Chesney Snow & Rebecca Arends of “The Unwritten Law”

THE UNWRITTEN LAW, created and performed by Chesney Snow with direction and choreography by Rebecca Arends, at Dixon PlaceListen in as The Unwritten Law co-creator & performer Chesney Snow, along with co-creator, director, performer & choreographer Rebecca Arends, discuss working with collaborators who can help turn your story into art, making “something different,” microphones and music, “the magic that happens between people onstage,” American issues, and how sound and movement come together to tell this very personal story.

“…I tell people, they’re coming to see a story of America…we’re looking at black life, and I’m hoping they’ll be able to follow the journey of where we’ve come from…I don’t want to preach at people, but I would love for people to hear the story, and maybe they’ll have a different perspective on some of the things that are happening today…”

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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’…”

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Erin B. Mee of “Pool Play 2.0”

This is Not a Theatre Company presents POOL PLAY 2.0, conceived and directed by Erin B. Mee, with original text by Jessie Bear and Charles MeeListen in as Erin B. Mee, who conceived and directed Pool Play 2.0, discusses our nation’s complicated history with public water, inspiration from your exercise routine, choreography in water, getting onlookers intrigued, rehearsing with lap-swimmers, audience reactions to truly “immersive” theatre, and how (& why) to hook up a deal with a unique performance space.

“…so I was reading that book…and I was swimming back and forth, and doing laps, and thinking, ‘we should a play in a pool…we should do a play in this pool…let’s do a play in this pool!'”

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Kilusan Bautista of “Transcend”

Kilusan Bautista of TRANSCENDListen in as Kilusan Bautista, the creator & performer of Transcend, discusses his transplant status, why his show mixes media & how it’s a conversation, the benefits of social media, creating a democracy with post-show discussions, and making art out of struggle.

“…hey, we’re here, and if we can connect, then so be it…but if we can’t connect, at least we can have some respect, and still be a part of this community, and…y’know, get through, get through this life.”

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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

Yolanda K. Wilkinson and Joey Rizzolo of “Bible Study for Heathens”

The New York Neo-Futurists present Bible Study for Heathens, written and performed by Yolanda K. WilkinsonIt takes moxie to critique religion while performing in a church. But for Yolanda K. Wilkinson, Judson Memorial Church Loft is exactly the right place to premiere her new solo show: Bible Study for Heathens.

The show is presented by The New York Neo-Futurists and, like everything this ground-breaking theatre company does, Bible Studes for Heathens defies definition and pushes theatrical boundaries.

With hilarious visual aids, fantastically-produced videos, sock-puppets, graphics, and sometimes intense audience participation, Yolanda chronicles her personal life quest to find some kind of meaning, attachment or even divine inspiration in ten different religions she has taken part in, since her childhood. Along the way, she hones in on some disturbing truths about the American religious experience, but in the end, she—and the audience—find hope through basic, affirming, human communion.

Go See A Show! correspondent Tara Gadomski sat down after a recent performance—in the cavernous church—to speak to writer and performer Yolanda K. Wilkinson and director Joey Rizzolo. Listen in as they discuss avoiding “therapy” on stage, how to interact with audience members who may strongly disagree with you, and why religion and theatre intersect.

“We think about artistic media as having a relationship with one another, but theatre has a really close relationship with religion and it’s unique that way. And you can say that theatre has a closer relationship with religion than it does with any other storytelling medium. Because it’s the only one that requires people being in a room at the same time.”

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Katie Palmer and Paul Bedard of “The Debates”

Theater in Asylum presents The DebatesTheater = Politics = Theater = Politics

If you’ve seen that equation on a t-shirt around the independent theatre world in NYC of late, then you’ve seen someone who’s worked on or seen Theater in Asylum‘s ever-changing The Debates.

It’s the perfect slogan for a project theatricalizing the Democratic Presidential Primary debates, with the intent to bring theatre people to the political process, and political people into the theater—and it sounds like the project is doing its intended work.

GSAS! sat down with the show’s director, Paul Bedard, and choreographer, Katie Palmer, to discuss how they trained their team, how to balance a scene, how to handle material that’s moving so quickly, why they’re focusing on only the Democratic Party, the actual differences between Hillary and Bernie (and how to present them fairly), and “who am I, who are you, who are we.”

