Heather Cohn, John Lenartz, Alisha Speilmann, Emily Hartford, Greg Oliver Bodine, Corey Allen, & Morgan McGuire of “The Sea Concerto”

Flux Theatre Ensemble presents THE SEA CONCERTO, written by August Schulenburg, directed by Heather Cohn and Kelly O'DonnellListen in as the cast & one of the directors of Flux Theatre Ensemble’s world premiere production of August Schulenburg’s The Sea Concerto—performers Morgan McGuire, Corey Allen, Greg Oliver Bodine, John Lenartz, Emily Hartford, and John Lenartz, with co-director Heather Cohn—discuss the importance of ensemble work, working from the outside in, familial and artistic legacies, finding a way into some very different & difficult characters, returning to past works, what can happen when your “scene partner” doesn’t show up until opening night, and why we make art.

“…I think what’s really interesting about this play…is that it asks the question, and answers the question, at the same time…and they’re constantly resonating throughout the play…”

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Craig Smith & Elise Stone of “Judas”

Phoenix Theatre Ensemble presents JUDAS, written by Robert Patrick, directed by Craig SmithListen in as Phoenix Theatre Ensemble Artistic Director Craig Smith, who directs & plays “Pontius Pilate” in the company’s new production of Robert Patrick’s Judas, along with fellow cast-member Elise Stone (“Mary”), discuss giving equal weight to both sides, the drama of philosophical arguments, the challenge of living a good life, “blasphemy,” libertarianism and faith, communication breakdowns between mothers and sons, what happens when we see our heroes as humans, and how to answer the big question: “what are we supposed to do?”

“…I think that’s a dilemma for anyone who’s trying to live some kind of ethical, humane life in a really messed up world. And the world is really messed up for Judas, and the world is really messed up for all of us right now. So when I listen to Judas’s struggle, I feel like it’s so human. There’s all these wonderful words, and all this wonderful language…and then there’s this real human-ness…”

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Adam Kraar & Mark Plesent of “Alternating Currents”

Working Theater presents ALTERNATING CURRENTS, written by Adam Kraar, directed by Kareem FahmyListen in as Mark Plesent, Producing Artistic Director of Working Theater, and Adam Kraar, the playwright of Alternating Currents, the company’s new show in their “Five Boroughs/One City Initiative,” discuss inspiration from the unique place of Electchester, Queens, discovering your main characters, putting an audience’s own story onstage, “wonderment,” advice for new indie theatre artists, and what it takes to live in a community.

“…what quickly gripped me…was the multiplicity of voices that seemed to contradict each other, about everything from the politics of the street fair, to how nice it is to live here, to what race relationships are like. And everybody was very heartfelt and sincere, but there were a lot of contradictions, some disturbing things, some really inspiring things. So the initial impulse for the piece was really to write a play for a multiplicity of voices…”

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Rob Neill, Ayun Halliday, Eevin Hartsough, & Daniel Mirsky of “Wind-Up Variations”

New York Neo-Futurists present WIND-UP VARIATIONS, created, written, and directed by Rob NeillListen in as Wind-Up Variations creator/writer/director Rob Neill, along with performer Ayun Halliday, Eevin Hartsough, and Daniel Mirsky, discuss the Neo-Futurist aesthetic, following a monkey across a waste-land, dialogue-mining, finding your mechanical avatar, inviting the audience, and having a plan through the chaos of live performance.

“…that’s an opportunity, and not everybody will take it. And that’s part of the magic; ‘let’s see what happens next…'”

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Nick Benacerraf, Jess Chayes, Stephen Aubrey, and Jax Jackson of “SEAGULLMACHINE”

La Mama E.T.C., in association with The Assembly, presents SEAGULLMACHINE, created by The Assembly, conceived by Nick Benacerraf, co-directed by Jess Chayes & Nick BenacerrafListen in as collaborators on The Assembly’s SEAGULLMACHINE—conceiver/co-director Nick Benacerraf, co-director Jess Chayes, dramaturg Steven Aubrey, and performer Jax Jackson—discuss layering multiple theatrical sources, permission to find points of resonance, turning on a dime, the company’s development process, finding new roles through that process, bringing an audience into a world “oozing word-slime,” different versions of ourselves, and the question of whether or not theatre can produce change.

