Short Plays by Theatre Alumnus Jeffrey James Keyes '10 Adapted for Podcast

BY Amanda Breen, October 9, 2020

Alvarez Keko Salazar Productions and Poseidon Theatre Company are adapting short plays by Theatre Alumnus Jeffrey James Keyes ’10 into the new podcast series Drama: an aural experience. Directed by Poseidon’s Artistic Director and Founder Aaron Salazar, the plays unfold in a supernatural, paranormal realm, and they are designed to be heard via headphones for maximum auditory immersion. The original score is by Manuel Pelayo and Giancarlo Bonfanti; the ensemble includes Caturah Brown, Jenniffer Diaz, Gabriel Gutierrez, Samantha Lacey Johnson, Jayson Kerr, Dara Kramer, and Gillian Saker.


The podcast’s first episode,“Imaginary Friends,” is based on the play of the same title, which premiered at the Samuel French OOB Festival. Brown, Johnson, and Kramer appear as characters Sascha, Leslie, and Alice, who “have an intimate discussion about the hauntings of their childhood.” 


In an interview with The Broadway Blog, Keyes reveals that COVID-19-induced quarantines inspired the adaptation. Keyes showed several ghost story plays to Salazar, who suggested turning them into an audio fiction series. The first few recordings shared online began to accumulate a following, so Keyes and Salazar decided to release them as a podcast in the weeks leading up to Halloween. 


Keyes discusses how the plays function so effectively in this new medium: “Adhering to a three-act structure, even in short form, with a beginning/middle/end and clear transitions is a logical frame that can guide any audience. Physical space is abstract in this specific form, but you can create space by writing in a breath or a pause here and there. This will indirectly guide the audience to also breathe at that moment. This space allows their mind to drift momentarily and wonder about the possibilities of what could happen next. This energy remains kinetic for the audience and contributes to the overall tension and suspense.”


An interdisciplinary writer and producer, Keyes co-authored the New York Times bestseller Killer Chef with James Patterson. His plays have been developed or featured at SoHo Playhouse, the Old Vic/Old Vic New Voices, 59E59, EST, Rogue Machine Theatre and the Prologue Theatre. His award-winning short film uniform was selected for over thirty film festivals, including the Reeling Film Festival in Chicago, New Filmmakers Los Angeles, and Cinema Diverse. He is a recipient of the Artists’ Patron Fund’s 2019 Gold Award, wrote the script for the new VR project Digital Arrest (NYC Media Lab '19 winner, Creative Technology), and served as a staff writer for the new series Extra Room.


Drama: an aural experience can be listened to on a variety of platforms, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.