When Alli Houseworth first told me I was invited to come to the recording for Naked Radio (a program of the NYC-based theatre company Naked Angels) I thought, “Sure. Why not? They might be naked, but they’re angels, so they’re probably nice”. Turns out…not so naked. In fact, NO ONE WAS NAKED. I know what you’re thinking, rip off, right? Well you are wrong, my friends. What started out as an adventure to NYC to see some friends and do something for work that didn’t entail spreadsheets or PDFs quickly became an awesome and valuable learning experience.
To start off, I may have many friends who live in New York, but I have no idea how to get around that city. It should make sense to me, I am a DC girl born and bred and I usually have no trouble navigating cities. But New York…foof. So when my friend Alice offered to escort me there, let’s just say…I jumped on it. After hopping on a couple trains which I could not tell you the name of nor where they go, Alice and I found ourselves wandering down 9th avenue, looking for John Marshall Sound. Right as we were approaching I heard a voice saying my name, and Alli was standing right behind me! She recognized my red suede boots, and thank goodness because I was not going to find that on my own. Alice went on to a pie-off (I KNOW. PIE-OFF), while Alli and I checked through security and found ourselves upstairs amidst many a Naked (but clothed) Radio star. After a while and many names (including Brittany O’Neill, Producer for Naked Radio), we entered the studio.
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I see those recording studios on TV I always picture Mariah Carey blasting impossibly high notes, gripping her headphones and waggling fingers in front of that fancy circular mesh thing and let me tell you guys…IT IS JUST LIKE THAT. I mean, Mariah wasn’t there, but there was a lot of potential for finger waggling. While the actors grabbed scripts and I tried to keep my face from falling off with excitement, Alli, Brittany and I all prepared ourselves with our smartphones to “live-tweet” the experience. We ended up spending over four hours in the studio. I laughed, I cried, I tweeted most of it (check it out at hastag #nakedwoolly). The highlight for me of course was when they needed someone to read two lines AND THEY ASKED ME. I mean okay, it was two lines, but come on. Like I am going to skip the opportunity to waggle. I hopped in there and stared up at the microphone which was probably a good two feet above my head. Enter tech man to lower it for me…..squeaking indignity all the way. But I got my microphone, I got my two lines, and I got some jazz-hand type finger waggles. A star was born.
But I digress. The point of bringing you into the studio with me, of telling you all of this, is to let you know that these plays are really. Effing. Good. I’ll admit I had my doubts. Radio plays? There is a reason no one listens to the radio anymore, even if these are technically for podcasts. How do you reach someone through a radio? Why would you want to give people an excuse to stay at home and be plugged in, listening to a play rather than going to see one at your company? We are all constantly plugged in. I never walk down the street without headphones; I catch myself thinking in Tweets and Facebook statuses (Katie Boyles, What’s on your mind?). I had a friend the other day comment on my Facebook and say he wished Facebook would add more buttons so he could electronically express his emotions about my status without having to type it out. But this is where we’re going; anyone who rides the Metro in the morning knows that, just look at the people around you. There is so little that’s stopping us from becoming entirely robots, why not make cultural experience a little more robotic?
After the recording ended, we headed to a bar for a Naked Radio/Woolly interview where Brittany addressed just that. She explained that she doesn’t know how exactly she feels about it, but for right now what is important is getting it out there. There are a lot of larger questions to ask, but at this moment, her priority is to extend knowledge in whatever means works for society today. I try to push down all my doubts and really think about this, and mainly what I can come up with is…she’s not wrong. Okay, that’s not the strongest statement ever made, but it’s what I have. I got into theater for a lot of reasons and have worked in many different places; I have acted, I’ve stage managed, I’ve directed, I’ve been a theater teacher, and now I am in marketing/communications. Throughout all of this, the one thing that has remained consistent is my belief that theater should always be a means for education. I don’t mean just children, I mean for everyone. While I know there might not be a lot you can learn from a smash 1940s Broadway musical, I want there to always be a type of theater available which you see and makes you think, reflect, and wonder. And that is what Naked Radio is doing for us and future generations: they are making it available. This I think is largely is what will make our “co-prodcasts” so successful. You have Woolly Mammoth, people dedicated to the production of new and “explosive” plays, and then Naked Radio, people bringing their own new and creative works from the stage to “the Digital Airwaves”. It’s a genius plan, even more genius than I think than we knew even sitting in that recording studio, and there’s something almost comforting in that. I may not know about our future robot children (be kind to your dishwasher), but at least I know that there are people out there who are dedicated to bringing audiences something new and are able and willing to evolve.
~Katie Boyles, Marketing Assistant