Winsome Brown and Sean Hagerty of “Hit the Body Alarm”

HIT THE BODY ALARM created and performed by Winsome BrownPerformer Winsome Brown weaves text from Paradise Lost with original monologues from herself and co-director Brad Rouse to create an original work “about fucking up,” as she puts it, with her wild and affecting solo show Hit the Body Alarm.

Scored with music by downtown legend John Zorn, plus original, live sound-design by Sean Hagerty, the performance moves from Heaven to Brooklyn to Los Angels to the Garden of Eden, distilling prime points of Milton’s epic into a kind of performance that can resonate with the world we’re in today.

Listen in as Winsome and Sean discuss their collaboration in creating as well as performing the show, feelings of loss, not hiding before (or during) your show, borrowing props from your daughter, designing for your space, and how to show the devil falling from heaven onstage.

“…it’s a show about people who’ve done dreadful things by their own acts…and on a grander scale…I kind of feel that it’s about our world, that we are on the verge of fucking up, fucking up very dreadfully…” Continue reading

Joshua Young, Lucia Bellini, Phillip Christian, Alex Teachey, and John Carhart of “Who Mourns for Bob the Goon?”

The Playwrighting Collective presents Who Mourns for Bob the Goon at HERE Arts CenterLook, I’m just going to come out and say it: I love Batman. I have since I was a kid, and nothing—not adulthood, not weird story arcs in the comics, not even Zack Snyder’s terrible Batman V Superman—can diminish my love for the stories surrounding this brilliant modern myth.

So even though GSAS! has been on a little hiatus due to the pre-Fringe summertime lull, when I got a press release for a play about a man convinced that he was The Joker’s right-hand man from Tim Burton’s seminal 1989 film Batman, you better believe I figured out a way to get over to HERE Arts Center to see this show.

But this isn’t just a fanboy pastiche (though it’s got those elements). The Playwrighting Collective‘s Who Mourns for Bob the Goon? follows a series of group chats, dream sequences, and strange private therapy sessions in a magical world (with phenomenal puppets!), as we discover not only the identities of Bob and his fellow third-tier comic book characters, but also that all those characters actually suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder after military service, and this is a coping mechanism. As it unfolds, the play becomes about PTSD, how some people deal with it, and the civilian relationship to the people who suffer from it—and hence, the title of the show.

Listen in as playwright Joshua Young, director Lucia Bellini, and actors Phillip Christian, Alex Teachey, and John Carhart discuss playing in and shifting between multiple worlds, what The Playwrighting Collective is all about, coming back to indie theatre (even from astrophysics), and how Batman inspired so many of us.

“We just really are interested in telling stories that have not been told…there seems to be not an interest in hearing stories of people who are not at the country club, or are not living this middle class life, this Desperate Housewives life. There are dramatic stories and there are funny stories of people who are living dollar to dollar, and paycheck to paycheck…”

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Jason Tseng, Emily Hartford, Alisha Spielmann, and Kia Rogers of “Rizing”

Flux Theatre Ensemble presents RIZING by Jason Tseng, directed by Emily HartfordPodcast regulars (and favorites) Flux Theatre Ensemble are back with a new show, from a new playwright, developed in-house and featuring a lot of ensemble regulars that you’ll recognize.

Rizing, by Jason Tseng, is a modern and unique take on the zombie trope. Here, however, those with a taste for brains live and work among the other remaining survivors of the zombie apocalypse, though those who are “Z-positive” are highly medicated, and de-facto segregated. But the old drugs are starting to lose the effect of keeping down the flesh-cravings, and a revolt is beginning to stir…

Flux is once again offering tickets with their incredible and brilliantly innovative Living Ticket model, so you can get to the show without a barrier to entry—but you can also have the chance to help the company out with a pay-what-you-will model. And they show you where that money’s going!

