions, no matter the time frame, no matter the collaboration. You’ll always have a home here!

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