Local comic acts, writes in supernatural radio drama ‘Secrets of Harridge House’
photo by: Brian Byers
Like many people, Cody Lindenberger hates the sound of his own voice. But the Lawrence local loves the voice he puts on when he acts as Richard, a character Lindenberger is voicing for a radio drama involving people across the nation.
This fall, Lindenberger joined the cast of “Secrets of Harridge House,” a series that airs weekly on KNVC Community Radio in Carson City, Nev.
Radio dramas were popular in the mid 1900s — one of the best known examples being Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” broadcast. Now, audio dramas are once again trendy due to the popularity of podcasts, but it’s not often that they also air on the radio. “Secrets of Harridge House” is unique in that regard.
“I do think doing it on the radio is novel,” Lindenberger said. “It’s something that you don’t see a lot anymore. That’s part of the reason (the creators) wanted to do it.”
“Secrets of Harridge House,” Lindenberger said, is a supernatural drama about three strangers who discover they are actually siblings when they get called back to their ancestral home — Harridge House — after the death of their grandfather.
“I always tell people it’s kind of like ‘Dark Shadows,’ the ’70s soap opera, meets ‘Twin Peaks,'” Lindenberger said.
Much like the characters, who travel from across the United States to arrive in the mysterious and fictional town of Harridge, Nev., the show’s cast also involves actors from across the nation. The actors and producers record the show virtually through a website called Zencastr, and each actor tries to find a suitable place to record from their own homes.
“One actor has a recording studio in his house..the rest of us are just winging it,” he said. “What I do, I sit in our dog’s room where all of our dog kennels are and I just tack up blankets around me and make a blanket fort.”
photo by: Cody Lindenberger
Richard, the character Lindenberger voices, is the husband of one of the show’s three main characters. The role starts off small, but becomes more central as the series goes on, he said. In addition to acting, Lindenberger has also written two episodes for the first season: episode six and episode 10, which aired Friday. In the second season, he’ll write three episodes and direct at least one.
“I had a really fun time writing scenes with Richard in them,” Lindenberger said. “Richard is not a nice person. It’s fun to write a character like that and it’s fun to play a character like that.”
Richard, Lindenberger said, is a controlling, dominating and chauvinistic husband who is a nonbeliever in the supernatural and mocks anyone who thinks otherwise. Lindenberger said he enjoys that Richard’s “over-the-top” personality adds comedy to the show.
Lindenberger also likes the voice he uses for Richard, so much so that he thought about talking like his character in daily life. Lindenberger’s wife wasn’t a fan of that idea, Lindenberger said, laughing. He describes the voice as deep and “gravelly,” and said it “just gives the impression that I have no patience for foolishness.”
Prior to his role in Harridge House, Lindenberger’s acting work primarily involved writing for his sketch comedy team in Kansas City and performing stand-up in Lawrence and the Kansas City metro area.
“Secrets of Harridge House” is Lindenberger’s first time doing voice work, and he said his experience as a whole has “been an incredibly rewarding thing for me.” Lindenberger has been on furlough from his job since April, and he said the show has been a good way to stay occupied.
“The experience of writing dramatic scripts is something I haven’t done before,” he said. Now, Lindenberger is working on a pilot for a television series.
Scott Young, one of the creators of the show, said everyone participating in the project is doing so on a volunteer basis. He noted that the dedication from the team has been fantastic. The first season will have 13 episodes, and Young said the second season will air sometime this spring. They have listeners from 19 countries, Young said.
Those interested in listening to “Secrets of Harridge House” can listen live Friday nights at 10 p.m. central time on knvc.org. The series can also be found as a podcast on platforms such as Spotify, Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts. After the show is broadcast live Friday nights, the episodes don’t hit streaming platforms until the following Monday. For more information about “Secrets of Harridge House,” go to secretsofharridgehouse.com.