Listen in as three of the five company members of The Associates—director Jamal Abdunnasir, and performers Lauren Larocca & Peregrine Teng Heard—discuss their new collectively-devised “waking nightmare” Sheila, exploring the intersection of the mundane with the grotesque, the role of improvisation in their process, how they work with non-Associate associates, and why the company likes to make things just a little bit scary.
“…I think what we’ve found out about ourselves is that we write almost as much as we create in the room, that we all find a lot of value in putting down proposals on paper. Jamal happens to work a lot in stage directions, and I happen to work a lot in action, and then there’s dialogue people…the important thing is for everyone to be able to jump into all these characters…”
Listen in as director Jessica Burr and performer Nancy McArthur (“Gerda”) of Blessed Unrest‘s original adaptation of The Snow Queen discuss how the company came to create a show geared toward young people, working with 10-year-old collaborators in the rehearsal room, “dulling as we age,” Blessed Unrest’s devising techniques, the importance of having your designers involved all through the process, workshops on devising & physical theatre (2/13–3/6), and why kids can be the perfect audience for abstract storytelling.
“…for me, it’s the story of a really courageous young girl, who displays her power in a way that is actually very feminine…she isn’t violent, she doesn’t have to fight for what she wants, in fact she’s really smart…”
Listen in as Ben Lapidus, composer/lyricist/”Derek,” and Amanda Centeno, “Tib,” of Pop Punk High, discuss bonding over Sum 41, giving the audience permission to sing along if they’d like to, New Jersey basements, highly-reactive uncles, the overlapping Venn diagrams of “pop-punk people” and “theatre people,” and how you can travel back in time to join them in 2003.
“…it brings in people that aren’t ‘theatre people,’ and I wish theatre communities did that more, and sought to bring in people who are not as familiar with theatre […] that’s what makes the show alive, and different…”
Listen in as Paul Pinto, composer/performer of the new opera Thomas Paine in Violence, discusses difficult elevator pitches, millions of radio signals heading in millions of directions, “a shit-ton of words,” why Thomas Paine deserves this musical treatment,live editing, debating the ideas Paine himself was debating over 200 years ago, “words as texture, language as music,” and writing for his thingNY band-mates.
“…it’s juxtaposing Thomas Paine’s incredible writing with pop-culture…”
“…whatever that is…”
“…whatever’s on my brain at the time…it really is like radio stations changing all the time…”
Listen in as The New Collectives Artistic Director & performer Giverny Petitmermet, director Rachel Dart, sound designer Elizabeth May, dramaturg Taylor Beidler, and assistant director Alex Guhde discuss bringing The Trojan Women to the present day, “folk songs from countries you’ve never been to,” why you should have a dramaturg & an assistant director on your show, “feeling your feelings,” finding the intersection between art and activism, where you’ll see Bob Fosse in this show, and how theatre can be the catalyst to a live conversation about what really matters.
“We do The Trojan Women in 2017 because the sad fact is that women who are displaced by war and conflict…continues to be relevant each and every day…”
“This really feels like the moment all the things that The New Collectives do comes to a head…”
Listen in as director Heather Cohn of Am I Dead? The Untrue Narrative of Anatomical Lewis, The Slave, along with actors Corey Allen, Alisha Spielmann, and Isaiah Tanenbaum, discuss feeling free to laugh through a very dark comedy, learning your Egyptian myths, the history and legacy of violence against black bodies, developing a play with the playwright, what we can learn as people through the artistic process, first noticing the costume changes of your cast-mates during a performance (“subtle, yet effective!”), the effects of an individual audience’s energy, and the necessity of having sticky, difficult conversations in the theatre.
“…I think what Kevin gives us the canvas to discuss is the ways that denial functions for a variety of people…how they choose to view their own reality, accept it or deny it […] and I think the audience is forced to decide, ‘which approach do I take?’…”
Listen in as the director of Basement, Janet Bentley, along with actors Alexandra Cohler & Ian Campbell Dunn and sound designer Andy Evan Cohen, discuss radio-announcer-as-chorus, working in multiple languages in the same piece, sound as dramaturgy (and dramaturgy through sound), the benefit of having a medical professional in your production team, finding a place for a dance, and how to turn the traditional wartime romance narrative on its head.
“…theatre is always musical to me. There’s a rhythm to it…”
Listen in as the writer & performer of Outside Paducah: The Wars at Home, J. A. Moad II, discusses creating dialogue through story and art, how he got to the stage from the page, the seeds of the stories he tells in this show, how those stories have touched audience members, society’s role in taking care of its veterans, and how war affects not only those who serve on the front lines, but also those who serve without a uniform at home.
“…these stories live in me…everything comes down to story, right? It’s that basic human impulse, from the time we’re a little kid and the first thing we say to our dad is, ‘tell me a story.’ If we embrace that idea, of how we learn through story, how story changes the way we see the world and the way we imagine the possibilities, it invites us into all these other places that we cannot begin to see…”
Listen in as director Michael Hardart, designers Sidney Fortner (costumes) and Michael LeBron (sets), along with actors Marc LeVasseur and Erin Beirnard of The Metropolitan Playhouse‘s production of Clyde Fitch’s The Climbers, discuss finding opportunity in constriction, pacing, showing & reflecting the mechanics usually reserved for the background, hearing from the servants, being in tune with your audience in an intimate space, achieving elegance by suggesting elegance, and why this play from 1901 fits in our “new gilded age.”
“…what it’s driven me to…is an appreciation of what I enjoy, what I love: when a play can continue moving forward, even in a set change…you make it something that’s part of the story…”
Listen in as James Godwin, co-creator and performer of The Flatiron Hex, discusses his roots in puppetry, accidental iconography, flood myths, how you know when your puppet is complete, astounding coincidences, mocking the sacred to make it stronger, how the show requested the puppets (and extreme physicality), and why you should make the kind of things that you enjoy.
“…you know your [work] is done when you’re sitting there, and you decide, ‘there’s one more thing I’m going to change.’ Don’t ever do that change. Because if you think there’s only one more thing to change, you’re about to destroy [it]…”