Our intrepid heroes visit the New York Public Library to meet up with visiting literary scholar Merrill Malone, an eccentric and the foremost expert on Virginia Gaskell’s life and work, to get, once and for all, all the answers about the portals. What they don’t realize is that shocking personal revelations and the very ground beneath their feet will alter forever within the library’s seemingly pristine walls. (Running time: 55 minutes, 43 seconds.)

Written, produced, and directed by Edward Champion.

CAST:

Chelsea: Katrina Clairvoyant
Emily McCorkle: Belgys Felix
Professor Malone: Robert Garson
Jenna: Devony DiMattia
Miss Gaskell: Chris Smith
Maya: Tanja Milojevic
Ed Champion: Edward Champion
The Executive: Rachel Matusewicz
Audrey: Amanda Rios
Romero: David Ault
Joe: David Sinkus
The Guard: Graham Rowat
and Zack Glassman as The Receptionist

Incidental music licensed through Neosounds and MusicFox.
Additional music composed by Edward Champion

Sound design, editing, engineering, and mastering by a bald man in Brooklyn who clearly has some corporate identity issues to work out.

Thank you for listening!

Here are some behind-the-scenes photos and videos pertaining to this episode that we made during the more than two years of production we put into the second season.

Behind the Scenes:

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This morning, I recorded with the incredible @theblondebraveheart, who you may remember as Jenna in "Compassion Fatigue." I'll say nothing about what happens, but, as you can see, we do revisit an incident involving an Elizabeth Hardwick book. Fortunately, I had all of Hardwick's volumes on my bookshelves to help zero in on the motivation. I can't say enough great things about Devony's talent and commitment. It was @tim_torre who sent her my way in the first season and I will be forever indebted to him not only his performance in "Hello" but for this terrific referral, which was a tremendous act of generosity for this production. Devony and I carried on as if two weeks had passed rather than two years. I also cast her as another character because she had expressed interest in playing someone of that type. But as Jenna, Devony came prepared and energetic: someone who I can totally trust to give me just as many ideas as I suggest to her. She was such a joy to work with that I really couldn't settle for a performance that didn't contain a few nuances here and there, even on lines that most other people would be happy with. We conjured up a quick backstory entirely based on Devony's instincts as a performer and where she wanted to take the character. And it all happened far faster than either of us expected. One other fun detail: Devony is the third actor in a row who has showed up wearing power boots. Apparently, the women I conjure up are so punk rock that this sartorial detail, arrived at independently by all three, has become a subconscious style choice. And it is one that I consider a great compliment! Anyway, the turn that Jenna takes in the second season will surprise you, if only because Devony very much surprised me! Thank you so much, Devony! #audiodrama #acting #character #surprise #fun #elizabethhardwick #boots #punkrock

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1:30 am. Nolita. I was restless. I HAD to get this out of me. So I holed up in a bar and whaddya know? I finished a 150 page draft of the season finale. It will definitely need a rewrite, but you're NOT going to see this crazy ending coming! Certainly it surprised the hell out of me. Thus ends the very labor-intensive and time-consuming "creating stories out of nothing" stage of Season 2. I'm a little delirious right now, but quite happy to begin the revisions over the weekend! Once I get this script in shape, we record the rest. And I can finally devote myself full-time to editing and releasing. Many thanks to my incredible cast for their faith and patience! This is going to be fun and weird! #writing #audiodrama #latenight #creative #script #nolita #fun #weird

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This morning, I had a super fun recording session with @devonydimattia, who is always a joy to work with! In this scene, her character (Jenna from "Compassion Fatigue") is dealing with an eccentric professor. Two pages in, Devony had the character down. Five pages in, we were coming up with so many layers that I really felt we had exceeded what was there on the page. Also, the funniest part of today was that I actually got a better performance out of Devony when I read the lines in the voice of Ricardo Montalban from STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN, proving that impersonating Khan is strangely useful in the production of audio drama. Thank you so much, Devony, for once again being so marvelous! #audiodrama #character #acting #act #recording #startrek #khan #professor #library #character #voiceover #performance

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I had a very fun time this afternoon recording some season finale stuff with @katrinaclairvoyant and @devonydimattia! These two are always a blast to work with! What's great about these dual actor sessions is the way you discover details about characters by the way they bounce off each other. For today, I definitely needed that social energy. Because there are a lot of people in this scene! In this case, both Devony and Katrina found opportunities to inject some unexpected humor into these characters. I also noticed that both characters started mimicking their respective tics, almost sizing each other up, but said little (although I did laugh a lot), letting the two figure it out on their own and planting little seeds for why they might be feeling a certain way. You always want to guide actors gently, giving them just enough to imagine so that they can always surprise you. And these two certainly did! #acting #audiodrama #voiceover #collective #recording #drama #theatre #character #roles #humor #dimension #guide #seeds #imagination

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I had a blast this morning with the incredible @robgarson, who came seemingly out of nowhere and perfectly encapsulated the role of an eccentric professor who has big clues about the Virginia Gaskell mystery. In addition to being a very smart and hilariously energetic man, Rob is also a fine mimic of many UK dialects. He was incredibly easy and very fun to work with and this was one of those sessions where we both fed each other little nuances about the character, who I wanted to be somewhat stylized but nevertheless real. This is actually the other side of the scene clip I put up with @devonydimattia a few weeks ago. And this very goofy scene is truly going to be a lot of fun when I stitch this all together. Thank you so much Rob! #audiodrama #acting #recording #voiceover #character #british #professor #actors #session #fun #mimic #drama #background

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Emily McCorkle has landed the media appearance of a lifetime: a guest spot on the most respected talk show in America. But why is the host so concerned with her private details? And why are so many skeletons from her past making guest appearances? And who is the strange man with the hot dogs? (Running time: 38 minutes, 1 second.)

