Duration: 40 minutes.

Objective: To use the fictional storytelling form to begin to explore the aesthetic and ceremony of cinemagoing in relation to a speculation on the experiential component of film spectatorship. Ultimately, the listener of this episode needs to start thinking about there interactions with media content and how it can have a profound influence on their ways of being in the world.

Focus: The best speculation is the type of speculation which stimulates original thinking and innovation, not regurgitation; for this reason, I have opted to include original audio dramas as a part of the podcast’s episode line-up. In an Auditorium Darkly: The Terror of the Eye-Phone is the first of a planned five In an Auditorium Darkly episodes, all to take place in cinemas and at different points over the last one-hundred-and-twenty years.

One of the primary themes I am going to be touching on in the In an Auditorium Darkly audio plays is the concept of hypertextuallity.

“The term “hypertext” was first used by Ted Nelson in 1965 to describe the new kinds of textuality made possible by computers. Riffaterre defines hypertext as, “the use of the computer to transcend the linearity of the written text by building an endless series of imagined connections, from verbal associations to possible worlds, extending the glosses or marginalia from the footnotes of yesteryear to metatexts”

–  The Torque – A Hypertextual Exploration of the Táin Bó Cúailnge

Specifically, what I am referring to with the idea of hypertextuality and in relation to the In an Auditorium Darkly episodes is the idea of different levels of reality. Furthermore, I wish to explore how we consciously perceive and understand them via storytelling forms and how those levels can cross-over into and transcend each other, such as when you blend factual storytelling with fictional, as we do in our heads everyday of our lives…

“Radio is provided with its cloak of invisibility, like any other medium. It comes to us ostensibly with person-to-person directness that is private and intimate, while in more urgent fact, it is really a subliminal echo chamber of magical power to touch remote and forgotten chords. All technological extensions of ourselves must be numb and subliminal, else we could not endure the leverage exerted upon us by such extension. Even more than telephone or telegraph, radio is that extensions of the central nervous system, that aboriginal mass medium, the vernacular tongue? The crossing of these two most intimate and potent of human technologies could not possibly have failed to provide some extraordinary new shapes for human experience.”

– Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, 1966:263-4


Ultimately, while telling stories in and of themselves, and as with the other episodes of the podcast, the In an Auditorium Darkly episodes are exploring ideas much bigger than themselves which will link up with each other in addition to the content of the other episodes of the podcast.

Format: Fictional horror audio drama made in the style of a 1950s radio play.


Pre-Intro segment – A short meditation on how ‘stories’ and ‘fiction’ are the human brain’s cognitive processes for making sense of the world. A story is just the conscious mind’s hugely simplified interpretation of the unconscious mind and this is something we do all day long and in every situation of human life, we are the stories we tell ourselves stories…

Podcast Intro – (45 seconds) – Cave of the 8-Bit Binary Organ theme music as combined with excerpts from other media texts to create a summative overview of what is the Breaking Cinema podcast.

Main body intro – The conclusion of the podcast intro sequence will blend into the sound of an old radio frequency changing (just like someone is changing the channel on a radio) and then it will fix on the opening of the 30-mintue audio play. It will fade in as the title of the of the audio episode is announced at the beginning of the actual audio play embedded in this episode.

Main body – The 30-minute audio play with 1950s vintage advertising included. The plot of the audio plot of the audio play will take place in 1953 British cinema during a screening of The War of the Worlds. Specifically, the plot will concern the protagonist being on a date, popping out for a toilet break during the film, wandering off to have a bit of an explore in the dark recesses of the cinema and then finding the terrifying “eye-phone” and its orchestrator therein…

Conclusion – The outro part of the 30-minute audio play. A good number of old time radio plays were often recorded in front of live audiences and at the conclusion of the play radio the show announcer would name each of the performers as they took their bow in front of the applauding audience. Likewise, the conclusion will consist of a simulated applauding audience as the announcer names each of the performers… but acknowledge the sudden absence of the actor who portrays the protagonist who, just as his character did within the audio play itself, has now vanished…

Podcast Outro – a: “Thank you for listening to Breaking Cinema, like the Facebook page, leave a review on iTunes, etc.” message will play over the outro music.

Next Time on Breaking Cinema – a short teaser of the next episode.


Additional Notes:

  • The 30-minute 1950s audio play embedded at the centre of this episode will need a script, some very good actors and a great deal of polish. Of all the first ten episodes, this episode is likely to demand the greatest amount of time in order to get right.
  • I have got a good feel for these old time radio plays having listened to hundreds of them in my weekendly podcast binges while working my means-to-an-end.
  • The vintage advertising I am going to borrow from another vintage 1950s audio play and this is not a problem because all these old time radio plays are in the public domain.
  • This episode will require release forms for the actors performances.
  • This episode will most probably require a great deal more sound design than the other episodes.
  • This one I really have to put a lot of work into getting right because it could very easily end up being completely naff and, while I do want it to have a somewhat “cheesy” quality as with a good deal of radio plays of the time, it can’t just plain suck because the effort was not put into its construction.


Media content to be referenced and included

Just the vintage 1950s radio ads.