“It’s a way of telling a story about people’s faith, what makes them human, and what keeps them going against long odds,” said local writer Jay Towne about his upcoming serial radio drama titled “Minutiae.” Towne held auditions for the production on Saturday at the United Methodist Church in Amsterdam, and also learned on Sunday that he had been awarded a $2,500 grant from the Saratoga Arts Council to help offset production costs.
A handful of people showed up on the frigid Saturday afternoon to read parts. Some of whom had worked with Towne on his previous production “Any Good Thing,” which ran on the Catholic radio station WOPG from 2012 through 2015 and will conclude later this year. Tom Foster, who has been helping Towne with recording “Any Good Thing” was one of the people who showed up on Saturday looking to try a performance role in the new series. Other performers who had worked with Towne before who also came out to help included John Salerno, Cathy Ozug, and Loralee Whitlock.
Towne explained that “Any Good Thing” was primarily aimed at a Catholic audience. While faith will be an important element in the new production, the story will take a broader view of the role of belief, or lack of belief in people’s lives. The series will also tackle subjects such as race relations and mental health issues.
“I want to tell a story, more of a fable,” said Towne. “There’s a faith theme that represents four or five different philosophies or religions or belief systems.”
A written synopsis provided at the audition describes the struggling main character of the drama as a “half-hearted agnostic” man in his twenties who also suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder to the point of being disabled. After a breakdown three years prior, he begins to hear the voice of God and records those conversations in a black three-ring binder. The drama is set in the Amsterdam area, with the main character’s mother and step-father living in the City of Amsterdam, and his sister living in the Village of Hagaman.
Towne said he plans on holding the first recording of the new series in May. Although he does not currently have a radio station committed to airing the series, he hopes that recordings of the first two episodes will help him pitch the series to local stations.
Not all the parts in the production have been decided on, and Towne said he hopes to hold another audition in March. Anyone interested in auditioning can contact Towne via his Facebook page.
Jay Towne is also a regular contributor to the Mohawk Valley Compass.
(Photos by Tim Becker)