Written, produced, and directed by Edward Champion.

CAST:

Emily McCorkle: Belgys Felix
Ophelia Kakanakis: Carol Jacobanis
June: Monica Ammerman
The Fajita Demon: Pete Lutz
The Cunning Demon: Leanne Troutman
Morris Pressman: David Tao
Jimmy Markson: Heath Martin
Johnson: Hilah Hadaway
Emily’s Mom: Melissa Medina
Emily’s Dad: David Sirkus
Chelsea: Katrina Clairvoyant
Maya: Tanja Milojevic
Ed Champion: Edward Champion
Reporter #1: Glenn Bulthius
Reporter #2: Alice Fox
and Zack Glassman as The Receptionist

Creature Voices by Samantha Cooper and Rachel Baird

Incidental music licensed through Neosounds and MusicFox.
Additional music composed by Edward Champion.

Sound design, editing, engineering, and mastering by a bald man in Brooklyn who has become a TikTok junkie seemingly against his will.

Thank you for listening

If you’d like to support this independent audio production and learn more about how we made it, for only $20, you can become a Season 2 Subscriber! You’ll get instant access to all episodes as we finish them — months before release. Plus, you’ll get access to exclusive interviews and more than 400 minutes of behind-the-scenes commentary! Here are some behind-the-scenes photos and videos pertaining to this episode that we made during the more than two years of production we put into the second season.

Behind the Scenes:

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Part of my writing process involves performing all the dialogue out loud to make sure that it works. Rhythm, zest, and real emotion are all very important and this is really the only way to get it right! My bedroom is the venue for these strange one man shows (although I have sometimes taken these on the road to friends' houses to get feedback — one of my S2 stories caused a roomful of people who nudged me to read it to mist up, which was a huge surprise). I'm getting closer to finishing the season finale and here's a bit from it — oddly enough, this part was inspired by the idea of a two woman version of MY DINNER WITH ANDRE with a huge moral question at the center! I'm taking quite a few risks with this story and I hope I pull it off! (Incidentally, I watched MY DINNER WITH ANDRE three times before writing this section.) #writing #performing #dialogue #rhythm #zest #passion #art #mydinnerwithandre

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This morning, I recorded with the mighty @monica.ammerman. who is also working on a new web series called @someonenew.theseries. I met Monica in an improv class a few years back, knew that she had comedic chops, and cast her in Seaaon 1 as Henrietta, Queen of the Knights, in "Loopholes " But I also had the sense that she could do drama very well. Comedic actors are often underestimated and frequently untapped on this front and I'm the type of guy who likes to cast actors based on what others DON'T see. But Monica, who is super great to work with, brought a lot of wonderful understatement to this character that had me seeing how quietly courageous she was. Nuance that the two of us tweaked together. Monica inspired me to get us asking questions about this character's religious upbringing. And this turned out to be a fun and marvelous recording session! Thank you so much, Monica, for going along for the ride! This is a very bold and experimental story and I'm grateful to have such keen collaborators unpacking the emotional ambiguities, which are essential to creating something that packs a punch! Here's a clip of us layering a short monologue about forgiving people. The take we ended up using (not this one) is incredible! #audiodrama #acting #character #background #nuance #ambiguity #subtlety #dimension #comedy #drama #improv #forgiveness #monologue

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It's a wrap! Pardon my bad angle. But the Six Week Push is now at an end! Aside from some remote files I'm waiting on and a July weekend session, I have all of Season 2 in the can! Some 550 GB were recorded in the last year and a half. 120 speaking roles. 1,000 pages of script. Now I have to edit this thing. Many thanks to my stupendously talented cast, who brought so many surprising interpretations to these colorful characters and helped me to become a more daring and instinctive director. Pictured here are @belgys_felix and @caroljacobanis, who both did a terrific job recording today. Now I'm going to lie down for a bit! #wrap #production #audiodrama #recording #voiceover #actors #acting

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Months after the events of “Paths Not Taken,” Chelsea is working hard to turn a corner and improve her life. But when Emily McCorkle, the smear merchant journalist who severely damaged her reputation, returns to write a followup piece, Chelsea is thrown into a jarring maelstrom that involves demons, people from her past, and the possibility of redemption. (Running time: 32 minutes, 22 seconds.)

Written, produced, and directed by Edward Champion.

