Story telling has always been an integral part of human culture. It is how we inform future generations of our past, how we interpret the often taboo subjects that pervade our societies, even how we learn to be wary of the dangers that may materialise in our lives. Stories hold power, and in many cultures, the role of story teller has long been a figure of mystery and magic. To weave a well plotted tale is a greatly revered skill – we have countless awards created with the purpose of honouring this enigmatic talent, from the Nobel Prize in Literature to the Academy Award for Best Screenplay. In these COVID times, the escapism presented by stories has never been so warranted, and it is this particular power of stories that Morosophy Productions and Black Hound Productions digital, audio experience, Introspection, plays with.
Running at just under 40 minutes, Introspection takes its audience on a journey of self discovery and self reflection. Narrated by Patrick Withey, we are asked to imagine sequences that may be drawn from our own pasts and examined with guidance from our narrator. It feels at times, almost like a guided meditation, and the potent images director and writer Cordelia Tarbrooke evokes in the script are given colour and shade by Withey’s assured performance. This is certainly an accomplished piece of audio drama, immersing its audience in the quiet world of memory and mindful practice.
Though the show aims to be universally inclusive and unique to each audience member, the specifics of the scenarios that are presented through the narration are not inherently universal, particularly those concerned with childhood memories. It is a difficult fact that not every child’s earliest memories present the kind of rose-tinted idyll we would hope for all children, but it is a fact nonetheless, and it is something of a trap when it comes to universal narratives as every narrative is inherently biased. This said, Introspection‘s pairing back of story telling into its primal form, demanding of its listeners to create their own imaginary worlds, is a striking and skilfully executed approach. In a world where we are spoiled by the high quality special effects of movies and incredible feats of human endurance with the extended dance numbers and acrobatics of theatrical events, it is rather magical to be given the space to let one’s own mind create a playground of adventures and thrillers. This is where Introspection’s true power as a production lies, and it is accomplished with unflinching confidence.