Listen in as Improbable Stage Artistic Director Stacy A. Donovan, who also directs the company’s current production of That Which Remains (adapted from Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus), joined by performers Tali Custer, Julia Hansen, and Ellen Jenders, discuss the company’s unique approach to casting, meeting your new collaborators through free workshops, finding contemporary music for your mid-show dances, being open to changes, and how to get bloody without actually getting bloody (hint: the answer to everything is “collaboration”).
“…I was like, ‘how can I get my hands on Tarantino?’ And I thought, the best way would be Shakespeare’s bloodiest: Titus…”
Listen in as The Dirty Blondes, Elizabeth Sarkady and Ashley J. Jacobson (whom you’ll remember from past podcasts on The Miracle Play and The Tunnel Play), along with the full cast—Faith Sandberg, Jenna D’Angelo, and Brandon Ferraro—discuss the company’s new play How to Be Safe, finding relevance in the present moment, the “low hum of anxiety,” the draw of terrible true crime shows, the incredible experience of having a theatrical home-base, being a sponge (then wringing yourself out), and finding safety & solace in the theater.
“…the election happened, and that made me question what I was going to be putting out into the world. It needed to be relevant, it needed to speak to something. And so I figured, ‘let me just create the most honest, emotional show that I could, because that felt like my own personal safety, and that felt like my own personal contribution, to talk about how afraid I feel, and how afraid I think other people feel…”
Listen in as playwright James L. Menzies and director Richard C. Aven of Go Get the Axe, along with co-producer/actor Christopher Halladay, discuss the process that brought two short Shotz pieces by Jamie into the full-length FIG Productions is currently presenting, fever-dreams from a bathroom floor, the benefits of a desk day-job, collaborator love, killing your darlings, and how to give good pod.
“…people have been so imaginative, and so creative, and everybody’s had input. And that makes me really really proud, because it’s been phenomenal, the individual pride and energy that’s gone into this…and I get to sit and watch it, and people make me look good.”
Listen in as soot and spit director Kim Weild, scenic designer Matthew Imhoff, and performers J.W. Guido and Geraldine Leer, discuss play as poetry, interpreting unique scripts, creating an historical character with limited biographical resources, performing with boxes on your head and feet, when your fellow actors play your art, and making art about an artist using a different art-form.
“I think of this piece as a poem…it’s not a biography…”
Listen in as the directors/writers of PLUTO (no longer a play), Jeremy Pickard and Lanxing Fu, discuss allegory, mass extinction, the definition of “eco-theatre,” community outreach, the benefits of imposed limitations, and how to work with the fact that “it’s a different world now.”
“…it is devastating, in a kind of strange, like, ‘oh, I lost something that I took for granted, that I really thought was there, and it’s kind of a simple thing that I didn’t really think about, but it matters somehow’…”
Listen in as playwright James Scruggs, creator of the sprawling, detailed, provocative, disturbing, and vital show 3/Fifths, discusses where the idea for SupremacyLand came from, why it took a space like 3LD to make it work, the magic and opportunity of having an artistic director asking you to “dream bigger,” what happens when you invite audiences to participate in a carnival of atrocities, the incredible bravery of the actors in this piece (and how they take care of themselves performing such heavy material), and why we have to talk about this terrible history so it never happens again.
“…it’s still happening, there are these loops. So what I’m really interested in doing is talking about it, showing it, in visceral detail, with the hope of ending the loops…”
Listen in as And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little director Shay Gines, performers Sara Thigpen and Christopher Borg, along with returning guest, Retro Productions Artistic Director and “Miss Reardon” herself, Heather E. Cunningham, discuss absence, finding yourself right in the middle of incredible social change, loving (and fearing) vintage props, finding characters from 50 years ago, teasing your play with wonderful photos (see above), who’s left behind, getting to the right time to produce that play you’ve always wanted to produce, sexual repression in a time of sexual freedom, and how the more things change, the more they stay the same.
“…it’s sort of a subtle thing, but so many of the characters make references to the fact that this outside world is encroaching on their lives…everybody’s afraid, we don’t know how to conduct ourselves so we can’t blame ourselves for not having a footing in this ever-changing landscape…”
Listen in as the director of Piehole‘s new show Ski End, Tara Ahmadinejad, along with performers Kijani-Ali Gaulman, Alexandra Panzer, Allison LaPlatney, discuss half walls & dead birds, “90s ski glory,” what it means to be a “script captain,” apocalyptic spaces, Frankenstein, the group mind, reaching toward the sublime, discussing big life questions with strangers, zooming in & zooming out, and the company’s wild road trip journey from Vermont to the cosmos.
“…dipping into the themes of nature, and dread. And we’re like, ‘ok, this isn’t necessarily an obvious one-to-one connection, but let’s push this further’…”
Listen in as the cast of Flux Theatre Ensemble‘s world premiere production of Johnna Adams’s World Builders, Alisha Spielmann and August Schulenburg, along with Assistant Director Nina Fry, discuss ways of connecting, theatricalizing medical conditions, director-actor conversations, how to have a bi-coastal ensemble, stakes, perspectives on mental illness, and “what is lost, what is gained, and who gets to decide what that is.”
“…it’s a tragedy as much as it is a comedy, in the sense that if the play is working, you should feel that it is a great loss…”
Listen in as The Eagle Project‘s Artistic Director Ryan Victor “Little Eagle” Pierce, adapter/director of Uncle Abram: A Reconstructed Uncle Vanya, discusses moving Chekhov from Russia to Reconstruction-era Missouri, finding the relevance of American history to current events, “ghosts of the past,” and why we can’t take our foot off the gas.
“…even after this very progressive period…somehow, in society, the more things change, the more they stay the same…”