CAST:

Chelsea: Katrina Clairvoyant
Emily McCorkle: Belgys Felix
Maya: Tanja Milojevic
Morris Pressman: David Tao
Ed Champion: Edward Champion
Alicia: Elizabeth Rimar
Johnson: Hilah Hillaway
The Fajita Demon: Pete Lutz
The Cunning Demon: Leanne Troutman
Lucinda: Emily Carding
Mrs. Gelding: Westlake Stark
and Zack Glassman as The Receptionist

Creature Voices by Samantha Cooper and Rachel Baird

Incidental music licensed through Neosounds and MusicFox.
Additional music composed by Edward Champion.

Sound design, editing, engineering, and mastering by a bald man in Brooklyn who does his best to resist mayonnaise but can’t entirely fight the allure for a good tuna sandwich.

Thank you for listening!

If you’d like to support this independent audio production and learn more about how we made it, for only $20, you can become a Season 2 Subscriber! You’ll get instant access to all episodes as we finish them — months before release. Plus, you’ll get access to exclusive interviews and more than 400 minutes of behind-the-scenes commentary! Here are some behind-the-scenes photos and videos pertaining to this episode that we made during the more than two years of production we put into the second season.

Behind the Scenes:

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This morning, we had our first recording session of Week 2 on this six week push to get the rest of Season 2 recorded — with @hilahbelle! Hilah is in real estate. And I had a brief role as a corporate tyrant that I knew she'd be great for. My instincts were on the money! The funny thing about this session was that she was so intense and committed to the role that she didn't laugh at my jokes! But then she started busting up late in the session and told me later that she was a bit nervous because she hadn't done anything like this before. So all good! I brought out her quirks and she did great! Thank you Hilah! #audiodrama #acting #character #recording #session #audio #voiceover #corporate #tyranny #realestate

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A SUPER fun recording session today with the magnificent @belgys_felix. So here's the story of how Belgys landed this role. I saw Belgys in a play written and directed by @katrinaclairvoyant (who appears as a regular in Season 2). During the performance, Belgys singled me out in the audience, playing a demon, and walked right up to me! I began making funny faces at her to see if I could throw her off, but Belgys not ONCE broke character. And I was so impressed with this — and her performance — that I asked if she was interested in playing what was then a small role for a story I was in the process of writing. The plan was to kill off the character. But as the story evolved, I just couldn't bring myself to do this and the character grew — in some rather wild and bold and experimental ways. And I kept thinking about what Belgys could do as an actor and I said, "Oh yeah. She can do it." And Belgys, to her great credit, went along with this as I filled her in on this unexpected development and told her that the role was STILL hers. This morning, when I asked her about the character, she had clearly worked out a backstory and knew the psychology as well as I did! When we table read, she had worked out a funny Rosalind Russell journalist voice, for which we developed a further backstory. And amazingly, despite having only three hours, we managed to knock out 41 pages today! I'm so glad I took a chance on Belgys. She was so much fun in this role. We have two more days with her and this was such a great start! Lots of fun. Very much an homage to Howard Hawks. Thank you, Belgys! #audiodrama #recording #drama #theatre #recording #character #journalist #actor #acting #character #voice #voiceover #demon #howardhawks #reporter

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Just finished recording the last of @glassmanegerie's lines for the season! We were sure to send the Receptionist off with a big Tony Danza moment (he is, after all, a big fan!). My huge gratitude to Zack for owning this role beyond my wildest dreams and imbuing this eccentric character with such joy and life! Zack has been a tremendous pleasure to work with! I've watched him become more subtle and inventive over the year and a half we've recorded this. He truly is a treasure. Thank you Zack for all that you do! I'm so glad you happened to be in my improv class a few years ago. (Damn. Now I'm misting up a bit. But I have breakfast to make for the next session!) #acting #audiodrama #character #receptionist #actors #tonydanza #exuberant #joy #fun #recording #voiceover #performance #theatre

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I finished Day 1 recording the last big piece of Season 2 with the incredibly committed and stupendously talented Tanja Milojevic. After this, it really comes down to a few dozen remote lines that I'm waIting on from two actors remotely. But we're now 99.99% there! It was 98 degrees outside. Plus I actually had to act opposite as the Ed Champion character with some serious emotions (related to the season finale) AND direct! (Somehow I forgot about the first part!) But we knocked out nearly 40 pages and we are somehow ahead of schedule — largely because Tanja and I got on a roll and I wanted to make Day 2 easier, especially given the heat! I'm thrilled that Tanja is the last major part I needed to record for this. She is truly a voiceover treasure and, as always, had so many fascinating takes. In one case, I completely altered the tone of a scene due to Tanja's performance and we created a very funny and subtly comic backstory beneath the dialogue. Which is when you know it's going very well! #audiodrama #voiceover #acting #character #postproduction #production #almostfinished

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Pat Goras and Lucy Didas are a happy couple living in a fantastical suburban realm preparing for a delightful dragon brisket barbeque with their neighbors. But when a strange portal opens in their backyard, their lives and roles become permanently altered within the very Gray Area itself! (Running time: 20 minutes, 54 seconds)

Written, produced, and directed by Edward Champion.

