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…”

Continue reading

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…”

Continue reading

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…”

Continue reading

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…”

Continue reading

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.”

Continue reading

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…”

Continue reading

Manning Jordan, Alice Cash, Ashley Underwood, and Ellie MacPherson of “Dooley”

DOOLEY by Manning Jordan, directed by Alice Cash, at FRIGID 2018Listen in as playwright/performer Manning Jordan, director Alice Cash, and performers Ashley Underwood & Ellie MacPherson of Dooley, performed as part of FRIGID 2018, discuss inspiration from disturbing 1960s board games, plunging psychological depths, collaboratively re-writing, re-naming in the interest of financial considerations, “sneaking around outside of classrooms” to meet your new collaborators, the benefits of inconsistent performance times, and sharing your most vulnerable self onstage.

“…my friends wouldn’t play it, they said ‘it’s all too heavy, we don’t want to get into it.’ So then I went home, and I wrote the play as if we had played it…”

Continue reading

Andrea Alton, Mark Finley, & Allen Warnock of “Molly’s World”

MOLLY'S WORLD at FRIGID 2018, written and performed by Andrea Alton, directed by Mark FinleyListen in as Molly “Equality” Dykeman herself, Andrea Alton, along with her director, Mark Finley, & “Jerry from Task Rabbit,” Allen Warnock, of the new Molly show in FRIGID 2018, Molly’s World, discuss responding to the moment, working with a director when the show is grounded in improvisation, finding the gold between the islands, allowing for audience engagement, internal logic, “Molly-heads,” and having the freedom to say whatever you want, however you want.

“…I like that Molly can say whatever she wants, and she always comes from a lovable place. She’s this total misfit, and I like that she has the freedom, and she’s just trying to get through the day as best she can. I kind of enjoy her freedom, and her cluelessness…”

Continue reading

Christopher-Rashee Stevenson, Malcolm B. Hines, & Jonathan Schenk of “{Flying} Dutchman”

The Tank presents {FLYING} DUTCHMAN, by Theatre of War, text by Amiri Baraka, additional text from Jean Genet, directed by Christopher-Rashee StevensonListen in as director Christopher-Rashee Stevenson and performers Malcolm B. Hines and Jonathan Schenk of {Flying} Dutchman, currently running at The Tank, discuss words as tools, “gender-blurring,” the multiple modes of being in a person, finding danger, finding a way to create room for conversation after the show, and how Amiri Baraka’s poetic language resonates in 2018.

“…it’s already uncomfortable language—we live in an uncomfortable society, and we’re not put on this planet to be comfortable…it’s about sexuality, it’s about human beings and what we go through…but especially the psyche of the black man, being in this world…”

Continue reading

Tessa Flannery & Rebecca Cunningham of “Tentacles”

Voyage Theater Company presents TENTACLES, written by Tessa Flannery, directed by Rebecca Cunningham, at the 2018 FRIGID FestivalListen in as Tessa Flannery, playwright/performer of the new play Tentacles in the 2018 FRIGID Festival, along with her director, Rebecca Cunningham, discuss naming your characters after your actors, keeping calm in the face of technical difficulties, “on-brand failure,” and how to layer difficult social issues into your show about hentai.

“…I love working on shows that have strong women as the leads, but I also really love when they’re flawed, and the character Tessa is not perfect, and is certainly privileged and is coming at it from that perspective, and so we throw that at her…”

Continue reading