It may be a bit early to declare this, but a similar medium-shifting bomb was dropped when 53 minutes into The Alibi, those creepy cords hit and Sarah Koenig said “Coming up this season, on Serial.”
Before the hour was up, Serial had already grabbed the minds and tongues of America in a way that a podcast had never done before.
Serial is far from the first podcast. It is, after all, a spinoff of the insanely consistent This American Life. Whether it’s The Moth, WTF, or Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, podcasts have been operating with notoriety for some time now, but nothing has reached the cultural spotlight quite like Serial.
Listeners have investigated the crime themselves, some even going as far as to visit the very real locations on the show. Even after the finale, key “characters” are still giving their piece, and the discussion about the case continues. While whether this is a good thing or bad can be debated, what is 100% truth is that for the world of podcasting, this is unprecedented.
Critical Point is a theatre company. I’m an ensemble member, a playwright, a stage actor. When people I know, acquaintances and companions alike, think of who I am as a person, theatrical artist is always one of my defining characteristics. But I need to get something off my chest to all of you.
There is a major problem right now with capital-T Theatre.
The most prominent pieces of theatre in the current American lexicon are all reimaginings of movies or tepid revivals, with stunt casting galore. And even those houses are starting to be empty. Even on Broadway. (Editor’s note: I am still rolling my eyes every time I see the On the Town poster.)
There are still people passionate about the theatre. I see them. I know them. I AM one of them, and even I will admit that the medium can’t seem to find a way to keep people in the seats. I love theatre with all my heart, but it takes far too much effort to find a show worth seeing. A purist would argue that seeing theatre should take effort. It’s a challenging medium, a truly once in a lifetime experience, and as such, should take effort to attend. It’s this kind of thinking that turns people away from the stage.
It hurts me. It hurts me to know that the very one-night-only uniqueness that makes live performance so ephemeral is also what will likely lead to its downfall. Other mediums work to make more content, and all of that content more accessible.
We are storytellers at our core, and with our new broadcast wing, we will provide you the audience with more opportunities to hear CPT’s brand of storytelling in between the development of our stage shows.
Premiering on Valentine’s Day, CPT Broadcasting will launch 5 shows at our onset, each of which explore storytelling from multiple angles. One show might critique the ways stories are told, while another will showcase personal stories from their inception and discovery, and another might present a worked and original finished piece in its entirety. Over the next few weeks, we will be looking into these shows, hearing from the showrunners themselves about what to expect.
We want to invite you into our process and let you experience how we identify, build, and create stories.
Sometimes they will be great, and most times we’ll be learning as we go, but I don’t think it’s unjust for me to be confident when I say,
You ain’t heard nothing yet.