Edward Einhorn, Patrice Miller, and Gyda Arber of “Money Lab”

Untitled Theater Company #61 presents MONEY LAB at HERE Arts CenterIf you’re listening to this podcast, then it’s very likely you’re all-too-familiar with the sometimes-insurmountable-seeming economic barriers to creating independent theatre in New York (for info on some of the groups that are working to make it better, go back and listen to GSAS! Episode 150, on the Crisis to Creation Town Hall event).

But what about actively exploring economic realities on stage, as part of your theatre? How would you do that?

Economists said it wouldn’t be possible, but Untitled Theater Company #61‘s Edward Einhorn has proven them wrong with Money Lab. Billed as “an economic vaudeville,” you’re in for a night of scenes, music, dance, and performance around economic themes, running in a repertory style with different bills each night, all while two economies are created for (and by) the audience, and tracked in real-time.

Listen in as Edward, along with choreographer & assistant producer Patrice Miller and co-creator of the economic game performance Gyda Arber, discuss how you find an economist to perform in your independent theatre piece, finding the meaning of abstract economic terms through dance, determining the value of an artist’s time, and bailouts after bad bets by audience-members.

Untiled Theater Company #61 presents

Money Lab

curated & directed by Edward Einhorn
game design by Edward Einhorn and Gyda Arber
assistant producer Patrice Miller

March 20–April 11, 2015
various performers by date; see the full schedule

HERE Arts Center
145 6th Avenue

tickets: $20 (plus a $5-$10 buy-in), available via OvationTix

Stephanie Willing and Dine Rose Gray in DEAD CAT BOUNCE, part of MONEY LAB, photo by Arthur Cornelius Moira Stone in THE MONEY ATHEIST, part of MONEY LAB, photo by Arthur Cornelius Emcee Mick O'Brien at the Exchange Booth with Gyda Arber, in MONEY LAB, photo by Arthur Cornelius Russ Roberts in A CONVERSATION WITH ADAM SMITH, part of MONEY LAB, photo by Arthur Corneliusphotos by Arthur Cornelius

Jonathan Warman, Rosemary Howard, and Rob Skolits of “Quit the Road, Jack”

Quit the Road Jack, written by Jerry Polner, directed by Jonathan WarmanAh, the angst of the angry young man. “His fist in the air, and his head in the sand,” as a Long Island poet once said.

The titular character of Jerry Polner’s Quit the Road, Jack is just such a young man, but instead of staying at home with his back to the wall, he’s on the lam across the continent, with his hapless, divorced, bickering parents two steps behind.

GSAS! spoke with the show’s director Jonathan Warman, as well as actors Rosemary Howard and Rob Skolits—listen in as they discuss quirkiness and outsiders, balancing truth & comedy, surreal vs. more than real, drawing inspiration from political cartoons & Mexican street art, and inspiring conversations outside the theater.

“The more truthful and real it is…it actually is more funny.”

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Tara Ahmadinejad and Elliot B. Quick of Piehole’s “Old Paper Houses”

Piehole presents Old Paper Houses, directed by Tara AhmadinejadI’m not particularly stoic, but having grown up in the Northeast, I start to get a little annoyed when all the usual complaints about snow and cold start piling up during the winter—it’s winter, it’s supposed to be snowy and cold.

But, with this winter season having felt particularly rough on New York (at least, if you can believe all those Facebook posts and Gothamist articles…hey, at least we didn’t have it as bad as Boston, right?), it was likely the perfect season for Piehole‘s Old Paper Houses, which grew from the ensemble’s frustration with winter a couple years back, then passed through poetry about New England, transcendentalist communes, Nathaniel Hawthorne, nostalgia…and more.

Sound wild? It is, in the best of ways.

Listen in as director Tara Ahmadinejad and dramaturg (and returning podcast guest) Elliot B. Quick discuss collective creation in Piehole, dioramas, starting a book club to figure out what you want to do next, shifting perspectives, and physical research to get the appropriate action of shoveling show onstage.

(and seriously, there’s more entertainment awaiting you after the show, so be sure to budget some time to stick around and hang!)

“The piece is a meditation on New England, and utopian longing, and the weather, and it cycles through these different perspectives…”

“…it started from us being artists in New York in a winter two years ago, and feeling a lot of utopian longing…”

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TOWN HALL: Crisis to Creation

Martin E. Segal Theater Center hosts the Crisis to Creation Town HallTo celebrate this 150th Episode of the podcast—something a little different for Go See a Show!

Instead of interviewing theatre-makers about their work, the mic is in front of the advocates who are behind various independent theatre community initiatives to make the process of making things in this city a little bit easier.