CAST:

Pat Goras/The Fajita Demon: Pete Lutz
Lucy Didas/The Cunning Demon: Leanne Troutman
The Neurotic Demon: Melissa Medina
The Counting Demon: Vlasto Pejic
The Angsty Demon: Nick Boesel
Miss Gaskell: Chris Smith
and Zack Glassman as The Receptionist

Creature Voices by Samantha Cooper and Rachel Baird

Incidental music licensed through Neosounds and MusicFox.
Additional music composed by Edward Champion

Sound design, editing, engineering, and mastering by a bald man in Brooklyn who once considered reciting Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham in Latin.

Thank you for listening!

Behind the Scenes:

In 1911, a young British gentleman dukes it out against the austere whims of his Edwardian-minded father. But two travelers reveal that his role in the universe is much bigger than he could have ever imagined. (Running time: 15 minutes, 16 seconds.)

Written, produced, and directed by Edward Champion.

CAST:

Thomas: Philip O’Gorman
Ramirez: Charly Saccocio
Harris: Michael Saldate
Malone: Robert Garson
The Guard: Graham Rowat
and Zack Glassman as The Receptionist

Sound design, editing, engineering, and mastering by a bald man in Brooklyn who lost a drinking bet and spent an entire day singing “Where Are the Lads of the Village Tonight?”

Thank you for listening!

Behind the Scenes:

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A super fun recording session this afternoon. with the amazing @passthehotsauceplease. We gallantly fought construction noises, Mack trucks, a flimsy AC adapter on my main unit that decided to go kerblooey (and that I now have to replace! Thank goodness I have two backup units!), sirens, and more crazed noises than you can imagine. But Charly is super fun to work with and she's really owning this role, which started off with the proposition "What if Han Solo were a woman?" and became something else entirely! It also turns out that, aside from me divulging the embarrassing details of bad dates to help with emotional context (I will reveal ANYTHING to get a performance!), directors named John (in this case, Hughes and Carpenter) are also very useful shorthand when you're recording a darkly comic story about a pair of roguish bounty hunters from the future! I truly can't wait for you to hear this. This story is very fun! And there have been a lot of laughs. Also, Charly has, much to my supreme honor, become a formidable scholar of the Gray Area mythos. I told her about the finale twist and she said Ooh!" and she said her head had exploded. I'm truly blessed to work with such wonderful and talented actors! Thank you so much Charly! #audiodrama #acting #character #hansolo #fun #recording #voiceover #bountyhunter #spaceopera #johncarpenter #johnhughes

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Genius writer Virginia Gaskell fends off boredom (and the Receptionist’s peppy interventions) while trapped in the waiting room, but a number of unexpected new visitors provide vital new clues to her purpose and journey. (Running time: 21 minutes, 43 seconds.)

Written, produced, and directed by Edward Champion.

CAST:

Miss Gaskell: Chris Smith
Audrey: Amanda Rios
Romero: David Ault
The Fajita Demon: Pete Lutz
The Cunning Demon: Leanne Troutman
The Traveler: Jared Raman
and Zack Glassman as The Receptionist

Incidental music licensed through NeoSounds

Sound design, editing, engineering, and mastering by a bald man in Brooklyn who sometimes chats with the soft-spoken frozen peas that are parked in his freezer.

Thank you for listening!

Behind the Scenes:

Listen to our Inside the Gray Area commentary.

Zack and Ed practicing the Small Wonder theme (fair use and oprhaned, according to our legal adviser!)

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Last recording session of the week! (Number six!) @therealcsmith was one of the first people I worked with on the first season as Virginia Gaskell, a character very dear to me and based on my late grandmother. And it's always so much fun to work with Chris, who I hadn't seen in a while. Her warmth, subtle humor, and limitless kindness are such vital qualities for Miss Gaskell, who represents the underlying morality I'm ultimately exploring with this project. I am so grateful to have her on board! Chris had me innovating on a monosyllabic form of direction which cracked the two of us up. This episode is a sequel to "Waiting Room" and sets up the very big epic story twist that has thrilled the cast and that I can't tell you about! 🙂 #audiodrama #casting #actor #morality #genius #writer #acting #recording #tape #typewriter #story #twist

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During the Season 2 sessions, we recorded this bold adaptation of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s famous short story with many of our Gray Area regulars. This radio play honors the text, but is set in the present day, addressing #metoo and the oppressive demands upon women.. (Running time: 32 minutes)

Written, produced, and directed by Edward Champion
Adapted from the Charlotte Perkins Gilman short story

CAST:

The Woman: Katrina Clairvoyant and Nicole Papadopoulos
John: Zack Glassman
Jenie: Devony DiMattia
The Child: Devony DiMattia
The Wallpaper: Pete Lutz
The Guests: Michael Saldate, Charly Saccocio, and Edward Champion
The Voice: Carol Jacobanis
Mary: Belgys Felix
The Nurse: Argyria Kehagias

Sound design, editing, engineering, and mastering by a bald man in Brooklyn who reads too many books.

Music licensed through Musicfox.

Image licensed through Getty.

Thank you for listening!