“…every night, by a certain time in the play, it feels like we’re also just people, human beings in a room with our audience. And that has been one of the most special experiences of it, to me…”

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Heather E. Cunningham, Gina Femia, Chad Anthony Miller, & Ben Schnickel of “We Are a Masterpiece”

Retro Productions presents WE ARE A MASTERPIECE, written by Gina Femia, directed by DeLisa M. WhiteListen in as Retro Productions Producing Artistic Director (and “Joan” in the show) Heather E. Cunningham, along with fellow performers Chad Anthony Miller & Ben Schnickel and playwright Gina Femia of We Are a Masterpiece, discuss multiple lenses, levity in the midst of suffering, what makes a play “aggressively contemporary” (and where that fits into the “retro” of Retro Productions), “the cyclical nature of prejudice,” healing through art, universality through specificity, what we’re capable of, and making the choice of love.

“…there’s always hope. Hope is always the way through tragedy, and despair. Yes, this is a very sad story, and yes, you will cry, and we cry. But there are beautiful things that happen when people, in the face of adversity, step up to the plate and do what’s best for their fellow human beings…”

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Ran Xia, Nicholas Orvis, Andrea Lopez, and Max Henry of “Echo”

The Tank presents ECHO, written by Ran Xia, directed by Nicholas OrvisListen in as Echo creator & sound sculptor Ran Xia, along with director Nicholas Orvis and performers Andrea Lopez & Max Henry, discuss inspiration from books about harmonicas, moving from sound collage to stage play, improvising to audio, physicality with constantly changing things, handling nakedly honest material, timelessness vs. time specificity, and the importance of simply listening.

“…when I was editing them, it’s like, I could cry, like every second, every other track, because everybody was just so open, and very real. You get real very fast…”

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Elizabeth Hess, Katie Palmer, and Lucas Tahiruzzaman Syed of “Love Trade”

La Mama and The Hess Collective present LOVE TRADE, written and directed by Elizabeth HessListen in as Love Trade writer/director/performer Elizabeth Hess, along with collaborators/performers Katie Palmer and Lucas Tahiruzzaman Syed, discuss their collaborative process, feminist revenge fantasies, integrating and playing with the audience, fetishization of race, balloons, lived text, and performance poetry.

“…it’s a very hybrid approach to performance, and I am a magpie. I am thrilled that Lucas is foremost a musician…Katie is also herself an artistic director, and she’s got an incredibly strong dance background. I beg, borrow, and steal from that […] create [your] own hybrid approach that really resonates with [your] own voice and vision…”

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Jessica Burr of “Platonov, or, A Play with No Name”

Blessed Unrest presents PLATONOV, or, A Play with No Name, translated and adapted by Laura Wickens from the play by Anton Chekhov, directed by Jessica BurrListen in as Blessed Unrest Artistic Director and director of Platanov, or, A Play with No NameJessica Burr, discusses the company’s staging process for the round, adapting early Chekhov, finding the humanity in “dreadful” people, putting the audience in the world of the characters, sleepless nights thanks to blocking, and the similarities between this 140-year-old play and our current world.

“…I guess for me, ultimately, I don’t go to the theatre to see Platonov, or to see Hamlet. I go to the theatre to see actors, to see human beings being exposed…that’s really what I want to see. Of course it’s story, it’s narrative, it’s context, but it’s really about the humans, we put these humans in this situation, and we watch and see what they do. And hopefully we learn from them.”

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Emma Miller, Abby Awe, Julia Greer, & Eva Ravenal of “Athena”

The Hearth presents ATHENA, written by Gracie Gardner, directed by Emma Miller, at JACKListen in as director Emma Miller and the full cast of AthenaAbby Awe, Julia Greer, and Eva Ravenal—discuss learning how to fence for the show, script development in the room, “navigating how to be a person,” shocking rarity, working from the inside out, tapping into the extremities of being a teenager, and the simply radical.

“…we are enthusiastic about plays that take seriously what it feels like to grow up in a female body. I think this play takes really seriously what it feels like to make friends, and what it feels like to navigate the world as a young woman…”

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