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Millicent Dillon collaborating with Bay Area Radio Drama
Award: $35,000 Literary Arts Grant awarded in 1998
Premiered: KPFA Radio November 28-December 19, 1999

Writers Millicent Dillon, Helen Cline, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Gary Soto, collaborated with Bay Area Radio Drama, its producer Erik Bauersfeld, and sound designers Jim McKee and Randy Thom to create four half-hour programs exploring “locations.” Each writer selected a Bay Area site of significance to her or him as a dramatic setting and then examined and transformed that location through a radio play that incorporated acoustical elements from the chosen site. Professional actors and the writers were featured in the recordings. Irene Oppenheim served as the project’s creative consultant.

“Locations” was broadcast over a number of stations, including KPFA-FM in Berkeley, California, and KQED-FM and KALW-FM in San Francisco. Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s piece was distributed internationally through German Radio (WDR Köln), Studio Arts Akustica, as well as Finnish Radio.

The writers in this series work in different styles and genres. Biographer, playwright, and fiction writer Millicent Dillon created “Inside,” an original radio drama that takes place in a man’s interior soundscape, as a cacophony of urban sounds assaults him.  In “The Soul of a Bell,” listeners follow Helen Cline, an 80-year-old blind poet, accompanied by her guide dog, through a Berkeley supermarket. Poet and fiction writer Gary Soto’s “Teaching English” explored the sounds of the site of his volunteer work—teaching English to Latin American adults—at the High Street Presbyterian Church in Oakland. In poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “One of these Days (or Nights),” a man and his dog wander up a mountain and observe the solitude above and the worldly disasters below.

Bay Area Radio Drama (BARD) is a radio drama production, training, and consultation group, established as a nonprofit organization in 1986.