Listen: INSOMNIA and THE LONG WEEKEND (Radio Drama)

December 11, 2006

INSOMNIA (26:00 mins)

‘A radio drama set in the mind of an insomniac.’

Listen to the trailer

producer: Billy Senese

“Insomnia. The night seems endless. Your mind races with thoughts. After lying in the dark for a few hours, you begin to drift in and out of consciousness. The mind begins to play games as your thoughts bounce this way and that; memories are distorted and rationalized, reality becomes nothing more than strings of associations and tangents. Feelings of insanity slowly set in.
Sydney can not sleep due to impending test results from his doctor. Lying awake in bed, he is plagued with the seemingly endless possibilities of terrible outcomes. Emotional and distraught, he desperately searches for some semblance of meaning in his life. As his inner search deepens, he discovers that the only thing that matters is the one woman he should never have let go. ”

Listen to the full play here



THE LONG WEEKEND (24:00 mins)

‘A radio drama about love and fear – a story that starts off with a harmless dream of an affair and ends with two people running for their lives.’

Listen to the trailer

producer: Billy Senese

“A young married couple from the city, in the midst of relationship troubles, decides to spend a long weekend out in the country. They are city dwellers and are not at all used to the strangeness of the deep woods. Sleepless from the heat and mosquitoes, recent unspoken and delicate issues begin to surface. As their playful dialogue gradually deteriorates into resentment and anger, something out in the woods creeps closer to their cabin. Something unforeseen. Something terrifying.”

Listen to the full play here



Production notes of INSOMNIA and THE LONG WEEKEND by Billy Senese.

Read PRX EB Joseph Dougherty’s review of THE LONG WEEKEND


December 11, 2006

Production Notes: Insomnia and The Long Weekend

by Billy Senese for The Sound Palette (Dec. 11, 2006)

In the beginning…

When producing “Insomnia” and “The Long Weekend”, I began purely from the point of view of a filmmaker. I had never produced anything for radio before, so I really had no other direction but to proceed as though I was making a couple of short films.

I came up with an idea. I wrote some scripts. I cast it, planned it, shot (recorded) it, cut it, produced the sound design, and produced the music.

So what was the difference then?

From a financial standpoint, I didn’t need all that extra crew hanging around. That was kind of nice. I didn’t need a camera or lights – very nice. There were no locations, no set design, no costumes, no makeup – nice, nice, nice, nice. No headaches? Yeah, right. There were still plenty of challenges to be met, especially when it came to the writing and performances.

For instance, in “The Long Weekend”, a married couple is arguing over whether or not they should have a baby. How many unsaid issues in a marriage are communicated simply through body language? How do you show body language in radio? You’re forced to come up with more imaginative solutions (tone, space, a well-placed sigh, silence, music, etc.) What I successfully avoided was using exposition or narration. Albeit, there is nothing wrong with exposition or narration, it’s just not the choice I would’ve made if it were a film script. And that’s the discipline I maintained throughout these plays.

Production Notes -“Insomnia”

The lead actress, Rachael Hofmann, flew in from Washington, DC to record her parts. After she returned home, I discovered that the entire final scene of the piece was missing from the audio source – whoops! It just so happens that the final scene is set entirely over the phone. So I borrowed a friend’s junky 8 bit digital recorder specifically designed to record phone conversations and re-recorded the scene live between my phone in Nashville and hers in DC. The 8 bit natural phone effect was perfect (I could have never duplicated the sound quality I was looking for as well with filters), and the conditions ended up leading to better performances all around. Sometimes you need things to go wrong.

Production Notes – “The Long Weekend”

Creating the monster sounds was by far the hardest challenge to overcome in this piece (I can’t even imagine the difficulties I would have faced with an independent film). Thomas Nola ( came up with the noises, and I maneuvered them into the piece. We knew we wanted a real monster – not something about which you’d say, “That sounds like a bear” or, “That sounds like this or that.” At the same time, we didn’t want it to be anything silly, alien, or unreal – very difficult to do. After many trials and errors, I believe we pulled it off.

Listen to trailers of INSOMNIA and THE LONG WEEKEND and links to the full play on PRX.

Read PRX EB Joseph Dougherty’s review of THE LONG WEEKEND

billypic.jpgBilly Senese is an independent filmmaker, producer and writer living in Nashville, Tennessee. His feature film debut, “Dark Awakening,” will be released shortly. His work focuses on the darker, hidden aspects of humanity. In the last year he has turned his attention to writing and producing radio dramas.

Senese Productions:

PRX Review: THE LONG WEEKEND (Radio Drama)

December 11, 2006

The Long Weekend (24:00)

produced by Billy Senese

review by Joseph Dougherty for PRX (Dec. 2, 2006)

“Well acted and carefully produced to create a sense of aural-cinema, ‘The Long Weekend’ is a subtle, cumulatively discomforting tale of a couple alone in a country house, plagued by mosquitoes, their own carefully carved secrets, and noises approaching from the dark woods that might turn out to be something much more lethal than simply a metaphor for a shaky marriage.

Creator Billy Senese requests that his plays be listened to ‘late at night, with the lights off and the imagination free to roam.’ He knows that the best theater resides in the space behind our eyes and I’d suggest honoring his request. ”

INSOMNIA trailer and links to full production here