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…”

Continue reading

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…”

Continue reading

Giverny Petitmermet, Rachel Dart, Elizabeth May, Taylor Beidler, and Alex Guhde of “The Trojan Women”

The New Collectives present Euripides' THE TROJAN WOMEN, A New Version by Brendan Kennelly, directed by Rachel DartListen 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…”

Continue reading

Janet Bentley, Andy Evan Cohen, Alexandra Cohler, & Ian Campbell Dunn of “Basement”

Roly Poly Productions presents BASEMENT, written by Michael Hagins, directed by Janet BentleyListen 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…”

Continue reading

Michael Hardart, Sidney Fortner, Michael LeBron, Marc LeVasseur, Erin Beirnard of “The Climbers”

The Metropolitan Playhouse presents THE CLIMBERS by Clyde Fitch, directed by Michael HardartListen 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…”

Continue reading

Julie Congress, Ryan Emmons, Steven Conroy, and Enrico de Trizio of “Friends Call Me Albert”

No. 11 Productions presents FRIENDS CALL ME ALBERT, written by Zachary DesmondListen in as some of the team behind Friends Call Me Albert—performers Julie Congress and Steven Conroy, director Ryan Emmons, and musician Enrico de Trizio, all members of the ensemble of No. 11 Productions—discuss how and why puppets ended up in their play about Albert Einstein, the meaning of “bio-epic,” cross-continental collaboration, impossibility, how to integrate Einstein’s concepts into the presentation of your show, “fluidity,” using real math onstage, and how their ensemble plays together on the journey of creating their work.

“…it’s like playing with gravity…”

Continue reading

Kim Weild, Matthew Imhoff, J.W. Guido, and Geraldine Leer of “soot and spit”

Our Voices Theater presents SOOT AND SPIT, written by Charles Mee and directed by Kim WeildListen in as soot and spit director Kim Weild, scenic designer Matthew Imhoff, and performers J.W. Guido and Geraldine Leer, discuss play as poetry, interpreting unique scripts, creating an historical character with limited biographical resources, performing with boxes on your head and feet, when your fellow actors play your art, and making art about an artist using a different art-form.

“I think of this piece as a poem…it’s not a biography…”

Continue reading

Tara Ahmadinejad, Kijani-Ali Gaulman, Alexandra Panzer, & Allison LaPlatney of “Ski End”

Piehole presents SKI END, directed by Tara AhmadinejadListen 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’…”

Continue reading

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…”

Continue reading