If you’d like to support this independent audio production and learn more about how we made it, for only $20, you can become a Season 2 Subscriber! You’ll get instant access to all episodes as we finish them — months before release. Plus, you’ll get access to exclusive interviews and more than 400 minutes of behind-the-scenes commentary! Here are some behind-the-scenes photos and videos pertaining to this episode that we made during the more than two years of production we put into the second season.

Behind the Scenes:

In the final part of the “Paths” saga, Chelsea and Maya struggle in their forties to keep their relationship alive as they initiate a fateful but necessary Thanksgiving meeting with Maya’s grandfather — a stubborn and “old-fashioned” World War I historian. Meanwhile, the disastrous political trajectory of the parallel universe encroaches upon deeply personal and deeply fatal territory. (Running time: 84 minutes, 55 seconds)

Written, produced, and directed by Edward Champion

CAST:

Chelsea: Katrina Clairvoyant
Maya: Tanja Milojevic
Grandpa: J.K. McCauley
Grandma: Julie Chapin
The DJ: Peter Coleman
Emma: Colette Thomas
Alicia: Elizabeth Rimar
Scarlett: Jessica Cuesta
GPS: Carol Jacobanis
Thomas: Phillip O’Gorman
The Guard: Graham Rowat
Rick: Michael Hisry
The Detective: Phillip Merritt
News Leeches: Pete Lutz, David Nagel, Morgan Corcoran, and Edward Champion
and Zack Glassman as The Receptionist

Additional Voices: Dylan Reed and Christian Caminiti

German Consultant: Vincent Fallow

Sound design, editing, engineering, and mastering by a bald man in Brooklyn who will instantly sing numerous Paul Williams songs if you mention The Phantom of the Paradise to him in person.

The “Paths Not Taken” songs were written and performed by Edward Chmpion

Incidental music licensed through Neosounds and MusicFox.

Thank you for listening!

Behind the Scenes:

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Today I recorded one of the most emotionally intense scenes of the second season with J.K. McCauley, a subtly savvy talent who instantly understood that this character was both very real and hyper real. The man had loads of dialogue — dialogue that is among some of the most hardcore I've ever written. And he soldiered on to my great gratitude. (I didn't want to exhaust him!) But his instincts allowed me to see that what I was really doing with this character is renouncing some part of me I don't live with anymore. The hell of it is that J.K. recently returned to acting after a long absence and offered the most eccentric read out of all who auditioned. He was excellent and different and I am so glad I took a chance here. However, I was a bit alarmed by the recognition and, as grueling as it was to unknowingly hold up a mirror to some dark part of me I didn't know I had to contend with, we still had a lot of laughs. Thank you! #acting #audiodrama #darkhalf #character #truth #art

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This afternoon, the marvelous Peter Coleman, a really good guy who I had the great pleasure of meeting in an improv class, returned to record new material for The Gray Area. You may recall him as the DJ in "Brand Awareness." I will not divulge how he factors into Season 2. But I will say this: when we recorded last time, I got the sense that Peter, who largely plays comedic roles, had A LOT more range as an actor and that there was a serious part of him that I hoped to gently draw out. So I wrote a scene specifically with this in mind, knowing that Peter could pull it off, in part because he is highly specific about context and line meaning. (And in fact, knowing this, I urged him during our session today to push back against my own view of the story, because I also knew that he would have some interesting interpretation ideas. Sure enough, he did!) The result was an instinctively smart and a very moving performance. I did my best to inject more empathy into Peter's performance and Peter, in turn, graciously called me out on my own motivations. These are the types of collaborations I really, really dig. Because being surprised is how we get closer to making something new and different. I'm thrilled and very honored that Peter has been a part of The Gray Area. Thank you so much, Peter, for fitting me into your busy schedule! #audiodrama #acting #motivation #character #recording #instinct #collaboration

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We did it! The incredible @katrinaclairvoyant and I wrapped months of recording this afternoon, finishing up her final scenes in this incredibly epic tale in which she stars. It was, of course, quite necessary to pop open the champagne. There was great joy, a bit of sadness, and, above all, the sense that we had gone through an incredible journey together. I wrote this character with every emotion I had in my heart and Katrina always surprised me every day she came in, finding new angles on this character and always using her instincts to flesh her out further. I cannot conceive of any other actor for this role. My considerable gratitude to Katrina for knocking this out of the park and for her great commitment to this role. This was one of the most incredible and fortuitous artistic collaborations I have had the honor and the pleasure to experience. And I can't wait to see how this comes together. Thank you so much, Katrina! #audiodrama #acting #champagne #character #fun #commitment #real #drama

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I just finished a very quick evening session with @mikey_hizy, who squares off against @ogorman.pp in the final scene of the epic Season 2 story! I met Michael through @lit_karaoke (who ALSO said he wanted to be in this, but DIDN'T return my message when I offered him a role — what's the deal, sir? Are you all talk? 🙂 ) and I was immediately impressed with his fine speaking and singing voice. You can learn a lot about an actor by singing karaoke and improvising with him! I had one quick role that I forgot to cast, but then I thought, "Michael! Of course!" Well, Michael was great. He was the first actor to memorize the lines (totally unnecessary for audio drama!). But I steered him towards his instincts and this was very fun. Thanks again, Michael! #audiodrama #acting #audiodrama #character #barbeque #karaoke #voiceover #recording #session #audio

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Back in the original universe, Scarlett and Alicia contend with another version of Chelsea and conjure up a plan to get the two Chelseas back in their respective universes as they face the danger of a seemingly innocent benefactor gone rogue. (Running time: 24 minutes.)

