Listen 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…”
Listen 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.”
Listen 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…”
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…”