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Hugh Likes Theatre: Six Stories, Told at Night

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Six Stories, Told at Night
Directed by Blair Haynes
Written by KT Bryski
Starring Blythe Haynes, Alexandra Milne, and Isaiah Kolundzic

The Skinny – KT Bryski and Blythe Hayne’s award-winning audio drama shines as an independent theatrical production.

I wrote about Six Stories, Told at Night when it was first podcast back in 2016. Since then, it has gone on to win a Parsec award, and is now a black box theatre production in this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival! The conversion between one-woman audio drama and stage production is outstanding, and the work blossoms under the talents of not one, but three amazing actors.
The story remains largely the same. When Sam’s childhood friend Joelle disappears, she resolves to find her. But Joelle hasn’t gone just anywhere. She’s gone to Elf Land, the world all stories come from, and it will take a very special story for Sam to follow her there. Along the way, Sam examines their relationship and the stories they grew up sharing, a series of French Canadian folktales that are the only clues she has to finding her friend.
“Six Stores” stars Blythe Haynes, the original actor from the audio drama as Sam, and Alexandra Milne as Joelle. They both trade off parts in the stores as well, shifting seamlessly as the present to the past and from Sam’s Imagination and memory to the folktales themselves. Isaiah Kolundzic rounds out the cast as Coyote, as well as any additional male parts as required. The benefit of seeing the drama as a play is seeing the actors bounce against one another, and watching as they slide from role to role, from story to storyteller. Each of them inhabits the stage differently, and the tension, dramatic and personal, sparks off of them.
Haynes, as Sam, is a coiled spring, all still nerves and unspent energy. Milne practically dances across the stage, all grace and calculated action, while Kolundzic is pure chaos as he shifts from Trickster God to werewolf to other, more terrifying monsters.
“Six Stories, Told at Night” is presented at the Theatre Passe Muraille as a part of this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival through July 15th. If you can get to Toronto to see it, go check it out!

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Hugh Likes Podcasts: 2016 Top Five

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Hugh Likes Podcasts: 2016 Top 5

In no particular order, here are my five favorite narrative podcasts of 2016. I listened to a lot this year, and there seemed to be too much to really judge, but these five stood out as gems in the podosphere.

Six Stories Told at Night
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K T Bryski and Blythe Haynes are a dynamic duo of podcast fiction. The writer/narrator pair have worked together on a variety of projects, from the audiobook Heartstealer to the Nightvale-esque Coxwood History Fun Cast. I think this is the apex of their collaboration. A six episode podcast about Canadian Folklore, “Six Stories” blurs the line between myth and reality, story and storyteller, and history and the present. It is an amazing work, commissioned by the Ontario Arts Council.

Gosh-Darn Fiasco
GDF Podcast
A live-roleplay podcast of Bully Pulpit’s Fiasco which started in 2015, this is a mix of roleplaying and improv that works just right for podcast. The episodes are a bit on the long side, with each running at least an hour and often running longer, but hosts Angela Webber and Richard Malena, as well as their recurring guests, are always surprising and hilarious. The playsets are well chosen, and lots of fun. Where else are you going to hear about secret muppets and Antarctic rock bands? No place, that’s where.

Alice Isn’t Dead
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From the creators of “Welcome to Night Vale,” Alice isn’t dead is a one-woman audio drama about the long, strange gaps of rural America, the things that inhabit them, and what, precisely, makes us human. The narrator’s search for her presumed-dead wife, and the strange and terrible things she finds along the way are the stuff of American nightmare, compelling and frightening.

The Hidden Almanac
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A micro-cast written by author and illustrator Ursula Vernon and produced by her husband Kevin Sonney, The Hidden Almanac is a look into the hagiography and domestic garden life of a world not our own. But more precisely, it is the adventures of the long suffering Rev. Mord and his saintly and drunken companion, Pastor Drom. This year they braved the dangers of a library catacomb, fought off an inter-dimensional invasion, and covered a fraught local judiciary election between a revenant used car salesman and a charismatic chicken.  Five minutes a week shouldn’t be this effective, but it is.

