Julie Congress, Ryan Emmons, Steven Conroy, and Enrico de Trizio of “Friends Call Me Albert”

No. 11 Productions presents FRIENDS CALL ME ALBERT, written by Zachary DesmondListen in as some of the team behind Friends Call Me Albert—performers Julie Congress and Steven Conroy, director Ryan Emmons, and musician Enrico de Trizio, all members of the ensemble of No. 11 Productions—discuss how and why puppets ended up in their play about Albert Einstein, the meaning of “bio-epic,” cross-continental collaboration, impossibility, how to integrate Einstein’s concepts into the presentation of your show, “fluidity,” using real math onstage, and how their ensemble plays together on the journey of creating their work.

“…it’s like playing with gravity…”

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Chesney Snow & Rebecca Arends of “The Unwritten Law”

THE UNWRITTEN LAW, created and performed by Chesney Snow with direction and choreography by Rebecca Arends, at Dixon PlaceListen in as The Unwritten Law co-creator & performer Chesney Snow, along with co-creator, director, performer & choreographer Rebecca Arends, discuss working with collaborators who can help turn your story into art, making “something different,” microphones and music, “the magic that happens between people onstage,” American issues, and how sound and movement come together to tell this very personal story.

“…I tell people, they’re coming to see a story of America…we’re looking at black life, and I’m hoping they’ll be able to follow the journey of where we’ve come from…I don’t want to preach at people, but I would love for people to hear the story, and maybe they’ll have a different perspective on some of the things that are happening today…”

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Patrick Vermillion and Emily Jackson of “Jessica”

Sanguine Theatre Company presents JESSICA, written by Patrick Vermillion, directed by Emily JacksonListen in as two of the creators behind Sanguine Theatre Company‘s world-premiere production of Jessica—playwright Patrick Vermillion and director Emily Jackson—discuss justifying your narrative, Sanguine’s “Project Playwright” process, why their AI story focuses on the building process, confronting the truth, the morality of technology, and what makes us human.

“…I wanted to create a sci-fi piece for the stage mostly because I was watching these really old, kinda shitty…[but] super-relevant, very socially-interesting television shows, with virtually no budget. It’s so much your imagination…kind of like with theatre…”

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Lucie Pohl & Kenneth Ferrone of “Hi, Hitler”

HI HITLER, written and performed by Lucie Pohl, directed by Kenneth Ferrone, at The Cherry Lane TheatreListen in as writer and performer Lucie Pohl and director Kenneth Ferrone of Lucie’s auto-biographical solo show Hi, Hitler, currently playing at The Cherry Lane Theatre, discuss post-show snacks, David Hasselhoff, inhabiting dozens of characters, what is (and what isn’t) very German about the show, the ease with which you can kill your darlings, why you won’t find props in this show, and how to trust the moments.

“…it’s a ‘fish-out-of-water story,’ it’s about finding your identity, and it’s about trying to fit in…”

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Chris Harcum & Aimee Todoroff of “Martin Denton, Martin Denton”

Elephant Run District and FRIGID at Horse Trade present MARTIN DENTON, MARTIN DENTON, written by Chris Harcum, directed by Aimee TodoroffListen in as the Elephant Run District team of Chris Harcum, playwright & performer, and Aimee Todoroff, director, of the company’s new show Martin Denton, Martin Denton, discuss finding safety and meaning in a community, “love,” the validity of our work, the ways in which our productions can live forever, how and why we do this thing called “indie theatre,” and more about this love letter to the scene.

“…what we’re doing is creating life, and then giving life back. And for me, one of the people who was there, and kind of charted what I was doing—and for whom I felt this very deep connection, and this person who, if he didn’t see my show, it felt like it did not happen—needed his story told.”

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David Carl & Michole Biancosino of “Trump Lear”

Horse Trade Theater Group and Project Y Theatre Company presents TRUMP LEAR at Under St. Marks, created by David Carl and Michole BiancosinoListen in as the co-creators of Trump Lear, writer/performer David Carl & director Michole Biancosino, discuss their collaboration to put this piece together, playing Trump (and finding a way around the fact that Trump is inherently not funny), complicity, how to avoid preachy political theatre, tearing yourself down in your own piece, the importance of an excellent technician at the board, and the benefit of doing solo shows.

“…yeah, Trump and Shakespeare don’t really go together, usually…”
“Well, it works really well, in this instance…”

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Jeff Wise, David Kenner, and Michael Schantz of “An Enemy of the People”

Wheelhouse Theater Company presents Henrik Ibsen's AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE, directed by Jeff WiseListen in as Wheelhouse Theater Company founders Jeff Wise, who also directs the show, and actors David Kenner and Michael Schantz, discuss the company’s production of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, rebuttal plays, parallels to today (the phrase “drain the swamp” is in the text—seriously), reactions to overtly political plays that aren’t political screeds, the toxicity of forced conformity, and letting the audience draw their own conclusions.

“…the thing that really motivated me to do this play, the theme that I think stands out the most, is this idea of what it takes to step outside the collective, and have a new idea. And that is something that I think Ibsen was directly pointing at…”

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Stacy A. Donovan, Tali Custer, Julia Hansen, & Ellen Jenders of “That Which Remains”

Improbable Stage presents THAT WHICH REMAINS, adapted from Titus Andronicus, directed by Stacy A. DonovanListen 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…”

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Ashley J. Jacobson, Elizabeth Sarkady, Faith Sandberg, Jenna D’Angelo, & Brandon Ferraro of “How to Be Safe”

The Dirty Blondes present HOW TO BE SAFE, written by Ashley J. Jacobson, directed by Cezar WilliamsListen 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…”

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Richard C. Aven, James L. Menzies, & Christopher Halladay of “Go Get the Axe”

FIG Productions presents GO GET THE AXE, written by James L. Menzies, directed by Richard AvenListen 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.”

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