Written, produced, and directed by Edward Champion

CAST:

Chelsea: Katrina Clairvoyant
Alicia: Elizabeth Rimar
Scarlett: Jessenia Cuesta
Jan Swillson: Ingeborg Reidmeier
and Zack Glassman as The Receptionist

Sound design, editing, engineering, and mastering by a bald man in Brooklyn who holds open doors for people just before he enters a happening establishment.

The “Paths Not Taken” songs were written and performed by Edward Chmpion

Incidental music licensed through Neosounds and MusicFox.

Image licensed through Getty.

Thank you for listening!

If you’d like to support this independent audio production and learn more about how we made it, for only $20, you can become a Season 2 Subscriber! You’ll get instant access to all episodes as we finish them — months before release. Plus, you’ll get access to exclusive interviews and more than 400 minutes of behind-the-scenes commentary! Here are some behind-the-scenes photos and videos pertaining to this episode that we made during the more than two years of production we put into the second season.

Behind the Scenes:

In this “screwball cyberpunk” episode, it’s 2023. Labor camps, a sinister government, and significant civil unrest rollick the world outside. But within the secret chambers of the multibillion tech company Apotheosis, an optimistic entrepreneur named Jill Swanson, who names her engineers after 1930s comedy film directors, sits on a secret that may just save the world. (Running time: 72 minutes)

Written, produced, and directed by Edward Champion

CAST:

Jan Swillson: Ingeborg Reidmeier
Lane Veldt: Adriano La Rocca
Brianna: Samantha Cooper
Jenna: Devony DiMattia
Rochford: Rachel Baird
The Executive: Rachel Matusewicz
Mutt: David McCall
Jeff: Matthew Rini
Preston: Richard Rose
Sturges: Len Nash
La Cava: Luvelle Pierre
Hawks: David Perez-Ribada
News Anchor: Carol Jacobanis:
Amelia: Monica Ammerman
Protester #1: Nicholas Boesel
Protester #2: Khaz Benyahmeen
The Preacher: Peter Andrews
and Zack Glassman as The Receptionist

Creature Voices: Samantha Cooper and Rachel Baird

Sound design, editing, engineering, and mastering by a bald man in Brooklyn who has a ridiculously enormous crush on D’Arcy Carden for her magnificent smarts and great talent.

The “Paths Not Taken” songs were written and performed by Edward Champion

Incidental music licensed through Neosounds and MusicFox.

Image licensed through Getty.

Thank you for listening!

If you’d like to support this independent audio production and learn more about how we made it, for only $20, you can become a Season 2 Subscriber! You’ll get instant access to all episodes as we finish them — months before release. Plus, you’ll get access to exclusive interviews and more than 400 minutes of behind-the-scenes commentary! Here are some behind-the-scenes photos and videos pertaining to this episode that we made during the more than two years of production we put into the second season.

Behind-the-Scenes:

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Today, I recorded 27 pages with the delightful and wonderfully talented @ingeborgie. I also recorded with her on Tuesday and will be recording with her again next week! Our challenge is to get all her lines recorded before she is unavailable next month! And we're definitely going to do it, thanks to some nimble logistics from both of us. You may remember Ingeborg from "Buddies for Hire," which won a Parsec Award. Well, her character is coming back in a very prominent way. And that's all I'm going to say. But I need to reiterate why Ingeborg is so awesome and why I love working with her (and why I will do so again once I get around to Season 3!). I can give her a note and she will always find some incredibly subtle way of not only implementing it into the framework we've established, but nailing it without me having to layer it further with another note. Indeed I got so caught up in paying close attention and nurturing Ingeborg's performance today that, when I was performing the other lines, I became a little exuberant and knocked over a music stand. I really can't wait to finish this story. Ingeborg revealed aspects of this character that I did not see and inspired me to do some very modest rewrites of a few lines on the spot! Thank you Ingeborg! You are wonderful, a pure joy to work with, and I am blessed to have you on this production! #acting #audiodrama #directing #performance #notes #voiceover #recording

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Rough demo of Season 2 song.

