Listen 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…”
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 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 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 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…”
Listen in as Boomerang Artistic Director Tim Errickson, along with the full cast of their current production of The Reckless Season—Chase Burnett, Brian Morvant, Trace Pope, and Amanda Tudor—discuss balancing the heavy with the comedic, what the room was like putting this show together, researching what it’s like to be on some crazy drugs, when a character won’t leave a play alone, finding salvation in a video game, and trying to create a family with the very different, very broken people around you.
“…if The Deer Hunter met, like, Silver Linings Playbook…there’s a lot of dark humor in it, there’s an undercurrent of sexuality to it, there’s relationship stuff, there’s brothers against brothers, there’s a lot of comedy…”
Listen in as playwright Daniel John Kelley and director Christopher Diercksen of That True Phoenix discuss opera nerdiness, self-mythologizing, producing (and living) with limited resources, repeatedly turning down your future collaborator (then, working in the same office with your collaborator), cutting down your 290-page autobiographical play, “why we do any of this,” taking the time to do it right, and the most interesting man you’ve (probably) never heard of: Lorenzo Da Ponte.
“…they were like, ‘Daniel, you’ve written crazy plays before; I trust that you will write a crazy play again, let’s do this play.’ And I was like, ‘ok, sure, 10 years of this idea, maybe it’ll do…’ But they were 100% committed, even if I didn’t believe it, from the beginning, to say, ‘we trust you, we’re going to build this play…we’re going to figure out why we do this as we go along’…”
Listen in as Matthew Roi Berger and Jonathan A. Goldberg, co-creators of The Fall of the House of Sunshine, discuss the show’s roots in Serials at The Flea, who gets to edit this epic, how to describe your multi-hyphenate-project, the importance of having a plan, and the freedom of doing a musical serial as a podcast.
“Do you like comedy? Do you like musicals? Do you like mysteries? Two outta three ain’t bad…”