Listen in to this episode as Jason, along with director Emily Hartford, actor Alisha Spielmann, and lighting designer Kia Rogers discuss “The Walking Dead meets Octavia Butler,” class battles, thanking St. Judith Butler, how to make a world breathe, and how we are shaped by our reactions to the impossible decisions the world presents us with.

“…a big part of the play is memory, and what that does to a person when you don’t have a history, what that does for the Z-negative characters to have lived through this enormously violent and destructive history, and the choices that they’ve had to make. So there is this balance between who you are as your actions, and who you are as this past that sort of haunts you…”

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Gretchen Van Lente & Meghan Williams of “Blood Red Roses”

Drama of Works presents Blood Red Roses, The Female Pirate ProjectHow do you tell a tale about famous female pirates through the ages?

Obviously, for starters, you’ve gotta do it on a boat.

Not so obviously, you make the stories of high adventure come alive with creative & fun shadow puppets on said boat while singing modified sea shanties—and that’s just what Drama of Works does with their new show Blood Red Roses: The Female Pirate Project.

Listen in as Gretchen Van Lente, the show’s director and lead deviser, and collaborator/performer Meghan Williams, discuss collaborative dramaturgy, shadow puppets, using your rehearsal studio, how to get your show on a boat, and all the lady pirates.

“…people always wanted to come backstage and see the show…we started thinking, what if we took that, and brought it in front…there are no real secrets…we’re just trying to make simple, elegant solutions to storytelling problems…”

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Heather Cohn, Kia Rogers, Rachael Hip-Flores, Isaiah Tanenbaum, and Jodi M. Witherell of “Salvage”

Flux Theatre Ensemble presents Salvage, written by August Schulenburg and directed by Heather Cohn“What lives on…what’s left when someone is gone?”

The kinds of things that remain can run the gamut—music boxes, stories, ephemera, bottles of booze, memories—but they can all mean something. And exploring that meaning is at the heart of August Schulenburg’s excellent new play Salvage, presented by Flux Theatre Ensemble.

Listen in as the show’s director Heather Cohn, actors Isaiah Tanenbaum and Rachael Hip-Flores, lighting designer Kia Rogers, and stage manager Jodi M. Witherell discuss Flux’s innovative Living Ticket model, tumblr-blogging for your show, working in a non-traditional space, putting audience submissions into your set, and what we save.

“…really, it’s this love-letter to New York that Gus has written…and I love being in it.”

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Members of The Assembly, presenting “That Poor Dream”

The AssemblyThe Assembly was last on the podcast with an episode that, sadly, went live long after the show had closed (and damn, you should have seen that show…Home/Sick remains one of the best productions I’ve seen—take a listen to the episode about it, it’s well worth your time).

The company’s back with their devised adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, entitled That Poor Dream, bringing the story of Pip to the island of Manhattan via Connecticut, and this time I’m actually posting this with time for you to catch the show, so get out to The New Ohio if you can!

Joining me on the mic are actors Edward Bauer (Pip), Ben Beckley (Drummel), & Emily Louise Perkins (Jaggers), along with Production & Scenic Designer Nick Benacerraf and Dramaturg Stephen Aubrey—listen in as we discuss giving voice to a voiceless issue, capitalism, vulnerability, being content with your lot in life, and privilege, beauty, & money.

“…we encounter people with radically and contradictory visions of what class means, and how to behave in this world, and that’s, I think, the most interesting thing for us—to put all these contradictory ideas together, because that’s how the world is, so that we can look at them together, and try to hold more of it at the same time…”

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RadioTheatre’s 6th Annual “H. P. Lovecraft Festival” — Part I

RadioTheatre presents the 6th Annual H. P. Lovecraft FestivalRadioTheatre was last on the podcast with their H. P. Lovecraft festival in 2012—and being a fan of the master’s fiction, the producer of GSAS! just had to get back to The Kraine to hear more of Dan Bianchi & Company’s adaptations of his classic stories.

