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Podcast Review: God of Obsidian

People have to cross a bridge to get to Nathan’s house. Crossing to get in is easy. But crossing to get out—as Alice is about to discover—is almost impossible. God of Obsidian is a dark fairy tale about a gaslighting relationship as one woman desperately seeks the story that will take her back across the narrow, dangerous bridge to freedom.

As audio dramas go, much of what listeners find on their favorite podcast channels feature stories a lot different than God of Obsidian. You’ll find plenty of true crime shows, pop culture reviews, news, self-help, gaming, and the occasional sci-fi or into-the-rabbit-hole stories. But this story blends the cautious lessons of fairytales with the reality of a relationship with emotionally abusive overtones.

Adapted from a stage play performed at the 2017 Cincinnati Fringe Festival, the story is told in three chapters, starring Mac Rogers as Nathan (Rogers is also the writer of the drama) and Rebecca Comtois as Alice. In the beginning, Alice sounds positive about her connection with Nathan—enjoying lighthearted banter that feels flirty and fun. But as the relationship deepens, so does the gaslighting.

Mirroring what happens to so many people in their lives, God of Obsidian doesn’t hold back as it portrays the painful place Alice finds herself in. She wants to be loving. She wants to stay committed. She wonders if the problem is her, or if she’s being unreasonable. The doubts sown by Nathan eat at her.

What makes this particular audio drama so effective is the dialogue, which at first listen, could easily seem reasonable if you’re not paying attention to the constant element of undermining that Alice experiences. But if you’ve dealt with gaslighters, then much of what you hear will sound all too familiar. The blaming. The isolation. The pretense of caring about the other person as a tool to leverage their guilt to your advantage.

Strong voice acting by Rogers and Comtois add to the realism of the tale. You can hear the tension, the clipped short answers when Nathan gets frustrated. The passive-aggressive words. The drawn-out questioning tone, where he doesn’t come out and say what he wants, yet still directs Alice to choose what he wants instead of what she wants. And you can hear as the pain and fear in Alice grows as she realizes Nathan cannot be trusted.

As you listen to God of Obsidian, it’s hard not to think of the classic fairytale Blue Beard—the story of a man who marries and then kills one wife after another. That tale has been told in many forms, and it definitely lends itself to audio fiction, where the focus on words draws attention to what we say to each other, what we hear, and how we often choose to believe what we want to believe.

Bluebeard gives his wife the key: engraving by Walter Crane in 1874

Written by Mac Rogers, directed by Jordana Williams, and presented by Gideon Media. (the company behind Steal the Stars), God of Obsidian premieres in three parts on Friday, August 27, Friday, September 3, and Friday, September 10. All three episodes will be free on-demand and available on all podcast platforms.

A final note: Although the episodes do not contain physical violence or sexual assault, they do portray a psychologically abusive, gaslighting relationship. Listeners should proceed at their own caution.

About Michele

Michele has been writing and editing professionally since 1997. In 2017, she launched full-time into her own copywriting and editing business, serving marketing firms, service businesses, nonprofits, book publishers and consulting firms, as well as indie authors. She serves as Editor of the science fiction website Recursor.tv and The Fantasy Network News. Michele is also co-founder of Writing Well Creative Writing Workshop and a partner in Three Point Author Services.

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