GSAS! podcast correspondent Tara Gadomski attended the first performance of Tongue in Cheek Theater Productions‘ world premiere Relentlessly Pleasant, and hosted an interview/talkback with the audience, featuring writer/director Jake Lipman and dramaturg Jessica Ammirati. Listen in as they discuss “what it’s like to work in corporate America as a woman,” #MeToo, how sexuality is always at play, writing from real scenarios, working with a dramaturg to shape a script, hearing your script through different voices, and digging deeper below the surface.
“…nothing is black and white in this. It really is all these shades of gray…”
Listen in as the playwright of Hitler’s Tasters, Michelle Kholos Brooks, along with director Sarah Norris and actors Hallie Griffin, MaryKathryn Kopp, Kaitlin 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…”
Listen 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…?”
Listen in as Worse Than Tigers producer/director Jaclyn Biskup and actor Braeson Herold discuss collegiate connections, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia’s Rhinoceros?,” using your space, how to play an insufferable drip (hint: kindness & generosity), unexpected journeys, the importance of openness & trust in your rehearsal room, and “sausage casing” as metaphor.
“…I really like to direct absurdism the same way that one would direct realism, because I feel like it’s a really fine line. And I think today, our lives are very fu**ing absurd…”
Listen in as Alexandria playwright Vince Gatton, along with director Jordana Williams and set/lighting designer Tyler M. Perry, discuss grabbing the audience with words, curating our modern campfire stories, how to keep your play’s young character off his phone, “eavesdropping on the internal arguments happening in Christian America,” the struggle between the analog and the digital, trying to give gifts of love between characters, and hooking audiences with the immediacy of indie theatre.
“…I feel like this play asks a really timely question, in a very compassionate, sensitive way […]. At a certain point what you’re tolerating is sort of what you’re permitting, and where do you draw the line and what’s ok and what stand should you take, and when should you shut somebody down? And I don’t know the answer, and it’s something that I struggle with, and I love how honestly the play grapples with that…”
Listen in as the co-producers & performers of the U.S. premiere of Charlie Falkner’s Sex Object, David De Almo & Kelly McCready, along with director Susanna Wolk, discuss bringing this Australian play to the States, embracing the space, “how you perceive yourself and how you’re presenting yourself to the world,” having the audience on your side, sibling relationships, sex-shop sponsorship, and what a Black Mirror episode might look like in real life.
“…marrying all the different comedic elements to the heartfelt core was something that was really exciting to me about this play…”
Listen in as playwright Daniel McCoy, and the directors of his plays Perfect Teeth, David Hilder, and Dick Pix, Heidi Handelsman, discuss running in rep two shows that are completely stylistically different, why these plays are right for the current moment, longtime collaborations, “gender spaghetti,” love for your design team, working in oddly perfect spaces, and solving issues with your creative collaborators.
“…there’s just a lot that isn’t talked about as readily or as publicly as it should be, and so that’s one of the things that I hope the play sort of cracks open a little bit…”
Listen in as performers Bonita Jackson and Samantha Clark, along with director Alex Randrup, of Corey and Vanessa Present an All-Female Educational Touring Production of Of Mice and Men, discuss how they devised the show (“putting wonderful, badass, creative ladies in a room together”), making your collaborators laugh, getting out of the way or your collaborative process, and “power, performance, learning to trust your scene partner, and learning to trust yourself.”
“…is there a way that we could dig into the fields of feminism, and womanhood, and humanity today, and the things that we know best—which is creating a production—and dealing with it. Could we dig up some kind of tool, or weapon, that an audience member could take out with them to smash the patriarchy, or to fix the democracy, or to do something really active…”
Listen 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…”
Listen 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.”