After the first night of the festival, featuring The Moon Bog and The Shadow Over Innsmouth, I sat down with Bianchi again, as well as the three actors giving voice to the terror that evening—Frank Zilinyi, R.Patrick Alberty, and Joshua Nicholson.

Listen in as Dan, Frank, Patrick, Joshua & I discuss “Lovecraft” vs. “love craft” in the minds of unsuspecting patrons, performing at the new Lovecraft-themed bar (seriously, this is a thing), not looking at who you’re playing to, and how live radio drama differs from more “traditional” theatre.

…and yep, that “Part I” in the title means that there’ll be more aural cosmic horror discussed on the podcast soon!

“It’s more like a band, I always say…it’s kind of like doing sets in a band.”

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Barry Rowell, Ralph Lewis, Catherine Porter, Donald Warfield, and Ben Nemser of “3Christs”

Peculiar Works presents 3 Christs, photo © 2014 Jim R Moore / VaudevisualsStudents of the sordid history of psychological treatment might be aware of social psychologist Milton Rokeach’s experiment, chronicled in his book The Three Christs of Ypsilanti, to lessen the delusions of three paranoid schizophrenic patients who all believed themselves to be Jesus Christ—by putting them in close contact and encouraging them to confront their conflicting statuses as the Christ.

Ethically questionable, to say the least, but it proves fascinating source material for Peculiar Works Project to mine for their new site-specific show 3Christs, presented, appropriately, at Judson Memorial Church.

Listen in as co-creators Barry Rowell & Ralph Lewis, actors Catherine Porter & Donald Warfield, and magic consultant Ben Nemser, discuss belief, site-specificity, the messy history of treating mental illness, magic tricks, and how to play crazy without stepping on everyone else’s crazy.

“…this is not a play about religion at all, it’s a play about belief, and what we believe in…”

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Lizzy Beth Elkins, Kathy Huynh-Phan, Peter J. Wallace, and Drew Nungesser of “The Anger in Ernest & Ernestine”

"The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine"What do you do when you’re graduating from a respected, traditional acting program, and you make your own theatre company?

If you’re actors Peter J. Wallace and Kathy Huynh-Phan and sound designer Drew Nungesser, you do a clown show in The Fringe. And you get the awesome Lizzy Beth Elkins to direct it.

Listen in as Lizzy, Peter, Kathy and Drew discuss directors auditioning for actors, clowning, Al Gore & the internet, and welcoming your sound designer into the rehearsal room. Plus, suspenders are snapped, live, on-air.

“…part of what I’m attracted to for theatre is, let’s see if we can be truthful and tell great stories, but then also kind of make it a party…”

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Sylvia Milo, playwright & performer, & Nathan Davis, composer, of “The Other Mozart”

The Other Mozart by Sylvia MiloHistory, as we know, is always changing—it’s written by those in power, but power shifts. So as some of the bullshit of European patriarchy is shoveled away, it’s amazing what can be learned; for example, did you know that none of Mozart’s music survived?

…no, not Wolfgang Amadeus, we’ve got tons of his music, catalogued with it’s own fancy system. Here, we’re talking of The Other Mozart, his sister, Nannerl, who by all accounts played & composed as brilliantly as her brother, though most people don’t know her story.

As a regular listener to Go See a Show! however, you may remember this story, because performer Sylvia Milo (now the show’s playwright as well) was first on the podcast way back on episode #10 with the first iteration of this project, then called Mozart’s Sister. This new piece presents the story in a brilliant new way (though that fabulous dress remains), and features more incredible music from composers Phyllis Chen and Nathan Davis, the later of whom joins Sylvia on the mic for this episode.

Plus, the new title feels like it puts Nannerl on equal footing with Wolfie. Where she rightfully belongs.

Listen in as Sylvia & Nathan discuss finding the right teacups, why it’s likely Nannerl called Wolfgang a “shit-eater,” and creating the music inside a 18th-century composer’s head. Continue reading