PTAC's Audio Drama Series Podcast

The Outsider

October 23, 2020 The Phoenix Theatre and Arts Company Season 1 Episode 4
PTAC's Audio Drama Series Podcast
The Outsider
Chapters
PTAC's Audio Drama Series Podcast
The Outsider
Oct 23, 2020 Season 1 Episode 4
The Phoenix Theatre and Arts Company

"The Outsider" was originally written by H.P. Lovecraft. Our version was adapted, directed, and edited by Gina Stanton, and features the vocal talents of Jenna Isabella.

"I must have lived years in this place, but I find I cannot measure the time. Beings must have cared for my needs, yet I cannot recall any person except myself - truly, nor anything alive but the rats and bats and spiders."

Living alone your whole life can be difficult. Crashing a party unexpectedly can really change your self-esteem.

PTAC’s Audio Drama Series is a production by the Phoenix Theatre and Arts Company. Original PTAC music by Brian Sanyshyn. For a full listing of credits, visit us at phoenixtheatreartsco.com. While you’re there, please consider clicking the donate link. That would be delightful! Have comments or questions? Email us at [email protected], or find us on social media! 

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=39614413&redirect_uri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww-phoenixtheatreartsco-com.filesusr.com%2Fhtml%2Ffc904a_bf415b2f3775c2232bf37768b59b0b07.html&utm_medium=widget)

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=39614413&redirect_uri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww-phoenixtheatreartsco-com.filesusr.com%2Fhtml%2Ffc904a_bf415b2f3775c2232bf37768b59b0b07.html&utm_medium=widget)

Show Notes Transcript

"The Outsider" was originally written by H.P. Lovecraft. Our version was adapted, directed, and edited by Gina Stanton, and features the vocal talents of Jenna Isabella.

"I must have lived years in this place, but I find I cannot measure the time. Beings must have cared for my needs, yet I cannot recall any person except myself - truly, nor anything alive but the rats and bats and spiders."

Living alone your whole life can be difficult. Crashing a party unexpectedly can really change your self-esteem.

PTAC’s Audio Drama Series is a production by the Phoenix Theatre and Arts Company. Original PTAC music by Brian Sanyshyn. For a full listing of credits, visit us at phoenixtheatreartsco.com. While you’re there, please consider clicking the donate link. That would be delightful! Have comments or questions? Email us at [email protected], or find us on social media! 

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=39614413&redirect_uri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww-phoenixtheatreartsco-com.filesusr.com%2Fhtml%2Ffc904a_bf415b2f3775c2232bf37768b59b0b07.html&utm_medium=widget)

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=39614413&redirect_uri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww-phoenixtheatreartsco-com.filesusr.com%2Fhtml%2Ffc904a_bf415b2f3775c2232bf37768b59b0b07.html&utm_medium=widget)

The Outsider

By HP Lovecraft


That night the Baron dreamt of many a woe;

And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form

Of witch, and demon, and large coffin-worm,

Were long be-nightmared.

—John Keats

Unhappy is he to whom the memories of childhood bring only fear and sadness. Wretched is he who looks back upon lone hours spent in vast and dismal chambers or in twilight groves of grotesque, gigantic, and vine-encumbered trees that silently wave twisted branches far aloft. Such a lot the gods gave to me. Me, the dazed, the disappointed, given the barren, the broken. And yet…..I was strangely content, and now cling desperately to those withered memories.


I know not where I was born, save that it was likely in the castle that was infinitely old and infinitely horrible; full of dark passages with high ceilings where the eye could find only cobwebs and shadows. The stones in the crumbling corridors were always hideously damp, and there was an accursed smell everywhere, like the piled-up corpses of long-dead generations. It was never light. I used to sometimes light candles and gaze steadily at them for rel ief from the darkness. Never was there any sun, since the terrible trees grew high above the castle towers. There was one tall black tower which reached high above the trees into the unknown outer sky, but it was partly ruined and could not be ascended except by an impossible climb up the steep wall, stone by stone.


I must have lived years in this place, but I find I cannot measure the time. Beings must have cared for my needs, yet I cannot recall any person except myself - truly, nor anything alive but the rats and bats and spiders. I think that whoever nursed me must have been incredibly aged, as my first conception of a living person was that of something mockingly like myself, yet distorted, shrivelled, and decaying, not unlike the horrible castle. To me, there was nothing grotesque in the bones and skeletons that were strewn about in the stone crypts deep down among the foundations. I associated these things with every-day events, and thought them more natural than the drawings of living beings which I found in many of the mouldy books. 


