The Adelaide Show Podcast putting South Australian passion on centre stage

223 – In The Shadows of The Phoenix Files

In The Shadows of The Phoenix Files from The Adelaide Show Podcast 223 with Benjamin Maio Mackay

This week, we chat with Benjamin Maio Mackay and Jennifer Barry, who are behind a new, audio drama, The Phoenix Files, Man In The Shadows.

We last had Benjamin and Jenny on in episode 162, The Great Detectives, talking about their radio play stage show.

This week, the SA Drink Of The Week is from Ashton Valley Crush.

In 100 Weeks Ago we hear a snippet from our chat with Max Martin and Nathan Harten.

In IS IT NEWS, Nigel challenges us on stories about radio plays.

And in the musical pilgrimage … Todd will share a brand new song from Timberwolf.

And please consider becoming part of our podcast by joining our Inner Circle. It’s an email list. Join it and you might get an email on a Sunday or Monday seeking question ideas, guest ideas and requests for other bits of feedback about YOUR podcast, The Adelaide Show. Email us directly and we’ll add you to the list: [email protected]

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Running Sheet: In The Shadows of The Phoenix Files

00:00:00 Outtake
 Great Detectives is easy now
Theme and Introduction. Our original theme song in full is here, Adelaidey-hoo.
00:02:29 SA Drink Of The Week
 Ashton Valley Crush Sparkling Apple and Passionfruit Juice  … tasting notes.
00:00:00 Stories Without Notice
None this week.
00:08:32 Benjamin Maio Mackay and Jennifer Barry

After theatre and books but before television and movies, there was a golden age of audio drama thanks to radio. Last year, we explored that through the great detective radio plays but tonight, we are looking for signs that The Phoenix Files, the largest Australian audio drama ever produced, is heralding in a resurgence of radio-style drama. The people at the helm of this effort are Benjamin Maio Mackay and Jennifer Barry.

Google Play:

In this era of CGI and immersive games, where every sense is accounted for, what makes you think there are audiences for audio drama?

Does audio drama keep your costs down when it comes to creating a world, because you only need a few sound effects and some music?

What is the key to holding our attention in audio drama?

The Phoenix Files is a young adult science fiction adventure series written by Australian author Chris Morphew. The original six books have been condensed into three and Man In The Shadows is the first one, which you have dramatised. Before we get into some plot details, can you ponder this with me? I have dabbled with audio drama in podcasts – My Dad Wrote A Porno (in which three people read a porno novel written by one of their dads), Wooden Overcoat (a play about competing undertakers in an obscure, British village), and Welcome To Night Vale (an absurd, whimsical, and dark episodic drama, set in a community radio station in a town run by otherworldly creatures). Interestingly, the latter has spawned quite a following with live shows on tour. In all the them, it comes down to the writing taking us to unexpected places. How will The Phoenix Files take us to new worlds?

What is the story arc across the series and what happens in Man In The Shadows?

Chris Morphew writes primarily teenage protagonists but doesn’t believe in sugarcoating the state of our world. Here’s a quote: This idea of these fractured worlds, these broken worlds; I think that [in] the era that this generation of kids are growing up in, there’s this real culture of fear, this culture of — You know, you turn on the news and there’s gunfire and there’s wars and … the world, I think, to a child can feel like a very unsafe place. And to be able to engage with a story that lets that loom large and gives them characters they can identify with, that are grappling these things and emerging as heroes in these contexts — I wonder whether there’s something in that. I think we can all identify with a world that’s broken, a world where things aren’t as they should be and so … that is what really resonated with [me] … This world that was very much broken and relationships [that were] broken. And I think, just as human beings, we can inhabit that. That is REALLY counter intuitive to me, it sounds like he is heaping fuel upon the fire of despair. Discuss

Is this a for profit venture, or is it the outcome of an arts funding grant?

You’ve got a pretty impressive cast for this, including Paul McGann, John Jarratt, and Andrew Hansen, to name a few. How do you secure them?

I’d like to explore how to voice audio drama because my fear is it is too easy to fall into reading rather than acting, and to be more serious or just do funny characters. Perhaps we could workshop a passage from the production and you could guide us. You might also have to work with our weaknesses!

How can people hear it when it is out?

01:11:33 Is It News?

Nigel Dobson-Keeffe challenges the panel to pick the fake story from three stories from South Australia’s past.

Advertiser June 1938
Adelaide Woman’s Radio Play Accepted
MRS. Russell Gourlay, formerly Miss Noel Boyd, of Adelaide, has just had a play, written in collaboration with Mrs. Donald Wilson, of Melbourne, accepted by the ABC. It is a  children’s serial, based on the famous story of “Black Beauty.” The authors planned to make the horses talk, but were advised against this, because of the difficulty of making animal voices clear over the air, so listeners will have to be content with occasional affectionate whinnies. Mrs. Gourlay has had considerable stage experience, and for the past year has broadcast regularly over the A.B.C. Mrs. Wilson had stage experience in America, and wrote a broadcast play that was accepted in London when she was on a visit there.

Southern Cross July 1953
Catholic Hour Offers Prize a contribution towards encouraging the writing of good radio scripts by South Australians, the Catholic Hour Committee has decided to conduct a competition. Entries are invited for radio plays or feature scripts of not more than 30 minutes’ programme time. The programme must be designed to illustrate Christian Ideals in Family Life. A prize of £7/7/- has been donated and will be awarded to the best script if considered of suitable standard for broadcasting.

News February 1946
Radio Play Causes Two Deaths
Adelaide, Tuesday.– Two elderly people died from shock, and doctors in some hospitals in Adelaide were busy throughout to day treating patients suffering from nervous disorders, as a result of last night’s broadcast of a radio play describing an imaginary attack by atomic bombs. It is revealed that when several theatres stopped their shows for an announcement about a broadcast warning of an impending disaster, the audiences fled.

01:21:09 100 Weeks Ago

In 100 Weeks Ago, we hear a snippet from our chat with Max Martin and Nathan Harten from iNform Health and Fitness about the downside of our mobile phones in relation to posture.

Max mentions seeing people at bus stops hunched over phones. With messaging and instagramming, will your audience make time for audio?

01:26:56 Musical Pilgrimage
And our song this week is Why Won’t You Love Me by Timberwolf, selected by our musical curator, Todd Fischer.
01:38:23 Outtake
 The Phoenix Files trailer … Jesus easy tiger … Jenny or Jennifer … Can you clap tonight? … men burp, women vibrate

Here is this week’s preview video:

SFX: Throughout the podcast we use free sfx from for the harp, the visa stamp, the silent movie music, the stylus, the radio signal sfx, the wine pouring and cork pulling sfx, and the swooshes around Siri.

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