Tomorrow night, if all goes according to schedule, I will be recording my last audio material ever of my friend Nadine, the current star of The Hanna Jo Stories. I actually thought I had finished recording Nadine last week, but then I suddenly realized the story would be more interesting if King Cow’s plot involved milk instead of water, so now I’ve got to re-record a couple of lines. Fortunately, I thought of this while Nadine was still around.
I live in a bit of a transient community so it’s not unusual to say good bye to friends who have been around for long or short periods of times. Nadine took over as the lead of this audio drama when Bairbre left earlier this year, and Bairbre replaced the original Hannah when she left at the end of last year. Basically, my entire production schedule for the Hanna Jo stories for the last year has been determined by the goings of these various friends and actresses. I’ve rushed into writing and recording faster than my schedule would probably have permitted simply because if I didn’t, I’d miss the opportunity to do these stories with these particular versions of the character. It’s led to things like having to record the last bits of Nadine’s parts for Episode Nine of the series before I have even finished editing Episode Seven, which is her debut!
Oh well. When Hannah was leaving, I came up with an elaborate explanation of how Hanna Jo’s voice changed, which can be heard in Episode Five. It involved a huge explosion of the clearly fictional thermo-quasitronic energy which up to that point had been causing all sorts of disparate environments to smoosh together. This allowed me to introduce a new version of the character who was basically the same, but still may have had some differences (as being caught in such an explosion could understandably produce). The similarities to Doctor Who and its concept of regeneration are obvious, except that my method didn’t have a built in mechanism to do it again.
Consequently, when I had to do it again, I came up with an entirely different idea. For anyone paying attention, you’ll hear this in the forthcoming Episode Seven, when the journey that Hanna Jo and her friends take through Dream Land and into the Real World cause all of the main character’s voices to change, with only Hanna Jo’s failing to change back at the story’s conclusion (for reasons you’ll just have to listen for yourself, if you are interested).
When I told my children, who are both the co-stars and prime audience for this series, about Nadine departing, my oldest sighed that could I just explain the forthcoming change as the result of the thermo-quasitronic energy again, rather than coming up with a new explanation each time? I could…but do I want to? Having to come up with a “plausible” reason for these changes without interrupting the flow of the story is just the sort of writing challenge that I enjoy. But there are no plans now. I don’t even know for sure that there will be an Episode Ten – although my kids certainly want me to keep going, so I guess who to not give the public what it wants? For now, the puzzle is lying in the back of my mind now, brooding away. What will come out? Only time, three more episodes, and a burst of inspiration will tell!