Lindsay Harris-Friel

I write plays and audio drama, make puppets, clean up messes, take in strays, eat and drink and curse too much, and laugh too loudly.

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I'm working on an article about bullet journaling for podcasters, specifically about handwriting vs. writing on a keyboard. I came across this James Pennebaker guy, and his research into the therapeutic value of writing. I'm linking to Wikipedia instead of a more credible resource because, as I write this, I have something like 40 tabs open on my computer right now, and this bit of info felt most important to share: 
"These results have hatched further studies, numbering over 200. One of these went on to strongly suggest that expressive writing has the potential to actually provide a 'boost' to the immune system, perhaps explaining the reduction in physician visits. This was shown by measuring lymphocyte response to the foreign mitogens phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) and concanavalin A (ConA) just prior to and 6 weeks after writing. The significantly increased lymphocyte response led to speculation that expressive writing enhances immunocompetence. The results of a preliminary study of 40 people diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder suggests that routinely engaging in expressive writing may be effective in reducing symptoms of depression."

What I can't figure out from this is whether or not the study participants wrote using pen or pencil and paper, writing longhand, if they typed, or either. 


Vince and I were driving home on Kelly Drive. He was driving, I was catching up on email on my phone. 

ME: Hey honey, John Hodgman has a new podcast.

VINCE: Mmhm.

ME: he's recapping and discussing "I, Claudius." 

VINCE: Surprise, surprise.

ME: Guess what it's called.

VINCE: (stops breathing)

ME: "I, Podibus."

VINCE: (Long sigh)

ME: Guess how it's spelled.



I never got around to writing "I, Rone", possibly because I always pronounced the name as "Roan".
I had to think about that for a minute. Good one.
That's "I, Clav ... Clav ... Clavdivs."

Random thought:

I was thinking about all the people who have played The Stage Manager in Our Town. Fred Gwynne, Henry Fonda, Paul Newman, that gangly, folksy archetype. Then I thought, yeah, like James Comey. 

Holy shit. What if we’re all extras in an Our Towniverse, a Thornton Wilderness, and the Stage Manager is James Comey? 

I thought, this is a thought for Brett Heller.  He said, “can we go back and look at a single day in our lives? Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” 

If we’re living in the Thornton Wilderness, I guess I have to start liking Hello, Dolly. 

"Thornton wilderness" is outstanding. You should write that play.
I can’t take full credit. I was trying to type “Thornton Wilderverse” and Autocorrect kicked in. But, yes. I really want to.
One person's Heaven is another person's Hell.
The guy who played the Stage Manager in our high school production of Our Town had the world at his fingertips and died young. His parents said it was an accident surfing, but his brother confirmed that it was carelessness due to a lot of drugs.

Things are not always happy in Grover’s Corners.
That’s a damn shame.

Apple changed the way it categorizes its podcasts. Instead of audio fiction/audio drama being buried in "personal journals" or "performing arts," it now has a category, Fiction. It even has subcategories: Fiction>Drama, Fiction>Sci-Fi or Fiction> Comedy. 


At 5:53 pm on August 21, 2019, Jarnsaxa Rising is 58 out of 60 on the Fiction>Drama chart for Apple Podcasts. 

I know it's highly subjective, but after not being visible among my peers for so long, this is flippin' HUGE. 

Here's another thing that's cuckoo-bananas. Last week we were the #3 podcast in Fiction in South Korea. 

It IS huge. I'm so glad they've fixed this long-standing problem.
I know that this is all about shareholder bullshit and competing with Spotify and Netflix and Amazon and BBC Sounds for attention spans, but right now, I'm just happy to be where I am.
iTunes is just such a trash fire and has been so for at least a decade. Discovery on Apple's platforms is so frigging fraught. I subscribe to the Apple Music service and there's an astonishing amount of great music but finding by association, without knowing the exact name is almost impossible. (screams, clutches head)
I think podcasters don't care about the New & Noteworthy list anymore because they know that it can be bought. But Jarnsaxa never even made the Modern Radio Plays list. The only way anyone finds Jarnsaxa is by word of mouth, Twitter, or stumbling across it while searching for something related to Norse Mythology or fan stuff related to Marvel's Thor & Loki. Word of mouth and Twitter have been good to us.
I’m so friggin happy for you right now that I could scream. That is fantastic news!
Oh hey! I see you!
Karen 8/23

Today I'm editing a review of a microphone made specifically for podcasters. My supervisor wrote the article. The mic is called the Podcaster, and it's made by Rode. He opened the article with, "At our office, we have more Rodes than the Roman Empire." 

