With regards to choosing stories DART had to look for ones that have good dramatic potential and would make for
an exciting listening experience. Adapting Lovecraft dramatically is a tricky deal; many of his stories are great, but they’re not dramatic or well suited to dramatic formats like movies and radio plays. Once a story was settled on, the creative team went away and try to make a dramatic retelling of the story which will be suited particularly to listening. The general policy is to keep as much Lovecraft as we can in our Lovecraftian adaptations. Getting too far away from Howard, we’ll lose the quality about that writing that attracts fans in the first place.
Many of HPL’s stories are about characters going through intense mental events. Often documents, letters, and diaries play an important part in the story. But at the end of the day, listeners don’t want to hear a story about a gu
y reading his mail or writing his will; they want stories where thing happen. For audio dramas liberties have to be taken with some of the stories to make things as active and dramatic as we can. For example, in the new script for The Shadow Over Innsmouth, Olmstead (the narrator) is being interviewed by a federal agent. In the story, Olmstead simply tells what happened to him in Innsmouth. In the radio play, he’s divulging information to an agent who is very interested because he…well, that would be telling.
Characters are added as need and often bring to life scenes which might be only referred to in passing in the story. For example in The Shadow Out of Time, Peaslee describes his family as being frightened of his post-amnesia personality. Scenes were written wherein the family actually talks with Peaslee as he’s waking up. We experience it with them rather than just having him tell us what happened.
wo 75 minute radio dramas were recorded back to back, offering a set of logistical challenges. This meant fifteen actors playing forty-six roles in 160 pages of script had to record everything in just 15h hours. DART held one rehearsal to get everyone on the same proverbial page, tune dialects and polish performances. In the end, they had just one ten-hour session followed by a five hour session. Fortunately they managed to make it through both scripts in their entirety.
In the past, DART have done recording sessions at their theatre, The Banshee. In a great many ways it’s not an ideal place to record. This time the decision was made to bite the proverbial bullet and rent a commercial recording studio with a professional sound engineer. This resulted in a much better quality recordings and a more efficient process.