Michelle Kholos Brooks, Sarah Norris, Hallie Griffin, MaryKathryn Kopp, Kaitlin Paige Longoria, & Hannah Sturges of “Hitler’s Tasters”

IRT presents New Light Theater Project's HITLER'S TASTERS, written by Michelle Kholos Brooks, directed by Sarah Norris, at IRT TheaterListen in as the playwright of Hitler’s Tasters, Michelle Kholos Brooks, along with director Sarah Norris and actors Hallie Griffin, MaryKathryn KoppKaitlin Paige Longoria, & Hannah Sturges, discuss the timeliness and relevance of this story in October 2018, relatability to “bad people” (who may be “good people in a bad situation”), social media, feeling valued, the difference between the women who served the Reich and the women who currently serve Trump, the role of theatre in this dangerous political moment, “feeling things” in the intimacy of the theater, and why it’s important to put young women’s stories on the stage.

“…it’s just so very real. And I think it’s just so relatable, and that’s what’s kind of scary about it, because these are girls we see in our lives every day…”

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Ross Williams & Kim Krane of ShakesBEER 2018

New York Shakespeare Exchange presents SHAKESBEER, New York City's Original Shakesperean Pub CrawlListen in as New York Shakespeare Exchange‘s Artistic Director Ross Williams and Kim Krane, both of whom direct in this edition of the company’s ShakesBEER pub crawl (Kim also acts!), discuss how they create their unique experience of Shakespeare erupting in a bar, how to get the locals interested (and attract curious folks from the street), custom beer koozies, picking thematic scenes, rehearsing for audience interaction, the magic of language, and how the company works to “create community through Shakespeare.”

“…who do we need to talk to, and warn them that we’re about to stand on their table and do iambic pentameter…?”

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Jonathan Hopkins & Beth Ann Hopkins of Smith Street Stage’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Smith Street Stage presents A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, directed by Jonathan HopkinsListen in as Smith Street Stage‘s Executive Director (and director of this show) Jonathan Hopkins, and Beth Ann Hopkins, Artistic Director (& “Titania”), discuss their new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Carroll Park, why this was the right year for the company to produce this comedy, playing to a large & diverse audience, going beyond actor voice for the outdoor stage, the overlap of personal/professional partnerships, making original music & sound, advice for producing in public places, and why it’s important to be an active part of the community you’d like to perform in.

“…I think last year, we tried to afflict the comfortable, and this year we’re trying to comfort the afflicted…”
“…although this is not a ‘Midsummer’ of just clowns and fools, there’s a lot of deeper ground that we’re digging…”
“…it’s a play about the power of art to change people, and bring people outside of the normal boundaries, and it’s a play about how people change themselves, and the circumstances in which people are changed…”

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Jessica Burr of “This is Modern Art”

Blessed Unrest presents THIS IS MODERN ART, written by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval, directed by Jessica BurrListen in as Jessica Burr, Artistic Director of Blessed Unrest and director of the company’s new production of This is Modern Art, discusses grabbing opportunities when they’re presented, how they “bombed” (graffiti-style) their set, getting invited into “the institution,” the company’s mission and what they’re up to next, the importance of having an incredible team, and “who gets to decide what art is, and where it goes.”

“…we decided that [it] had to be true to the act itself, in that it needed to be difficult, it needed to be physical, and there needed to be time pressure…and it needed to be fun, and we needed to be able to play loud music.”

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Jenn Haltman, Becca Schneider, & Charise Greene of “Cannibal Galaxy: a love story”

Between Two Boroughs presents CANNIBAL GALAXY: A LOVE STORY, written by Charise Greene, directed by Jenn HaltmanListen in as Cannibal Galaxy: a love story playwright Charise Greene, along with the duo behind the producing company Between Two Boroughs—the show’s director, Jenn Haltman, and Becca Schneider, who plays “Claire”—discuss impossibility in the theater, finding communal experiences in the wake of trauma, “the relationship between violence, science, and spirituality in our country,” embracing the structural elements of a space, galactic cannibalism, magical realism, irrevocable change, and where creativity and violence collide.

“…I always ask the question, ‘why does this have to be a play?’…for me, impossible plays are an opportunity to welcome collaboration…Becca’s ‘Claire’ coughing up peach pits, or ash, is going to be very different than another actress, and I want Becca’s version of that, and Jenn’s version of the larger picture…to me, it’s a leap of exciting theatricality that is the reason why I go to the theater.”

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Craig Smith & Elise Stone of “Judas”

Phoenix Theatre Ensemble presents JUDAS, written by Robert Patrick, directed by Craig SmithListen in as Phoenix Theatre Ensemble Artistic Director Craig Smith, who directs & plays “Pontius Pilate” in the company’s new production of Robert Patrick’s Judas, along with fellow cast-member Elise Stone (“Mary”), discuss giving equal weight to both sides, the drama of philosophical arguments, the challenge of living a good life, “blasphemy,” libertarianism and faith, communication breakdowns between mothers and sons, what happens when we see our heroes as humans, and how to answer the big question: “what are we supposed to do?”

“…I think that’s a dilemma for anyone who’s trying to live some kind of ethical, humane life in a really messed up world. And the world is really messed up for Judas, and the world is really messed up for all of us right now. So when I listen to Judas’s struggle, I feel like it’s so human. There’s all these wonderful words, and all this wonderful language…and then there’s this real human-ness…”

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Adam Kraar & Mark Plesent of “Alternating Currents”

Working Theater presents ALTERNATING CURRENTS, written by Adam Kraar, directed by Kareem FahmyListen in as Mark Plesent, Producing Artistic Director of Working Theater, and Adam Kraar, the playwright of Alternating Currents, the company’s new show in their “Five Boroughs/One City Initiative,” discuss inspiration from the unique place of Electchester, Queens, discovering your main characters, putting an audience’s own story onstage, “wonderment,” advice for new indie theatre artists, and what it takes to live in a community.

“…what quickly gripped me…was the multiplicity of voices that seemed to contradict each other, about everything from the politics of the street fair, to how nice it is to live here, to what race relationships are like. And everybody was very heartfelt and sincere, but there were a lot of contradictions, some disturbing things, some really inspiring things. So the initial impulse for the piece was really to write a play for a multiplicity of voices…”

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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…”

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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…”

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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…”

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