The Playwrights & Directors of “The Refugee Plays”

THE REFUGEE PLAYS in The Frigid Festival 2017Listen in as playwrights Charles Gershman (also the Artistic Director of the producing company, Snowy Owl), Callie KimballCarlos Castro, and Sean E. Cunningham, as well as directors Rachel Dart, Logan Reed, and Dan Dinero, discuss the influence of current events, tragedy in timeless stories, superficial logic, how the outside world seeps into the rehearsal room, ethical casting, how to unite a series of short plays, and what theatre is supposed to do in difficult times.

“…I don’t think any of us want to have to write plays about topics like these, but things are pretty bad right now, and so I think we all responded to the sort of global call to draw attention to an issue that we think is important right now…”

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Alley Scott, Jean Ann Douglass, and Lori Parquet of “The Providence of Neighboring Bodies”

Dutch Kills Theater Company presents THE PROVIDENCE OF NEIGHBORING BODIES by Jean Ann DouglassListen in as Dutch Kills Theater Company Artistic Director Alley Scott, playwright Jean Ann Douglass, and actor Lori Parquet discuss The Providence of Neighboring Bodies, making work with your friends, inspiration from your hometown, how place informs character, different models for creating a production, and the magic & supportiveness of the indy theatre community.

“…the great thing about independent theatre is that the people who come to see independent theatre are very with you, and are willing to work with you…”

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Skylar Fox & Simon Henriques of “Providence, RI”

Nightdrive presents PROVIDENCE, RI at The TankListen in as the co-creators of Providence, RI, Skylar Fox (who directs) and Simon Henriques (who performs in the show) discuss their company Nightdrive‘s process, why they used Providence as their subject (and what it was like to explain the place to someone who’s never been there), misdirecting your audience, and where their piece fits in the world in January 2017.

“…we’re actually trying to do new things to communicate in uniquely effective ways with an audience…”

“Yeah, we’re trying to do experimental theatre that’s FUN…” Continue reading

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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Matt Steiner and Stan Richardson of “Private Manning Goes to Washington”

The Representatives present Private Manning Goes to WashingtonInformation is power. But information often comes with a price tag.

What do you do if you believe at your core that information must be made available to all who seek it?

And how do you mitigate the possible effects of opening up information, when it has the potential to cause harm—perhaps to a loved one, perhaps to the state? Maybe, through your efforts at sunlight, you could make the world a better place, but at what cost?

And, just what can theatre do about all of this?

These questions, and more, are at the heart of The RepresentativesPrivate Manning Goes to Washington, a play that opens with internet and political activist Aaron Swartz and a childhood friend, and eventually explores a secret meeting between whistle-blower Chelsea Manning and President Barack Obama on the last day of Obama’s presidency…

Listen in as the collaborators who form The Representatives, Stan Richardson and Matt Steiner (both co-direct, Richardson wrote the script, and Steiner plays Swartz), discuss the radical intimacy of producing in apartments, imagining how one activist could try to help another activist while actively under investigation, the benefits of getting the artists and audience in closer proximity, throwing post-show parties, and why we don’t need more martyrs: we need everyone.

“We have a strong sense of occasion. It’s enormously meaningful for a group of people to get together and sit and watch something. An so often in traditional theatre, there’s obviously a separation between the artist and the audience that becomes almost hierarchical…”

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Eric Striffler of “Nyctophobia”

Synthetic NYC presents NyctophobiaIf you head to their website, Synthetic NYC has an F.A.Q. section with the question, “What is Nyctophobia?”

Their answer? “Correct.”

That’s about all you need to know about this immersive performance experience, currently running at an undisclosed location in Manhattan. I won’t disclose any more…but in this episode, you’ll get a bit more of an idea of just what’s going on here…

Listen in as the experience’s director/creator Eric Striffler discusses defying expectations, how to prepare your actors for performing in immersive shows, safe-words, how to create and manage multiple storyline threads through your performance, and how the best part of something like this can be the ride home with your friends.

“…if you know any aspect of it going in, it’s going to take away from it a little bit…it’s whatever, I don’t want to ruin it! […] There’s all kinds of different types of immersive experiences, and this is not one of those ones that’s hardcore, super-scary…this is definitely more fun.”

