Audio Plays to Take Out and About
While you’re enjoying the Spring weather, on a drive, or commuting, pop on an audio play for a moment of creative joy! Greater Boston’s theatre scene has been shining lately with all kinds of series and pieces across a variety of genres that you can simply pull up wherever you listen to media and press play. Hear your favorite local performers and artists as they create in a new way, and feel how creative sound design can transport you to your own mind’s version of the world of the play.
For more, check out the ArtsBoston Calendar for an extensive look at what’s happening in your local arts scene.
Huntington Theatre Company
These short audio plays reimagine local playwrights’ favorite locations and landmarks in Boston, and paint a picture of what life will look like when we’re able to connect in the “new normal”. Hear a future 4th of July celebration at the MIT Great Dome, a moment between two friends as they take a breath from enjoying nightlife in Fenway, and get transported to Nubian Square where an interaction between two white women on their way to an exercise class will get you thinking about gentrification. The latest episode from playwright Jacqui Parker depicts two sisters, Kenya and Kadesia as they “navigate the “Karens” of the world” on a drive to Nantasket Beach to celebrate the birthday that they share.
Lyric Stage Company
If you’re walking throughout the city, you can experience Boston like you’ve never before by hearing a play that takes place right where you’re taking your footsteps. Four audio plays, by playwrights David Valdes, Miranda Austen ADEkoje, Ginger Lazarus, and Liana Asim, breathe new life into the streets and monuments as you pass by exactly what the characters themselves are surrounded by. New England Theatre Geek says, “The Walking Plays remind us that Boston is our home: our imperfect, crowded, arrogant, entitled, gorgeous, supremely walkable home.” Simply download a map that will guide you on your way, plug in your headphones, and imagine the story unfolding right there with you.
SpeakEasy Stage Company
This audio production of The Usual Unusual by MJ Halberstadt is performed and recorded by local artists. The story centers around a “scrappy and quaint” bookstore where Boston’s LGBTQ+ community has felt at home since the 1970’s. When the store’s charismatic founder Penn (played by Will McGarrahan) announces his retirement, neurotic staff-member Charlie (Eddie Shields) persuades him to pass leadership on, rather than close the store. The staff’s efforts to unite a fractured community under one banner – or simply coordinate a weekly reading night — stoke generational disputes about identity, community, and trauma, and lead to fraught and hilarious results.
From local playwright-director team Erin Lerch and Josh Glenn-Kayden, the Legion Tapes ask us to imagine a post-apocalyptic society in a world where an alien force called the Legion is taking over the world. While nations fall and the very nature of humanity is at stake, the people in this world fight back using the only tool of communication they have: the radio. Each episode takes place as main character Owl records and edits tapes for an archive of what’s happening, and as she continues, she gets closer and closer to the dangers consuming her world. If you want more of this sci-fi extravaganza, a play set in the same world, SHRIKE, was also recently produced at Fresh In Fresh Ink Theatre.
Header photo: Huntington Avenue Theatre, by Beyond My Ken, via Wikimedia Commons
Elena Morris (she/her/hers) is ArtsBoston’s Community Outreach and Marketing Manager. She is a dramaturg and arts administrator passionate about forward-thinking in the arts. Elena holds a BFA in Theatre Arts from Boston University, focusing her studies on dramatic literature and movement.