The Voice of Free Planet X
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Jared Axelrod continued their run on this highly polished spec-fictional version of This American Life by visiting a city with amnesia, covering a funeral for a pulp heroine, and helping to preside over a rap battle for the fate of the Earth. Jared is an incandescent wit and talent, and I’m just glad they’re on our side.

Hugh Likes Podcasts: Six Stories Told at Night

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Six Stories Told At Night
Produced by K. T. Bryski
Performed by Blythe Haynes
KTBryski.com
sixstories_album
“Six Stories Told at Night” is masterfully written and produced Canadian meta-fiction.  It is the story of Sam and Joelle, two college-age friends in Toronto.  Joelle is an artist and folklorist who suddenly disappears.  Concerned, Sam goes to her apartment and finds a note.  Joelle claims to have left for Fairyland, the place all stories come from.  Sam struggles to find her, using Joelle’s notes and their own personal history as a map.  But getting to Fairyland isn’t the same as getting in, and Joelle has already told her all the stories she knows.
The product of a grant from the Ontario Arts Council, the podcast examines some famous Canadian folktales and the nature of storytelling.  Each episode tells a different Canadian folktale, and also follows Sam as she searches for Joelle and recounts a little bit of their history.  It is effectively and subtly done, always connecting the historical tale to modern characters in a way that doesn’t feel moralistic.
The audio is well-mastered, with editing by Bryski and original music by composer Alex White.  Blythe Hayne’s performances are both fantastical and evocative as she switches between anxious, clipped Ontarian Sam and the languid, artistic Joelle, and between the present, and the past.  Haynes’ voice is as subtle and varied as the story, and the two are an excellent match.  “Six Stories” is a creation perfectly tailored for audio podcast, and it shows in the way that Haynes’ and Bryski’s work mesh so seamlessly.
The tales themselves are a collection of chilling ghost stories and supernatural encounters.  They are a perfect treat for a chilly autumn night.  You can subscribe or listen online to “Six Stories Told at Night” at KTBryski.com.  I highly recommend it.

Thank you for reading this article.  If you enjoyed it, please share it.  You can also support me on Patreon for more writing and podcasts.

Hugh Likes Podcasts: Coxwood History Fun Cast

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Coxwood History Fun Cast
Written and Produced by K. T. Bryski
https://coxwoodhistoryfunpark.wordpress.com/
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Those that don’t learn from history, are doomed.
This is the motto, nay, the mission statement of The Coxwood History Fun Cast, a full-cast audio horror comedy set in the world’s most evil living history museum.  If you liked “Welcome To Night Vale,” but wish it had more hoop skirts and opium dens, this is the podcast for you.
The story centers on the park’s social media rep, Katherine Sinclair.  Ms. Sinclair has it tough.  Her office is a broom closet, her boss is demonically possessed, and the interpreters all make fun of her.  But when disaster strikes, from witches to bloodthirsty groundhog armies, to, worst of all, fundraising, it’s up to her to save the day.  And get a quick podcast recording done as well.
While Coxwood’s production isn’t quite as polished as “Nightvale,” it has just as much humor, wit, and heart.  The oddball characters and farcical situations are brought to life by excellent voice acting, particularly P. C. Herring as one of the opium girls.  The characters have a perfect mix of strangeness and likability that makes this podcast a treat.  Writer and producer K. T. Bryski, (who also voices Katherine,) really knows her stuff, and pours her love of historical interpretation and podcasting into the work.  I especially enjoyed the character of Old Mabel, whose youth and sanity were taken by her own full-cast podcast.  And also moonshine.
The Coxwood History Fun Cast just completed its first season, and at the moment their is no word on a second, but I hope that we get another chance to visit the park, see the ballroom, complete with giant pulsing ball of evil energy, and have tea and authentic 19th century biscuits with the unspeakable horror.  No raisins please, they’re the food of the devil.
You can find the RSS feed HERE, or join the Facebook fan page.