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It's 90 degrees and today is a two session day! But I got off to an incredible start with @caroljacobanis, a veteran actor with a TRULY impressive list of voiceover credits (including POKEMON!) and a voice that I feel obliged to compare to a cheerful deity. I was truly honored that Carol strongly connected to the material and, like so many of the cast members, seemed to come out of nowhere. Her character is modeled partially on Fenella Fielding, the brassy Village announcer in Patrick Mcgoohan's THE PRISONER. And she was tons of fun to work with. I was so stunned by how great she was that I had to remember to keep my director's hat on and do fine tweaks to make sure we retained little satirical subtleties and callbacks to other stories. But honestly I didn't have to do much, other than to remind Carol that not one of my characters is one note and make suggestions to go wild and big at times. Thank you so much, Carol. You are a serious powerhouse! #audiodrama #acting #recording #voiceover #character #theprisoner #fenellafielding #village

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Today, the magnificent @ingeborgie (joined by the always terrific @glassmanegerie) returned to the studio as a version of Jill Swanson, the villain from "Buddies for Hire." Of this new character iteration, I can say nothing other than note the truly strange emotional poignancy of today's scenes. I learned much about the interplay between these two characters that I did not know and I have Zack and Ingeborg, both incredibly kind and committed collaborators who I am grateful to have as part of this project, to thank for this. Especially since this is such an enormous script I'm recording! They are true troupers! Thank you, Zack and Ingeborg! #acting #audiodrama #emotions #recording #fun #unexpected

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This morning, I was incredibly honored and delighted to work with @dramamatt, who beat out many dozen actors to land a character in a story set in the near future. I was struck immediately by how funny and distinct Matt was in conveying this character's very subtle and layered neurosis. And it was very difficult to stifle my laughter while recording. At one point, I gave Matt his big moment by saying, "Okay, on this line, you are the most confident coward in the world." Sure enough, Matt rose to the challenge quite well! This was yet another one of those fun sessions in which I so enjoyed it that I was a bit sad when we ran out of lines. But I was very happy to include Matt on this epic story and his invaluable contributions have really added to a vivacious and hilarious dynamic that is unlike anything else I have recorded! Thank you Matt! #audiodrama #recording #acting #character #neurosis #magic #dynamic #fun

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Today, the glorious @larocca_cola returned to The Gray Area to record new dialogue. You may remember him as Venall from "Brand Awareness." But is he the same character? Well, you'll have to wait until the show gets released. But let's just say that there are big payoffs for anyone keeping close tabs and that interconnectedness is a prominent part of this entire series! I will say that Adrian was once again a joy to work with. He actually inspired me to articulate minute details of this character's philosophy that came entirely from his own subtle and instinctive interpretation of the script. Qualities I didn't know were there! The more we recorded, the better Adrian got. And so I gently pushed him (but not, most importantly, at the expense of his energy!) to be more real and, in one case, unexpectedly poignant about the mercenary self-delusion his character possesses. This role is a bit of a departure from what we established in the first season, but Adrian was very much up to the challenge and I knew he had it in him. And for this, I am tremendously grateful to Adrian for fitting me into his crazy schedule. Thank you Adrian! #acting #recording #audiodrama #character #real #subtle #fun

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This morning, I had the great pleasure of recording with the incredibly kind and very talented @maviddccall, who was tremendously funny in this role. I met David in my Improv 401 class and he was one of the shining stars, a true inspiration to me with his zest and performance and also the way that he looked out for everybody. Thankfully, he was nice enough to sign on for my madness and he more than delivered, cracking me up so much that I really had to confine my convulsions within my chest so that none of my laughter would escape onto tape! I really wanted to make sure that his great gusto came through. So at one point, I said, "Okay, this is your TMZ moment!" And he offered numerous variations on this broad note that were all incredibly funny. David is truly one of the most generous actors I've ever worked with. And I am deeply grateful to him for taking the time out to record material for this epic tale! Thank you David! You are awesome! #acting #audiodrama #recording #character #fun #improv #comedy

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Today I got to record with the very tall and very funny Len Nash. He was an immense pleasure to work with! Strangely enough, he's the second actor from Tennessee in these scenes. But the talented thespians from Tennessee really seem to GET this story for some reason. Len is one of those actors who has what I like to call a 75% instinct, meaning that he's pretty much there with his inventive interpretation and it's your job as a director to coax out the remaining 25%, suggesting ideas and fine tuning a line with a light note. He absolutely got the subtle surrogate family nuance I sneaked into this scene. And he truly cracked me up as we injected more layers with this character. I definitely want to work with him again! Thank you so much Len for being so fun and easygoing! This is the last week (Week 21!) of recording Phase I of Season 2 and a wonderful way to start the week! #acting #audiodrama #character #Tennessee #recording #instinct

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WE JUST COMPLETED PHASE I OF RECORDING! HOLY FRIJOLE! This morning, I recorded with veteran character actor Richard Rose, a very talented and super nice guy! And get this. He is ALSO from Tennessee. That makes three of the six key actors in this tale from Tennessee. Anyway, Richard was excellent. Great fun to work with. He has a beautifully sonorous old time radio voice (and some background in old school radio). And we played this up by imbuing this comic character with a misplaced dignity that had the two of us laughing and that works beautifully with the ensemble nature of the piece. Honestly, returning to formalist roots while experimenting with new forms was the perfect way to close these sessions. And I am deeply grateful to Richard for being a good sport and riffing hilariously from some of my goofy notes. Thank you Richard! And now I'm going on vacation, thoroughly confused that my weird life of recording with dozens of incredibly cool actors is (for now anyway — until Phase II begins later in the year!) over. Let the editing begin! But first, vacation! Supreme gratitude to the brilliant and incredibly accomplished cast. This year has been a blast, one of the best creative periods I have ever had in my life, and I can't wait to finish and release these stories! #audiodrama #acting #character #comedy #performance #gratitude #Tennessee #recording #vacation

