By Laurie Steven. October 3, 2022
For this series, each of our writers had to devise a modern-day, magical world. To do that, they had to answer many questions. What kind of magical beings live in this world? Where can they be found? How do people feel about them? And most importantly, how will their magic test our hero or heroine?
Since the plays are set in a version of our world, rather than in a sci-fi future, it might not be convincing if characters bumped into ogres at the gym or witches in the grocery story.
Most writers start in the normal world and let their characters discover the magical world. In fact, in our audio dramas, magic tends to be found in pockets on the fringes of society: a tract of wilderness hidden in an urban park, across the river in a forbidden part of town, or tucked away at a yard sale.
I think that’s because if we are caught up in everyday routines, we can’t give way to the irrational, such as magical objects or mythical beings. We, like the characters in our plays, need to step outside the ordinary to give magic a gateway into our imaginations or into our souls.
For the same reason these pockets of magic are often associated with nature. Nature, like magic, can represent the wild, uncontrolled, mysterious part of human nature and our world. So too, magical events often seem more believable in the dream-filled night than in the rational light of day.
It’s also possible that the magical world is an image of our subconscious. Perhaps this is why magic is often found in dangerous, forbidden places. If magic represents the buried parts of ourselves, could an ogre be our brutish instinctive side that we don’t want anyone to see? Could an object unlock manic greed we hide even from ourselves?
Entering the magical world or plunging into the subconscious force us to confront our deepest fears. But both ventures can be revealing. And in each case, the trip can help you if it doesn’t kill you.
To warm-up for this series, I walked through neighbourhoods in my town looking for mysterious places that might lead to alternate magical worlds or at least hide a mythical creature or two. Here are a few of the places I found. I’ll leave you to imagine what they hide.
Better still, you might want to go on your own hunting expeditions. It’s a fun way to see your world anew, and, as I did, you are likely to discover things about yourself.