Bitcherton, please

An interview with the cast of Bitcherton on crowdfunding their improvised Regency comedy podcast

Bitcherton, please
Credit: Many Sided Media

The Regency Era is having a moment. Bridgerton is one of the most popular shows on television, Dimension 20 released A Court of Fey & Flowers, and Pride & Prejudice memes flood my social media feeds despite my never having seen the film. Now, the team at Many Sided Media is joining in on the action. Best known for their award-winning actual play anthology My First Dungeon and TTRPG interview series Talk of the Table, Many Sided Media recently launched the pilot episode of Bitcherton

An improvised comedy inspired by the stories of Jane Austen, Bitcherton follows the eponymous family in the wake of their patriarch’s untimely demise. In an era where women had little (if any) social power, the Bitchertons will do everything they can to keep their recent loss a secret—especially when the overly-curious Vicar Glennwald Devoutly and his bachelor son Davis come seeking the hand of one of Lady Patience Bitcherton’s unwed daughters. 

Bitcherton’s main cast has some returning Many Sided Media faces like Brian Flaherty, Carolyn Page (DIE, Nine Lives To Valhalla) and Katie Marovitch (Good Society); along with comedian Cassie Wilson and improvisers one might recognize from the Dropout stable like Alex Song-Xia (Mentopolis, Mission to Zyx) and Ify Nwadiwe (Um, Actually). Notable guest performers for the season include Rekha Shankar (DesiQuest, Smartypants), Tao Yang (Breaking News), and Nathan Yaffee (Drawfee).  

The series reached the top five US Comedy Fiction podcasts on Apple less than a week after its May 30 debut. While this is the studio’s first major departure from actual play into improvised audio podcasts, it still holds My First Dungeon’s signature production quality with a soundtrack composed by the unendingly versatile BE/HOLD. With this proof of concept, the cast is hoping to fund ten episodes of the show through a Kickstarter campaign that will run through July 13.

Last week, Rascal sat down with the cast of Bitcherton to talk through that shift from actual play to long form improv comedy, how they prepare to perform in an improvised period piece, and the importance of funding independent media. 

This interview took place over two sessions, and has been edited for clarity, length, and flow.

Rowan Zeoli: What is the impetus to create your own independent programming?

Brian Flaherty: Many Sided Media is known right now mostly for our actual play My First Dungeon. And I love those. But also there's this whole side of shows that I love, particularly the podcast Mission to Zyxx, which is an improvised science fiction podcast that I think is The. Best. Podcast. Ever. It is my North star for this show.

We didn't have an idea of what that would look like for a long time. It was just this vague idea of “I want to do something like that.” And the thing that clicked was we did a season of My First Dungeon—a game of Good Society, which is a Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice-inspired role playing game. Katie was a part of it, as was Caro. It was incredibly fun, and it got pretty close to what we wanted to do there. So, all of a sudden we had a format we wanted to do and a genre we wanted to do. And that answered it.

Katie Marovitch: I like creating my own projects. Doing stuff yourself is the only way to really have what you want. You're not answering to someone else. There is so much value in making your own podcast, doing your own short films, or shooting your own pilot. That's really the only way for your true voice to come out and to show people. 

"Independent art lives and dies by the audience support."