From such books I learned all that I know. No teacher urged or guided me, and I do not recall hearing any human voice in all those years—not even my own. I had never thought to try to speak aloud. My image was a matter equally unthought of, for there were no mirrors in the castle, and I regarded myself as similar to the youthful figures I saw drawn in the books.


Outside, across the putrid moat and under the dark, mute trees, I would often lie and dream for hours about what I read in the books. I would longingly picture myself amidst bustling crowds in the sunny world beyond my endless forest. Once I tried to escape from the forest, but as I went farther from the castle the shade grew denser and the air became filled with brooding fear, such that I ran frantically back lest I lose my way in a labyrinth of night.


Through endless twilights I dreamed…. and waited. Then one night, in the shadowy solitude, my longing for light grew so frantic that I could rest no more, and I lifted begging hands up towards the ruined tower reaching above the forest into the unknown sky. And at last I resolved to scale that tower, knowing that I might fall. It was better to glimpse the sky and perish than to live any longer without beholding day!


In the dank twilight I climbed the worn and aged stone stairs till I reached until they ceased, and thereafter I clung perilously to whatever small footholds I could find. Ghastly and terrible was that dead, stairless cylinder, black, ruined, and deserted, and sinister with startled bats whose wings made no noise. But more ghastly and terrible still was the slowness of my progress. Climb as I might, the darkness overhead grew no thinner, and with each movement upwards, a new and haunting chill assailed me. I shivered and wondered why I did not reach the light. I didn’t dare to look down to see how far I had come. 


All at once, after an infinity of terrifying, sightless crawling up that desperate precipice, I startled as I felt my head touch a solid thing, and I knew I must have gained the roof or some kind of landing. In the darkness I raised my hand and found the surface to be stone and immovable. Then came a deadly circuit around the tower, clinging desperately to whatever holds the slimy wall could give, until finally I felt something other than stone above me. I turned upward again, pushing the door with my head as I used both hands in my l ascent. There was no light revealed above, and as my hands went higher I knew that my climb was over, at least for the present time. I crawled through the door carefully, and the heavy slab of a door fell back into place. I lay exhausted on the stone floor and heard the eerie echoes of its fall.


I must now be at a great height, far above the accursed trees, and so I dragged myself up from the floor and fumbled about for windows. I was eager for my first look at the sky and the moon and stars of which I had read. But with every turn I was disappointed - all that I found were vast shelves of marble, bearing odious oblong boxes of disturbing size. More and more I reflected and wondered what secrets might abide in this place, so many eons cut off from the castle below. Then unexpectedly my hands came upon a doorway, whose stone door was rough with strange chiselling. Trying it, I found it locked; but with a surprising burst of strength I overcame all obstacles and dragged it open inward. As I did so I felt the purest ecstasy I have ever known, as the radiant full moon shone down a short stone passageway beyond the doorway. The sleek and lustrous moon, which I had never before seen save in dreams and in vague visions I dared not call memories.


Fancying now that I had reached the very top of the castle, I rushed up the few steps beyond the door, but stumbled when the moon was suddenly veiled by a cloud, and I felt my way more slowly in the dark. It was still very dark when I reached the source of the light - a grate in the wall, which I tried carefully and found unlocked, but which I did not open for fear of falling from the amazing height to which I had climbed. [BEAT] Then...the moon came out again.


Most demonical of all shocks is that of the abysmally unexpected and grotesquely unbelievable. Nothing I had undergone compared in terror with what I saw - with the all bizarre marvels I saw. The sight was as simple as it was stupefying, for it was merely this: instead of a dizzying prospect of treetops, there was nothing less than the solid ground, covered by marble slabs and columns, and overshadowed by an ancient stone church, whose ruined spire gleamed spectrally in the moonlight.


Half unconscious, I opened the grating and staggered out upon the white gravel path that stretched away in two directions. My mind, stunned and chaotic as it was, still held that frantic craving for light. I neither knew nor cared whether my experience was insanity, dreaming, or magic; but I was determined to gaze on the brilliance at any cost. I knew not who I was, or what my surroundings might be. I continued to stumble along and became conscious of a kind of fearsome latent memory that made my progress not wholly pleasurable. I wandered on through the open country in the moonlit night, sometimes following the visible road, sometimes leaving it curiously to tread across meadows where only occasional ruins spoke of the history of this place. Once I swam across a swift river where crumbling, mossy masonry told of a bridge long since lost to time.


