I listen to Welcome to Night Vale, the splendidly morbid podcast that provides community updates and news from the absurd little fictional town Night Vale, at night before I go to sleep. Some episodes make it quite difficult to go to sleep to, such as The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in My Home whispering quietly about how she’s always in the corner of my vision, barely out of sight. Yet, night after night I lie in bed, shrouded in darkness, listening to Cecil Palmer go on about the Event Calendar, various updates on local businesses, city politics, etc. It’s very sweet, yet dark and twisted, and my favorite podcast ever.
As the date for the live appearance approached, I was actually somewhat concerned that it would be different. Well, obviously seeing live actors perform instead of just hearing their faceless voices in your room at night is different. I guess I was more concerned with being distracted by actors, or maybe that having my eyes open wouldn’t have the same effect as lying down in my bed with my eyes closed. Silly concerns, I now know. Though I had seriously considered bringing a sleep mask.
As the actors appeared and lent their voices to the stage, it wasn’t distracting. These voices had become familiar, and their actor’s bodies were barely a focus. They didn’t distract, it was as if they were there just vessels to project the real star: The voice. Now, these actors are tremendously talented. Cecil Baldwin practically moved the crowd to tears with an emotional projected monologue that closed the show. Such tremendous power in a voice.
But if you were hesitant to see Night Vale performed live, I’m here to assure you that it’s just as great as listening to it at home, if not better. You feel more like a citizen of Night Vale. You are referred to as one. And it’s amazing that a podcast that I felt I was eavesdropping on, you know, listening to the community radio station of a town I was looking in on, now feels like I’m a part of. And aren’t we? Are we not the listeners of Night Vale Community Radio? And is community radio not meant for its community? Such a simple concept, but it feels welcoming nonetheless. The listeners of Night Vale are the people of Night Vale, and seeing your community radio broadcast live with other members of your community, ones you never met, ones you didn’t know existed, well, that’s just special, isn’t it?