Welcome back to Pro-deux-er of the Months! To close out the year, we’re speaking with Christopher Dole, one third of the creator trio of Arden. Co-written with Emily St. James, the two joined forces with Sarah Ghaleb to develop a mystery-comedy loosely based on a play-a-season of Shakespeare’s works. Season one follows journalist Bea Casely and detective Brenda Bentley as they’re forced to work together to solve the ten-year cold case of a missing starlet. Season two takes the pair to Montana as they uncover the mystery of a rancher’s unsolved murder.
When did you join Fable and Folly?
We first joined Fable and Folly in the summer of 2022.
What part of making your show gets you the most excited?
Working with our extraordinary cast – especially our core Wheyface Industries 5 of Michelle, Tracey, Shannon, Charlita, and Ben. We can write as much as we want (and often do), but the show doesn’t live until they get into the booth. They always fill their performances with such nuance, humor, and depth that take Arden far beyond what we ever could have hoped for. I still remember the excitement on Day 1 of recording the first season when Michelle and Tracey first started playing off each other, within just a few takes locked in, and we realized we had a show. There was an electricity in the air as they stared each other down, trying to make the other break on whether it’s “You’ve got another thing coming” or “You’ve got another think coming.” In that moment, Arden came to life. So yeah, I’m always thrilled to get into the room with our cast. They bring so much to Arden that we constantly have to up our game – and it’s a true delight to do so.
What is your favorite thing about audio fiction as a medium?
That it is simultaneously very intimate and very malleable. On one side you have the fact that shows only truly exist as a voice inside the audience’s head, lulling them into a dream-state of imagination as we do our best to paint our pictures with just words. But on the other hand, that means your show is as boundless as your audience’s imagination, and that’s very exciting. There’s a thrilling tension there that forces you to constantly be in conversation with the audience in a very cool way.
What’s a big, pipe-dream goal you have for your show?
My hope is to ultimately make five seasons of Arden. Will we get there? I don’t know – the realities of funding and time it takes to make a season make these things complicated, and who knows what the future holds. But that is the pipe dream.
What do you hope listeners take away from your show?
That everyone has their own story – and that doesn’t make them protagonists (or even frequently “good people”, in Wheyfacian parlance), but they still have stories, and if you’re trying to encompass the whole of a thing, you have to engage with it in all its aspects. Arden is constantly asking questions about who controls the narrative of a life (especially about people who have been commodified or marginalized in some way), and who has the right to tell what story, how biases come into play, what the storyteller’s responsibility is to both the subject and the audience. My hope is that we continue to weave the tale of Bea and Brenda and the mysteries they solve with complexity and empathy and to keep exploring this topic, and I think in Season 3 we’ve hit on a very exciting new angle for it.
In your opinion, what’s the most important part of a good in-universe ad?
Look, as long as it’s brought to you by Wheyface Industries (The Good People), you can trust whatever product is being sold, whether it’s AuralEmoji, Imitation Whalesong, the “There is No Self” Care Package, or THE HATCHERY. You just need that Wheyface guarantee!