Listen in as actors David Barlow & Danielle Skraastad of PTP/NYC‘s production of Havel: The Passion of Thought—three short plays from Vaclav Havel, bookended by Harold Pinter’s The New World Order and Samuel Beckett’s Catastrophe—discuss why these plays work so well in conversation, the difference between performing them together in 1991 vs. in 2019, “On Tyranny,” the power of making theatre, “the politics of kindness,” and the importance of living the truth.
“…they felt so current, and felt so hopeful, in a galvanizing way…that art matters. Words matter. What do you want to do?…”
Listen in as In the Penal Colony writer/director/producer Miranda Haymon, along with set designer Emmie Finckel and lighting designer Cha See, discuss the relationship and performance of patriarchy & punishment, how the show’s designers interacted with their process, sites of judgement, machines, building a highly physical piece with little dialogue, avoiding the “bad version” of the play, supporting design choices, and how Kafka’s 100-year-old short story resonates today.
“…I feel that this piece is directly engaging with the real live bodies and the real live circumstances in a way that feels gripping, and theatrical, and REAL…we’re able to get folks in the room, and have a real, live, conversation…”
Listen in as the creators & performers of Crushing Baby Animals, Maria Swisher & Tana Sirois, discuss amazing synchronicity, combining genres in a multi-dimensional world, structured improv, cross-pollination among artists, “stylistic dis-integrity,” making space for the chaos and the wonder, how to build intense trust with your artistic collaborators, how to stick through the difficult stuff, and how “our sense of self is shaped by the people around us.”
“…stay with the trouble…something that we have learned is even when things feel very uncomfortable, or when you find yourself having to ask something that’s difficult of your partner […] and consistently make the decision to stick with it, and to experience what feels troubling and complicated, and know that you have a shared goal of moving past it […] and let that influence your work, and accept each other for that…”
Listen in as the cast of Friendly’s Fire—Matthew Weitz, Adeyinka Adebola, Desiree Pinol, Kyle Porter, Johnny Blaze Leavitt, & Ita Korenzecher—along with Artistic Director Akia Squitieri (with a quick note from Production Stage Manager Callie Stribling) discuss non-toxic male friendships, the sad timelessness of plays about trauma from war, the difference between cheerleading into war vs. receiving the warriors back into society, and how we use stories to make myths and to heal.
“…the same way kids believe in ghosts, and Santa Claus…and then you’re taught years later that these things are pretend, and made up, and that you need to get a job. So you’re pulled away from storytelling…and the healing powers that it has for people…”
Listen in as Retro Productions Artistic Director Heather E. Cunningham, who plays the eponymous Mary of Mary, Mary, along with fellow performers Chris Harcum, Robert Franklin Neill, & Desmond Dutcher, and director Shay Gines, discuss digging into a zippy comedy, gender roles in retro shows, leaving naive nationalism, playing the outdated references, the complicated lenses through which we see plays from the past, transitions, “playing for keeps,” and why plays about relationships will never go away.
“…when I set out to choose a play, I narrowed it down: ‘mid-century, female playwright, comedy’…”
“…I was very drawn to this character. She’s the smartest person in the play…she has flaws, she’s insecure, she’s a beautiful, robust, witty woman. I felt like she was so full, and rich in character…”
Listen in as Whore writer/producer/performer Suzanne Tufan and director Lindsey Hope Pearlman discuss “showing the emotion of little moments,” the various masks we create, working as a director with the writer/performer, the roller-coaster of baring one’s soul in a public setting, playfulness within serious personal material, and transformation, survival, and hope.
“I thought it was an important story to share, because I think we have so many misconceptions about women and sexuality. The word ‘whore’ is this dirty word, and women get these dirty words thrown at them from such a young age, for no reason…”
Listen in as TILT creator, choreographer, director, & performer Rachel Cohen, along with tap dancer Heather Cornell, composer Lynn Wright, and lighting designer Jon Harper discuss constructing your reality, creating a feast for the senses, a tight structure overlain with chaos, scaling your show, the sound of sandpaper and wood, pinball, and brilliant, delusional minds.
“…when you start to work on Don Quixote, and…you think about it, you realize, ‘oh my God, this is me’…as artists, too, you just keep trying to fight these windmills, and no matter how many times you get knocked down, you get back up, and you keep going…”
Listen in as Opportunity playwright Stanley Martin, director Michael Blatt, and cast members Yhá Mourhia Wright, Ashley E. Matthews, Luis E. Mora, & Jayson Kerr discuss mirrors of performers’ reality, universality in specificity, challenging body type stereotypes, finding a shared history from the subtext of the script, mining your dialogue in real conversations, representation not just in the theatre but in the cast and in the play, the beauty of this particular “opportunity,” and why despite it all, we love this mad business of the theatre.
“…it was important that these people were real people that everyone could relate to…if you mix a group of people from work, anywhere, and add lots of alcohol, and have a past, trouble’s about to stir. It’s just theatre people are a little more theatrical with it…”
Listen in as Miranda from Stormville dramaturg Victoria Teague and performers Mackenzie Menter & Anna Cain discuss their Shakespeare-nerd status, trying to escape your circumstances, breaking the fourth wall, “surreal comedic Shakespearean fever-dreams,” tracing classic characters, New Jersey, creating a sense of community between audience and performers, and how their play is its own thing, separate and apart from The Tempest.
“…the way to make it relatable is to make those characters real, versus an archetype…”
“…it is definitely…a meditation on The Tempest, more than an adaptation…”
Listen in as Nylon director Knud Adams, along with producer Nicola Korzenko, composer Anand Wilder, and cast members Maggie Bofill, Brian Miskell, Cesar J. Rosado, Claire Siebers, & Sheila Vand, speak with GSAS! correspondent Alex Randrup to discuss how best to tease your show, the cages we build for ourselves, “coming up from beneath the role,” the audience as an invisible character, making art on an indie theatre budget, jedi director tricks, demanding a response, making messy decisions and messing up, and balancing *you* with your character.
“…I loved when I first read this play, this idea that, we do create a narrative for our lives, and what happens when you start to confront the cracks in that narrative…?”