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Close Your Eyes, Escape from Images
In college I hosted an audio drama show on the university radio station. I played a mix of show tunes, old school radio dramas, and new radio plays, and I have to say, it was pretty awesome.
Taking three hours out of your day to play a mix of Broadway favorites, and stories told only with voice, foley, and a score was a break from a flood of images we take in each day with modern advertising, movies, TV, and internet.
Sometimes you just want to escape into your mind without being influenced by pictures.
Stereotypes and Bias
Images are everywhere. You don't notice, but images influence your life on a minute-by-minute, second-by-second bases. Bias effects the images you see on TV and on the big screen. Producers of your favorite films know your bias and choose actors and actresses who match the race and ethnicity that you, as an audience, show you trust. This leads to stereotyping, not only on screen, but stereotyping of real people. It creates pain, and in some cases tragic outcomes.
It also creates unequal work opportunities for people of color in TV and Film. As a writer, I've found that writing characters of color has been challenging because once you introduce a character of color, "the audience" for your story is examined as though it has to be a different audience than the mainstream.
There are work opportunities for people of color to play stereotypes, but humanized stories are generally reserved for white actors.
Radio drama is a way to get around this hurdle as a writer, and I've written a Sci-Fi audio drama where most of my characters are people of color.
My Audio Drama
In a future world, we have lost the technology for video/film/picture or recorded image. It is against their religion to draw or be involved with any activity that would lead to the rediscovery of such technology. Districts are separated by professions. This story takes place in the entertainment district, known as The Circus, or CoShow. Justin, a 17-year-old acrobat for Columbus’ show, has just found out that the ringmaster, Columbus, is going to bring back the ancient technology of cinema/TV/Video and turn the camera on his young acrobats. He finds out that Columbus has been picking orphans from The Public who mirror the majority of the public, to perform for him as acrobats. They all have tan skin and curly hair. Justin finds out that Columbus will use the images of his acrobats to control the minds of The Public. The Public will see images that reflect their own, recreating a racial hierarchy, social normalities controlled by consumerism, and a marginalization of lighter skinned, and darker skinned people. Justin’s concern is for Lynda, the lion tamer. She’s a beautiful dark skinned woman who is asked to wear lighter foundation for her performances. Justin finds out that Columbus will introduce Lynda to skin bleaching cream soon, so Justin decides to act now to save her.
Listen to "Columbus Myth" below.