Hours must have passed before I came upon a venerable ivied castle in a thickly wooded park; maddeningly familiar, yet full of perplexing strangeness. I saw that the moat was filled in, and that some of the towers were demolished, while new wings existed to confuse the beholder. I observed with delight open windows, gorgeously ablaze with light and sending forth sounds of the merriest revelry. Advancing to one such window, I looked in and saw an oddly dressed company, laughing and speaking brightly to one another. I could guess only vaguely what was said. Some of the faces seemed to hold familiar expressions, others were utterly alien.


I now stepped through a low window into the brilliantly lit room, moving from my single brightest moment of hope and joy to the darkest convulsion of despair. The nightmare came quickly, for as I entered, there was immediately one of the most terrifying demonstrations I could imagine. Scarcely had I entered when there descended upon the whole company a sudden and unheralded fear of hideous intensity, distorting each and every face and evoking the most horrible screams. The entire party fled, and in the panic and fright several fell in a dead faint and were dragged away by their madly fleeing companions. Many covered their eyes with their hands, and plunged blindly in their race to freedom; stumbling against the walls and knocking into furniture before managing to escape.


As I stood in the brilliant apartment alone and dazed, listening to the echoing cries of terror, I trembled at the thought of what might be lurking near me unseen. The room seemed deserted, but when I moved toward one of the alcoves I thought I detected a presence there. A small hint of motion beyond the doorway leading to an even grander room. As I approached the room, I began to perceive the presence more clearly. Suddenly, with the first and last sound I ever uttered (a ghastly wail that revolted me almost as deeply as its horrible cause), I beheld in full, frightful vividness the inconceivable, indescribable, and unmentionable monstrosity that had changed the merry company into a herd of delirious fugitives.


I cannot even hint what it’s appearance was like, for it was a compound of all that is unclean, uncanny, unwelcome, abnormal, and detestable. It was the ghoulish shade of decay, antiquity, and desolation; the putrid, dripping phantom of unwholesome revelation; the awful uncovering of what the merciful gods should always hide. It could not have been of this world, yet, to my horror, I saw in its eaten-away and bone-revealing outlines a leering, abhorrent travesty on the human shape.


I was almost paralysed in shock and fear, but made a feeble effort toward flight; an awkward, backwards stumble which failed to break the spell in which the monstrous creature held me. My eyes, bewitched by the glassy orbs which stared loathsomely into them, refused to close. They were mercifully blurred, and showed the terrible monster indistinctly after the first shock. I tried to raise my hand over my eyes, but in my fear, my arm would not fully obey my will. The attempted movement was enough to disturb my balance, and I staggered forward several steps to avoid falling. As I did so, I became suddenly and agonisingly aware of the nearness of the despicable thing, whose hideous, rattling death breathing I half-fancied I could hear. Nearly mad, I threw out a hand to ward off the reeking apparition, and in one  cataclysmic second of cosmic nightmare and hellish accident my fingers touched the rotting outstretched paw of the monster!


I did not shriek, but all the fiendish ghouls that ride the night-wind shrieked for me as in that same second there crashed down upon my mind a single and fleeting avalanche of soul-annihilating memory. 


In that second I knew all that had been, I remembered beyond the frightful castle and the trees, and most terrible of all, I knew the unholy abomination that stood leering before me as I withdrew my sullied fingers from its own.


In the supreme horror of that second I forced myself to forget what had horrified me, and the burst of black memory vanished in a chaos of echoing images. In a dream I fled from that haunted and accursed place, and ran swiftly and silently in the moonlight. When I returned to the churchyard place of marble and went down the steps I found the stone trap-door immovable, but I had hated the antique castle and the trees of the world below and was not sorry. 


Now instead I ride with the mocking and friendly ghouls on the night-wind of this world above, and play by day amongst the catacombs. I know that the light is not for me, save that of the moon over ruins and tombs; yet in my new wildness and freedom I almost welcome the bitterness of loneliness.


For although forgetting has calmed me, I know always that I am the outsider; a stranger in this world and among those who are still men. This I have known ever since I stretched out my fingers to the abomination; stretched out my fingers and touched nothing but the cold and unyielding surface of polished glass!



JENNA: 

Ghastly wail

Evil Laugh/Cackle

 lest I lose my way in a labyrinth of night.


Through endless twilights I dreamed…. and waited.