I think one of the reasons people stay out is that it seems like such a big thing, that if, “I’m not in it already, it’s just too much to learn, and I don’t want to get involved.” And I think people stay away from theaters for the same reason…”I couldn’t possibly understand what’s happening in this theater”…and I think we’ve tried to take the fear and the elitism out of both of those avenues, saying that, “you can engage in both things, here’s some helpful tools…”

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Andrew Schneider of “YOUARENOWHERE”

Andrew Schneider's YOUARENOWHERE, photo by Maria BaranovaYou might have heard of Andrew Schneider‘s YOUARENOWHERE if you listen to theatre podcasts that aren’t this one (thanks for the recommendation, Maxamoo!), because the Obie-award winning piece has been on the lips of anyone who’s seen it.

Rightfully so.

But if you have heard the title, I hope you haven’t heard much else, other than, “go see this.” Because that’s how I experienced it, and I must say, it made for an incredible theatrical experience. So that’s all I’m going to give you: go see this show.

…but first, listen in to this (spoiler-free!) episode, as Andrew and I discuss the performer/audience contract, regional theatre gigs, frames, frustration with the traditional infrastructure, and destroying expectations.

“…what I wanted to do was just communicate in a room with a person […] what I’m fascinated by is moments, and experience, and curating emotion without narrative. So we’re all experiencing the same thing at the same time…”

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Lauren Swan-Potras, Jon Riddleberger, and John Kurzynowski of “Rhinbecca, NY”

Theater Reconstruction Ensemble presents Rhinbecca, NY at The BrickDark yet humorous, absurd but vaguely political, Theatre Reconstruction Ensemble‘s Rhinbecca, NY occupies a strange place between the source material of the films of Alfred Hitchcock and the plays of Eugene Ionesco, letting the audience draw their own conclusions from the action onstage.

GSAS! correspondent Tara Gadomski took a trip out to The Brick in Brooklyn to check out a performance; listen in as she and director John Kurzynowski, who also conceived the piece, and two members of the ensemble who performed and created the show, Lauren Swan-Potras and Jon Riddleberger, discuss TRE’s mode for devising, theatrical moments as questions, the balance between source material and the entirely new, and “the strange middle ground between suspense and the absurd.”

“…what we mean by reconstruction is that we take classic and canonical works and theatricalities, and we play with it, and we say, what does that mean to us now, and how do we interact with that? So when we investigate Hitchcock…it’s our idea of what Hitchcock means. It’s staying true to that, and not trying to recreate something perfectly, but say, ‘this thing exists here, we exist over here, what’s that middle ground?’ And that’s the playing space that we inhabit when we’re creating work…”

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Margi Sharp Douglas, Rachel Murdy, Peter Szep, Joan Jubett, and Cynthia Croot of “The Millay Sisters”

Margi Sharp Douglas and Rachel Murdy of THE MILLAY SISTERS, presented by Vanderbilt RepublicIf you’ve ever wandered around Greenwich Village, you might have noticed a very tiny house at 75 1/2 Bedford Street, built on a former alley (it’s Manhattan, so if there’s land to be built on, someone’s going to try it). Stop and take a look at the facade, and you’ll notice a vermillion plaque, commemorating that this was once the home of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay.

If she’s unfamiliar to you, you’re in the fortunate position of getting to explore her work for the first time. And a great place to start would be The Millay Sisters, a cabaret/performance/play about Vincent (as she liked to be called) and her life, currently running at Gowanus Loft in Brooklyn.

GSAS! correspondent Tara Gadomski is back on the mic! Listen in as she and The Millay Sisters co-creators and performers Margi Sharp-Douglas & Rachel Murdy, musical director/musician Peter Szep, and co-directors Joan Jubett and Cynthia Croot discuss their process of development, light and dark, dramaturgy in Maine, giving your audience the opportunity to sing, and the importance of a bar at your show.

“…people are going to hear this, and think, ‘oh, it’s some sort of biopic;’ and there are a lot of facts in it. But really it’s about the emotional truth of what’s going on with her. When you see the show, you feel like you’ve met the person, not just sort of received facts from on high, and a lot of the music sets this sort of emotional world against which the poetry is then put…”

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