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European Bright Sessions: Audio Drama as Therapy

The audio drama “La Fleur de la Solitude” sets itself up as my therapy sessions between my therapy sessions. Jokes aside, with the popularity of “Bright Sessions” in the audio drama landscape, copycat shows were bound to follow. Honestly, I’m surprised there weren’t any sooner. To “The Flower of Solitude’s” (the show title’s English translation) credit, it separates itself from Lauren Shippen’s creation by keeping the premise of the show realistic and constant. There aren’t supernatural elements here and because of that it tells a story that feels more grounded

Another fan recommendation for everybody. This one comes from composer, Ivana Markovic, of the podcast “La Fleur de la Solitude.” Ivana recommends this show because it offers “a compelling narrative that explores the transformative power of solitude and its role in fostering authenticity.”

Grounded Emotional Simplicity

“La Fleur de la Solitude” isn’t just “Bright Sessions” without the science fiction. It tells its own story, taking the simplicity of the popular series’ first season to the next level. This audio drama by contrast doesn’t sacrifice emotion for superpowers and heists. Not that the “Bright Sessions” is void of any emotional resonance. It’s just pushed toward the season two finale, much like a person ignoring the signs and breaking down when the emotion those signs it pointed to become too much. A good tactic for fiction writing, but definitely not in real life.

Skimming the next few episode descriptions makes me afraid for the characters. Freeda in particular, has formed such a bond with her therapist Immortelle that sentences “[They] haven’t spoken in three months” create anxiety as it might be the first external plot point in the show.

Deep Thoughts for an Audio Drama Therapy

Moving in closer to the show’s content, the most obvious thing of note is the theme music. The opening and closing of the show sounds more like it belongs with “Game of Thrones” than something more down to earth. it’s like putting the “Lord of the Rings” theme in a Transformers movie.

While on the subject of music, the score from Ivana Markovic can be catchy, exotic, and haunting. Most of the songs play near the end and when you’re fully immersed in the story before it comes on, it’s hard not feel those emotions triggered by the characters and plot get amplified. Since all episodes are over 30 minutes, there are a number of ways one can get distracted. By far that was the hardest part about listening. When I was hooked, time seemed to slow down. When quiet moments happened, the pacing sometimes sped up. Experiencing time in that way was not typical for me, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

After hours of listening on and off, the final episode got me in a way that I expected, but I didn’t prepare for nearly enough. The episode starts out with a letter written from Freeda to Immortelle. The two episodes prior to the finale were good in the moment, but for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you what happened that the episodes’ descriptions don’t already tell.

Because I was clearly starting to lose interest by the penultimate episode, the fact my eyes watered not even ten minutes into the final one is a testament to the writing and the cross-generational appeal of this audio drama as therapy.

9/10 Stars