Some podcasts are just that - digital downloads. While others, strive for something more. "Welcome To Night Vale" is a popular storytelling podcast that also tours as a live show. On Tuesday the podcast returns to the Egyptian Theater in Boise for a stage performance and live taping.
Jeffrey Cranor is the co-writer and co-founder of “Welcome To Night Vale,” a creepy, campy drama set in a fictional community where strange things happen. It was one of the top-rated podcasts after its launch in 2013.
"The basic plot of the town," explained Cranor, "is that it’s a small desert town where every conspiracy theory is true. Things such as ghosts and angels and secret police are just common-day parts of everyday life."
Cranor lives outside New York City but he grew up in Texas and in Idaho.
"Of the whole Night Vale crew," he said, "I’m the one person who ever lived in Boise when I was a young kid. I have family there."
And like Boise, Night Vale is a community that must deal with everyday civic issues. But unlike his childhood town, the mysterious cloud over the city isn’t a winter inversion.
He said this year's show is "essentially the story of a mysterious glowing cloud that rains dead animals and takes on mind control of the people of the town. It’s hovering over the city. It’s about what the city is supposed to do about it."
The spooky humor makes sense in a podcast. People listening alone by themselves, with their headphones, ready to be scared. A live show lacks that intimacy, but Cranor says that – unlike for the podcast – a stage performance allows the crew to get instant feedback.
"Ultimately we tour because it’s fun," Cranor concluded. "We all came out of theater. It’s so much more rewarding in some ways, when you get to feel the constant energy of the audience. It's a high-energy show."
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