Tomorrow, Tuesday 23 September, 11pm – 11:45pm (BST), BBC Radio Four will be running an interactive drama piece called The Dark House.
Produced by theatre/radio director Izzy Mant and sound designer/composer Nick Ryan and written by Mike Walker, it thankfully does not follow the expected, first-generational thinking of interactive drama – the plot reached a junction point, and the story branches in one of a number of paths – but instead gives the listener a chance to influence, via text message or telephone call, which character the audience ‘inhabits’ – Lucy, Kelly or Jim.
The first five minutes set the scene, then every three minutes the SMS and phone votes are collated to determine which character’s point of view is heard next. An alarming sound will signal the switching of the audience from one character’s thoughts to another’s and to listening from the chosen character spacial perspective, as if through their ears.
It is recorded using a binaural recording technique, which the BBC explains as being :-
“Based on the principals of human hearing, binaural recordings are made by placing microphones near the actor’s ears. Those listening on stereo equipment will experience spatialised 3D sound, immersing the listener in the Dark House. The drama recording also involved some sections of improvisation to create a heightened realism in the dark”
Those who are familiar with Phonography will be aware of binaural recording and be aware just how impressive and immersive it can be.
If you aren’t able to hear it when it is broadcast, or you don’t like the audience chosen character perspectives, The Dark House will be available at the site as it was broadcast or for your own manipulation afterwards.
We feel this sounds like an interesting direction to experiment with interactive drama and plan to bring a review to you after the event.