For the past three years, WVIK and River Action have produced weekly “RiverWayStories,” short radio essays on a broad range of river-related topics. This year, we are building on this collaboration with a series of three-minute podcast plays. Written by local writers, set in local natural places, and featuring local actors, the plays are tiny soundscapes of Quad Cities parks and wild places that audiences can listen to in the very parks and wild places in which the plays are set.
The RiverPlay Podcast Project is partly inspired by an emerging theatrical genre known as Smartphone or podcast plays, defined by director Erin Mee as plays that “take advantage of mobile technology to create site-specific, audio-based theatrical experiences.” Mee is co-artistic director of This is Not a Theater Company, which often sets its productions in unconventional theater spaces—from a pool to the subway to the Staten Island Ferry—and which is a pioneer of the podplay form. Mee has described the unique power of the podcast play to “juxtapose the intimacy of the dialogue spoken right into your ear with the vastness of the site you inhabit.”
We hope that this series will offer listeners the opportunity to develop a more intimate relationship with the Quad Cities’ many parks, while opening their ears and eyes to the vast possibilities of these natural spaces.
This project is supported with Quad City Arts Dollar$ funds, provided by Hubbell-Waterman Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, and John Deere.