Murder In Your Ear: Tallahassee Actors Get Creative With New Podcast
The cancellation of community theatre productions sidelined many performers and stagehands.
Now, a local director who averages work on 6 to 10 productions a year has come up with a project to keep the creative juices flowing. Theatre enthusiasts from Thomasville to Quincy have likely seen at least one of Naomi Rose-Mock’s productions.
“Each show is sort of its own little dysfunctional family,” she laughs.
She often directs, sometimes performs, and handles a variety of duties behind the scenes. This unanticipated, pandemic-induced hiatus didn’t sit well, even though she ironically found herself wanting a break at the beginning of the year.
“It’s been tough I think because theatre people – the theatre’s what we do, and it’s also where we tend to find our circle of people,” Rose-Mock says. “Most of my friends certainly are in the theatre community, so it was hard to sort of get that entire part of yourself cut off.”
Knowing performers may miss their time in the spotlight, Rose-Mock hatched an idea perfect for these socially distant times. With the success of her podcast for children this spring called School’s Out Story Time and interest from actors wanting to participate, she started thinking about doing a murder mystery.
“I decided I was actually going to form a company, and I would hold formal auditions - obviously virtual auditions – and I was amazed. I had like 130-something people audition,” Rose-Mock says. “Because we had so many people audition, I’m actually right now doing 4 different stories, each one has 4 episodes, plus we have one youth company story that’s going to be coming out around Halloween.”
The rehearsal and recording process involves the Zoom video conferencing platform. The actors read together remotely and notes are given. The actors then record their own lines, and they’re all mixed together with music and sound effects.
The first story is called An Engagement With Murder. Set in England in the 1920’s, Rose-Mock likens it to an Agatha Christie detective novel. The next story will be set in Mississippi in the 1980’s with a different cast.
Listeners may recognize some familiar voices in local theatre - Robert Stuart, Erika Stone, Nathan Williamson – and they’ll hear actors ranging in age from 9 to 70-something.
“We have a lot of local people. We have a lot of people that used to be local to Tallahassee that have moved on,” Rose-Mock says. “We have people from as far away as Panama to New York to North Carolina. So a lot of it is sort of local theatre alums who have moved on to various different things as well as people that are still here in town.”
Rose-Mock still speaks with a slight accent from her early years living in the United Kingdom. She’s lived in Tallahassee for almost 25 years, and she’s eager for the return of community theatre. Until then, she’s engrossed in producing what she calls audio plays delivered in episodic form, like a classic mystery.
“It’s just been such a great thing to get to do, to get to work with all these actors and to give us all that creative outlet during this time,” Rose-Mock says. “I think everyone can use a little escapism right now.”
New podcast episodes are released on Mondays. Murder in Your Ear podcasts are on Spotify and soon to be on Apple Podcasts. You can also find them here.