In the summary paragraph, I added, "It's a colossus among the podcasting-tool hegemony." 


Last night I had the pleasure of seeing the lovely and talented Jenn Rice Abrevaya, starring (IMO) in Mamma Mia! Jenn, of course, was brilliant, and despite my cynicism about jukebox musicals, I was emotionally recharged by the show. All it needed was More Jenn. 

I’d expected that MM would continue the traditions of Scandinavian theatre by refuting the themes of Ibsen, that life is a depressing mystery. It seemed clear that MM would posit the mysterious feminine not only in the sun, so distant and rare in Ibsen’s work, but also firmly entrenched in the prison of patriarchal sanction, yet without the pistols or an orphanage to burn down, via the machinery of Swedish disco music. I was wrong and right at the same time. 

Sophie, the alleged protagonist of MM, desires to become the doll of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. She seeks approval from a father before giving her virginity to a Wall Street wunderkind. In short, she is willfully the golden fatted calf bought and sold. Her mother, Donna (perhaps a Madonna?) is the 1970s sexual-revolution feminist and Circe, trapped on a Greek island, spinning magical experiences for her guests. Like Hedda Gabler, she claims not to need a man for success, but she wants one (as Hedda desired Eilert), for joy, and one for financial stability (as Hedda needed Jørgen). Sophie challenges her mother, saying that she wants to start her life “right,” with a “white wedding” and knowing who is the man responsible for her.  

The book writer for Mamma Mia!, playwright Catherine Johnson, eventually came to her fucking senses at some point while trying to shoehorn in the ABBA hit, “Knowing Me, Knowing You.” At this point, Sophie’s groom and one of the candidates for Daddy tell her that marriage isn’t everything. Though Mom has been saying this all along, because the men in her life finally say it, Sophie listens, and starts thinking about marriage seriously. Much like how Nora and Hedda are forced to behave by Krogstad and Judge Brack respectively, Sophie and Donna continue towards the wedding. Finally, Sophie drops her desire to marry and to find out who her father is, just as Donna chooses to marry and accept financial support from her former lovers. 

Donna chooses the path of patriarchy, from which Ibsen warned early feminists away. Sophie and her young buck shoulder backpacks to travel the world, engaging in the poetic mystery that Eilert and Oswald embraced, leading to their deaths. 

Ibsen was one of the first dramatists to perfect the art of realism in theatre. His descendant in Scandinavian Drama would do well to reject it, choosing Neo-Absurdism, rather than send women a message of kowtowing to the patriarchy via glitter and sequins. Donna preserves her tavern, and gets someone to fix the roof, though Nora abandons her house. The conflict between Ibsen’s feminism and producer Judy Craymer’s post-feminism was best illustrated by this production’s version of “The Winner Takes It All.” Actress (can’t remember) belted this torch song with power, dignity and skill that could blow the roof off of the venue. However, the microphone system strapped to her face gave her voice an electromagnetic hum, barely discernible, yet devastatingly annoying to human ears. The power of women still burns in Scandinavian theatre; sadly, Western audiences must put a ring on it and tame it, in order to sanctify it. 

IN ALL SERIOUSNESS, the singing and dancing were great, performances were solid, the script made me have to think, “If I roll my eyes any harder, I’m going to get a headache.” Obviously, the answer is that I have to write a musical for Jenn to star in. 

In other news:

If I pet Mo Magee as much as she wants, her fur gets so slicked down that she looks like Bastet. 

the script is absolutely horrible. it's basically, "what 3 lines can we cram in between these 2 songs to make it feel like they go together?" i'm so glad you sat through that to experience the good stuff, it was great to have you there!
Jenn A 4/9
Like I said, all Ms. Jenn needs is a venue. I scheme scripts for you when I need to feel happy.
I'd back that show!
Now I have to figure out how to make a 50-minute Fringe show out of Mamma Mia and this post, without being legally actionable by the creators of Mamma Mia.

Greensleeves again, this time with more confidence.

 I tried to make a video of me playing Romance from A Little Night Music, but between the tripod not cooperating and me not being really ready with that piece yet, all I made was myself angry. 

Sounds pretty good to me! At a bare minimum, it's 1. forward progress and 2. infinitely better than I could do!