The episode was recorded at Crisis to Creation, a Town Hall hosted by the Martin E. Segal Theater Center and co-curated by Brad Burgess in collaboration with Frank Hentschker. The event brought together representatives from some of the city’s most active & innovative arts advocacy organizations, as well as the Department of Cultural Affairs Chairman Tom Finkelpearl, and the City Council Majority Leader (and this podcaster’s local councilman!), arts-champion Jimmy Van Bramer, who was presented with a special award for Civic Engagement in the Arts.

I was able to catch Councilmember Van Bramer on the mic to talk about just what civic engagement in the arts means to him, as well as several others advocating on behalf of artists in New York; he closes the podcast, but in addition to his comments, listen in to hear from:

Chris Harcum, past podcast guest, the inspiration for this episode of GSAS!, former Managing Director of the League of Independent Theater, and fierce arts advocate

August Schulenburg, Vice President of the Network of Ensemble Theaters, an organization for companies that work and create as an ensemble (and, another multiple past podcast guest!)

Laura Caparrotti, head of the League of Independent Theater’s Foreign Language Working Group, working to enhance the visibility and overcome the unique challenges of producing foreign-language theatre in New York

Heather Woodfield, Executive Director of One Percent for Culture, who are advocating the city to make city funding for culture 1% of the city’s municipal expense budget (currently, it’s .21%)

Monica Valenzuela, Deputy Director of Staten Island Arts, the organization supporting the island’s independent artists

Tamara Greenfield, Executive Director of Fourth Arts Block, the organization advancing the East 4th Street Cultural District (where a lot of shows covered on this podcast take place!)

Listen in to all these great folks discuss the incredible work they’re doing on behalf of New York’s independent arts community; and, I would encourage you (as Chris does there at the start of the episode) to join the League of Independent Theater, our community’s political advocacy organization. Membership is free, and you’ll be adding your voice to a chorus of artists advocating for the interests of independent theatre; those would be your interests, too. Come join us—we are the 99 seats (or less!).

“I love this work, I love these people…the truth is, it’s a little bit of self-interest, in the sense that politics is a difficult business to be in, and it can wear you down…but I get a lot of energy when I am around people in the arts community, and I love the vibe and I love the energy…I get stronger every time I come to something like this…” —New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer

Jeremy Duncan Pape, Megan Lee, and Matthew Kreiner of No Win Productions’ “Woyzeck, FJF”

No Win Productions presents Woyzeck, FJF at The New OhioEver come across a script that speaks to you so strongly, you just have to produce it?

I know that sort of thing has certainly happened to me (you’ll be among the first to know when I actually produce it, dear listeners), and it’s pretty-much what happened to director Jeremy Duncan Pape with Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck.

After a university production, Pape wanted to get his adaptation, Woyzeck, FJF, out to the world—so he formed a company with collaborators Megan Lee and Matthew Kreiner. The three of them are the beating heart of No Win Productions, and their premiere production is currently running at The New Ohio.

Listen in as Jeremy, Megan, and Matthew discuss moving chronologies, understanding a piece of art’s history, insanity, making the transition to producing, and why these cats founded a new company.

“Part of our mission statement is looking at people, and humanity in general, in circumstances that cannot be overcome…”

“I hope that our audience members are given the opportunity to look at these things and relate to an impossible situation…’what if I were in that kind of situation?’…and hopefully, dare I say it, we can all be a little more compassionate through that kind of understanding…”

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Jon Stancato & Kiran Rikhye of “Kill Me Like You Mean It”

Stolen Chair Theatre Company presents Kill Me Like You Mean It, written by Kiran Rikhye and directed by Jon StancatoTough detectives. Tougher dames. Double-crosses. Cigarettes. Shadows. Fedoras. All the hallmarks of film noir.

With their show Kill Me Like You Mean It, playwright Kiran Rikhye and director Jon Stancato (no strangers to the podcast—definitely check out their interviews from past Stolen Chair shows The Man Who Laughs and Potion) transfer all those classic film noir elements to the stage.

Then, they add in a healthy dose of theatre of the absurd.

What comes out is an absurdly fun & tightly executed piece of drama.

Listen in as Jon & Kiran discuss re-mounting (and revamping) a show from their past, audience placement as camera angles, abandoning tetralogies, having your actors create their own vocal musical score, and honing the rhythmic and sonic nature of your show.

“There’s something really unsettling about it…even though it is fun, and even though it is a comedy, it sort of is a deeply unnerving world…”

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Matt Cox of “Kapow-i GoGo”

The PIT presents Kapow-i GoGo, written by Matt CoxA theatre-artist’s day-job can be…well, it can be soul-sucking.

But, if you look at it right, it can instead be a source of material for your creative projects.

At his day-job in a certain New York City comic-book landmark, Matt Cox found the inspiration for Kapow-i GoGo, the most epic fun you can have in a manga-and-video-game-inspired episodic comedy series, now running over several weeks at The PIT.

Listen in as Matt, as the show’s creator and writer (and portrayer of Mr. Snuggles), discusses how he came up with his blue-haired heroine, playing in your own piece, costuming on a budget, and working on a deadline.

