Aristotle’s Dramatic Structure or Freytag’s Pyramid Breakdown
If ever there was an audio drama, which followed the Greek philosopher Aristotle’s view of dramatic structure or Freytag’s Pyramid, Liberty: Critical Research is it. On both a large and small scale, the first season of this post-apocalyptic audio drama is, at its heart, a modern take on the story structure students learned in grade school—including the pitfalls of mapping it to a newer genre and medium.
Without going into too much detail about Freytag’s Pyramid, the first season of the Liberty: Critical Research podcast starts off in the exposition phase for three whole episodes. The first two serve primarily as world-building seminars for the listener. It’s not until the third episode where the cast is introduced in a way that makes them likable and feel more like real people and actually like a story.
The world-building under the surface barely seems present. To use another piece of classic writing advice known as the Iceberg principle, the impression of there being a larger world seemed muddled and over-stimulated by everything else in the first few episodes. A writer needs to give the impression that their setting is deeper than it appears on the surface. For Liberty: Critical Research, the world is only a few feet deep. There’s no sense of anything exciting until later.
Freytag’s Post-Apocalypic Pyramid
The next few episodes, the tone shifts to a more dark and sinister bearing as the team enters the fringe and finds themselves knee deep in the post-apocaypltic wasteland. Emphasis on “waste” in one episode in particular. It’s akin to a Hollywood pitch like Mad Max: Fury Road meets Fallout 3. The resulting story resembles the antagonist’s brutality in the recent Mad Max movie, but with the setting being less important. If not completely skippable, like in Fallout 4.
That being said, there’s a lot here if you like post-apocalyptic settings. However, don’t expect much difference between this and the hallmarks of the genre. In that sense, it’s kind of generic. A good story overall and worth the effort. The fact the episodes are basically short stories in and of themselves makes the job of listening more manageable. For that it deserves a better rating than decent.
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