The We Are One Body Audio Theatre is a nonprofit, Catholic audio program headquartered in Latrobe that seeks to provide an outlet for writers and actors to share their work and hone their talents.
Formed in 2015, the Audio Theatre has released several productions, including periodic series, poetry readings and short stories. These shows are told entirely through voice and sound effects.
Though a completely audio format can provide limitations for actors and editors, producer Tom Marinchak believes the auditory effect expands the listener’s imagination and interpretation skills.
“We want to make people try to use their imagination. That’s the key, because we do believe in an invisible God,” Marinchak said.
As producer, Marinchak is described as a “jack of all trades” who oversees all aspects of the editing and recording processes.
“I just organize and make sure everything’s on schedule,” Marinchak stated.
Due to their format, the Audio Theatre’s productions are not simply read off like a script; sound and voice effects are heavily used to give the shows depth and open the stories to imaginative analysis.
The written material the Audio Theatre uses in the episodes is edited in order to maximize creativity for the voice actors and to ensure that the listener is able to visualize the imagery.
Saint Vincent alumni Grettelyn Darkey and John Wojtechko work together in editing, directing, and even contributing written material.
“There’s been a couple stories [...] that were written in a short story format that I’ve adapted to be read in a dramatized fashion. I’ve nixed the narration and tried to work it into the dialogue or sound effects, similar to how you would work a story to be made into a movie,” Wojtechko said.
Sound engineer Jacob Gorisch uses the Foley studio in the building that houses the Audio Theatre to supply realistic sounds for the episodes.
“The Foley studio is basically just a room full of junk that I use to create sounds. We literally have a box of dirt in there,” Gorisch said.
Gorisch explained that in film, there’s a big screen where the audience can watch what the characters are doing. There’s much more imagination involved with just audio.
“[However,] there’s also a lot more free reign since we don’t need any sets. So when you hear footsteps or a dog barking [in a Theatre production], that’s me,” Gorisch said.
The Theatre thrives almost entirely on material contributed from outside sources. Writers and voice actors are chosen based on their enthusiasm, and the Audio Theatre is a place for creatives to work together and accept criticism in order to build their skills.
“Grettelyn and I do write, but much of our supplemental writing and our voices come from volunteers. Our Electron Jones series was written by a guy named Joe Potts. So, we work with him, talk about ideas for the series, he’ll send us drafts and we’ll edit back and forth. It’s nice to have a lot of our ideas come from other people,” Wojtechko said.
“[Our material] either comes to us from outside sources, and we say ‘Cool, let’s make this into a series,’ or we sit around and brainstorm ideas,” Darkey said.
Wojtechko stated that the group is doing a lot of these things for the first time. For instance, one of their newest productions is binaural, or involving sound effects that corroborate with a side of the ear.
“We’re [also] consulting multiple writers for the first time. We’re learning a lot of stuff as we go along, but as we start new series in the next couple years, we’ll know what to do,” Wojtechko said.
The Audio Theatre’s exploratory nature means that submissions and auditions from any and all writers and actors are accepted.
“Everything has to adhere to some sort of code since we are a family-oriented organization, but the main points are, ‘is [the story] interesting?’, ‘does it say something?’, [and] ‘is it worth listening to?’” Wojtechko said.
Though mature themes and senseless violence are discouraged, the Audio Theatre does not shy away from horror or the supernatural.
“We actually like creepy, or at least I do,” Marinchak said.
The We Are One Body Audio Theatre’s guidelines for submitting media can be viewed on their website, waobaudiotheatre.org. The Audio Theatre is maintained entirely on volunteer work at this time and writing or acting for the Audio Theatre counts towards service hours.
“We try to compensate [the writers and actors] with the experience, growth and exposure that they will get,” Wojtechko said.
Additionally, released productions, including stories, poetry readings, vlogs and more, can be listened to on the We Are One Body Audio Theatre website, on their Facebook page or on their YouTube channel.