“…sometimes I find I make funnier things up in the moment than I did when I was staring at my computer for ten hours…”

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Karim Muasher, Carrie Brown, Becca Bernard, and Melinda Jean Ferraraccio of “Dog Show”

Animal Engine presents Dog Show at FRIGID NEW YORKEveryone loves dogs.

And theatre-goers love a good farce.

So, why not do a show with dogs acting out a farce?

It may sound like a unique starting place—but you’d be surprised how many points of contact there are. Animal Engine is the company making those connections in their new, appropriately titled Dog Show, based on Sauce for the Goose by Georges Feydeau, and running as part of Frigid New York.

Come dressed as a dog, and your ticket’s just $10. Seriously.

Listen in as the team behind Animal Engine, director Karim Muasher & Carrie Brown, and their fabulous collaborators Becca Bernard and Melinda Jean Ferraraccio, discuss base instincts, refining a comedy, working from disparate source material, and, of course, dogs.

“The idea with farce is that the characters are all really led by their base instincts…sex, hunger, lust, all of those things…and that’s sort kind of like the dog brain, they don’t really stop to think, they just kinda go for it…that’s sort of the idea of using dogs…”

“We’re trying to find those meeting points…where do the dogs and the humans intersect in a way that’s funny and interesting…”

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Nat Cassidy, Matthew Trumbull, and Arthur Aulisi of “The Temple, or, Lebensraum”

The Temple, or, Lebensraum, written and directed by Nat Cassidy, at The Brick TheaterIt surprised me to hear that Nat Cassidy‘s new work The Temple, or, Lebensraum, currently running at The Brick, was based on a story by godfather of horror H. P. Lovecraft, because in all my collections of the man’s writings, I hadn’t read it.

It’s an early piece of his, available for free online, so I breezed through it on my way to the theatre. But where the original is a small (and, truth be told, somewhat weak) tale from 1920 set on a German submarine in World War I, Cassidy’s adaptation moves that submarine to 1943 (and is anything but weak).

While it’s completely unnecessary to read the story in advance, if you’re familiar with it, you’ll see a lot that’s familiar (dolphins!); but you’ll also quickly realize this isn’t just a stage adaptation. This is full adaptation, pulling the undersea dread of Lovecraft’s short story from simply a fear of the unknown into a complex play simultaneously weaving in fear of a well-known terror that humanity constantly struggles with: the fight amongst ourselves for power, and self-preservation.

Now that’s horror.

Listen in as Nat, along with two of the show’s actors, Arthur Aulisi and Matthew Trumbull, discuss why this particular Lovecraft story and why it’s set in WWII, “terrible things,” finding authentic costumes for your show, I am Providence, and dealing with things that are way too huge for the human mind.

“I try to parse out what it is in our souls, or in our psyches…why it is that we find chaos so terrifying. What does it make us ask, what does it force us to confront about ourselves…to find the humanity in horror…”

“There’s a very strong…you can’t even call it an undercurrent, it’s the main current of the show, is joking, and humor…one of the many reasons for that is horror and humor are hand in hand, they’re so intricately related…”

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Maurice Decaul, Alex Mallory, and the cast of “Dijla Wal Furat: Between the Tigris and the Euphrates”

Poetic Theater Productions presents Dijla Wal Furat: Between the Tigris and the Euphrates, by Maurice Decaul, irected by Alex MalloryPoetic License is back—GSAS! was there for the first installment way back in 2012, and though sadly I’ve missed the last two, Poetic Theater ProductionsAlex Mallory and Jeffrey Karafin are now presenting their fourth year of new poetic theater.

One of the two full-length plays anchoring this year’s festival is Dijla Wal Furat: Between the Tigris and the Euphrates, directed by Mallory and written by Maurice Decaul, who has the unique perspective to write about the early days of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, because he was actually there, serving in the Marine Corps. The play follows four distinct perspectives over a couple weeks in 2003, weaving a tale that shows not just the hell of war, but also the humanity of each person involved.

The festival only has a couple more days from the posting of this episode, so head on over to the Poetic Theater Productions’ website to check out what you can still see; it’ll be worth it.

And, be sure to listen in to this episode as Alex, Maurice, and cast members Ali Andre Ali, Katie Zaffrann, Victory Chappotin, Nabil Viñas, Ankur Rathee, Fahim Hamid, and Perri Yaniv discuss drawing upon personal experience, drawing a diverse audience, learning about and seeing the Iraqi perspective, and bringing humanity to all sides of a conflict.

“For me, the reason I act in anything is to try to bring humanity to a story, and I feel like war is the kind of thing that happens when you forget about the humanity of people. So it’s an honor to be able to get onstage and help tell a story that’s written by a Marine, and tell these stories that we won’t hear, we won’t see the humanity of unless we get it on a stage…”

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