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This morning, two incredibly talented "Loopholes" cast members — @samanthafcooper and @rachelbaird18 — returned to record an action-packed scene in another Season 2 story! I have been introducing more multiple actor recording sessions this season — in large part because, aside from being a lot of fun, having actors in the same room really brings out unpredictable chemistry, which also makes ad libbing quite fun. Sam and Rachel are both a great joy to work with and I knew that they would both connect with each other very well! Sure enough, they did, which was important for their two characters. And because these two have such gloriously distinctive voices, I had them do some creature work for a beast that you will come to know in the second season. I would give each of them a situation, point to one of them, then point to the other and have the other mimic the first sound, and then reset the idea, doing the same thing in reverse. I am immensely grateful to these two incredible women for their energy and commitment on a very zany tale that I also happen to be editing right now! Thank you, Sam and Rachel! #acting #audiodrama #character #creature #improv #fun #chemistry #recording

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It was one of the noisiest days ever! Recalcitrant neighbors blasting music, endless cars, men on the street who pretended it was the weekend and chattered long and loud. But persistence pays off! We kept moving the mic around the apartment and @ingeborgie and I recorded all the lines! Ingeborg totally crushed it. And we worked to give her character some subtle quirks (one involving John Hughes!). Ingeborg cracks me up. This was so much fun that I wish I had more dialogue just to find a way to keep working with her this season. But all good things must come to an end. Thank you so much, Ingeborg, for bringing this character to life! More dimension than I even imagined! I have great plans in place for Season 3! And I can't wait to finish this wild and thrilling story!#audiodrama #acting #character #recording #noise #persistence #creative #fun #happt

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Today I recorded again with the magnificent @larocca_cola. He previously appeared in "Buddies for Hire" and, much like @ingeborgie, his role may or may not be related to the previous character! That is all I will say at this time. Adrian is such a fun and easygoing fellow that, once we got into the groove of the character, he killed it. Lots of great energy, spontaneous tics he brought that I weaved into the whole! He absolutely detected one very careful nuance to the scene that I deliberately planted. And he knew just what questions to ask, which inspired me to invent a paradoxical ideology for the character on the spot that was also there, but that I somehow missed in the script until we started recording. (This is why actors are so amazing. You often don't realize how layered your story is until you record!) I liked working with Adrian so much last season that I deliberately wrote the character playing to Adrian's untapped strengths. His instincts are incredibly savvy when it comes to what is sincere and insincere. And he inspired me so much that, at one point, I sang "If I Only Had a Heart" in Jack Haley style after a tic. This is going to be a very exciting story! Thank you again, Adrian! I am so honored and delighted to work with you! #acting #audiodrama #character #thewizardofoz #tics #human #behavior #recording #fun #performance

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A super fun evening recording session with the marvelous @lehcarraquel! Rachel is super committed and wonderfully energetic, a thrill to work with! A crazy storm started kicking in as Rachel got more into it! And I think the elements may have understood the drama we were layering! I cannot say anything about her role, but this clip should give you a nice taste. Let's just say that Shakespeare and James Bond were key guides to fleshing out this juicy character. And I think I may have unwittingly introduced her to the amazing and awesome Caroline Munro! Thank you Rachel! #acting #character #audiodrama #actor #theatre #shakespeare #jamesbond #carolinemunro #kubelik #theapartment #recording #voiceover #sound #storm #drama

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The last role I cast for Season 2 (indeed, the only one I still had open!) went to the main man behind @lit_karaoke, whose energy and enthusiasm I had to get into this epic production. He told me that he was an actor as well and I said, "Well, okay. If you're serious…" I then had to track K down in person after my text and email to him fell upon deaf ears! But once he knew I was serious, man, was he REALLY into this part! K was not only cool enough to make time for me, but found a rational hook for this small character that surprised even me! And I think the scene in question is going to be more surprising than I intended, which is always a good thing! Thanks so much, K, for being a part of this production! Honored to have you! #acting #audiodrama #karaoke #character #recording #voiceover

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Well, @julchapin and I did it! Our previous session was kiboshed due to construction, but we finished recording her character and had a blast! Part of the fun here was making sure that Julie — who, like me, is a very funny overthinker sometimes — to go with her emotional instinct. That matters the most when you're conjuring up a character! And sure enough, Julie pulled a terrific performance, especially when I asked her to go softer and quiet. The full scene — and @katrinaclairvoyant, you KNOW the one we're talking about (this is the one with your favorite line!) — is now a fascinating blend of conflicted human emotion, a real attempt, to the best of my ability, to excavate much of what we hide from each other. And Julie's subtle presence here really helped nail the tone. I can't wait to edit this! Thank you so much, Julie! You were marvelous! #audiodrama #acting #performance #real #emotions #voiceover #yay

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I wrote and recorded a scene, but the episode was running long!