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Dan Bianchi and R. Patrick Alberty of RadioTheatre’s 8th Annual H. P. Lovecraft Festival

RadioTheatre presents The 8th Annual H. P. Lovecraft Festival at The Kraine TheaterThis is now the fourth time I’ve done a podcast about RadioTheatre‘s annual H. P. Lovecraft Festival (now in its 8th year!)—and as long as they keep doing Lovecraft, I’m going to keep going to see their shows.

Fans of radio drama and/or horror fiction will definitely find something to love, as creator/director Dan Bianchi dramatizes 8 different stories from Lovecraft’s deep catalogue of weird tales, enlisting the vocal talents of actors like R. Patrick Alberty to bring them to life for your ears, live, onstage.

Listen in as Dan and Patrick discuss the company’s adaptation process, how the festival has changed through 8 editions, what can happen when you exceed audience expectations, why we need horror tales, and how this is the kind of experience only RadioTheatre can bring you.

“…we’re asking the audience to participate, to use your imagination…back in the days of radio, everyone sat around the radio in the living room in the dark…and they had to use their imagination to provide the visuals. And here we are, going back to that, the simplest form of theatre there was, sitting around the campfire in the dark, telling stories…” 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

Marina Tempelsman, Niccolo Aeed, & Temesgen Tocruray of “Room 4”

Marina and Nicco present ROOM 4 at The PIT, graphic by Chris KalbWaiting in the room for your audition can be brutal—it can start to feel like you’re living in Groundhog Day, seeing the same folks who play the same types that you do, waiting for the same similar roles, on the same similar kinds of projects, audition after audition, day after day…

Marina & Nicco‘s new show Room 4 takes that familiar actor struggle and makes it an actor hell, creating a No Exit kind of scenario where four actors realize that, indeed, the same audition call is starting to repeat itself. But, what starts as a brilliant concept for a fun, funny show becomes an incredible commentary on the state of the entertainment business (and, by extension, the United States) by adding in the fact that these are four black actors, all vying for the same stereotypical role in a standard crime procedural.

Biting, incisive, wonderfully-performed, and tears-streaming-down-your-face funny, Room 4 is a show that, as I say at the top of this interview, anyone listening to this podcast should go and see. You’ll have a blast in the room—and then you should have a great conversation at The PIT‘s bar afterward about what you’ve seen.

Listen in as the creators, Marina Tempelsman and Niccolo Aeed, and actor Temesgen Tocruray, discuss what stories you’re telling (and who you’re telling them for), writing for and with the actors in the ensemble, performing race in the theatre and for the people around you, using specificity to talk about universal issues, and how the arts can spark conversation and, eventually, change.

“I don’t know if we have a direct solution, I mean, other than ‘hire more black actors, directors, and writers.’ Give stage time to more diverse things, and don’t write necessarily for a white audience, write for your truth and honesty. But other than than, I think we wanted to really live in the moment, more than necessarily provide an answer…”
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Jason Sofge, Dustin Charles, Kristin Wetherington, Dereks Thomas, and Tony Del Bono of “Anonymous, Anonymous”

Pogue Mahone Productions presents ANONYMOUS, ANONYMOUS by Jason Sofge, part of FringeNYC 2016This episode’s going up on a Saturday, which is a little weird, I know, but it’s Fringe-time, y’all, and I wanted to be sure you had a couple chances to catch this lovely show.

Jason Sofge, last heard on the podcast while performing in the excellent Fatty Fatty No Friends, presents his first full-length play, Anonymous, Anonymous, which he wrote, co-directed, and produced. Time in the play shifts a lot, and the structure is unusual (the playwright himself describes it as “metaphysical”), but as the story unfolds and reveals itself, there’s a ton of humor, heart, and truth to the piece.

Listen in as Jason and several members of the cast—Dustin Charles, Kristin Wetherington, Dereks Thomas, and Tony Del Bono—discuss developing your first play, “the one that got away,” breaking the rules to “defy the commercial construct of the modern theatre,” surprising your audience, and why we do this crazy theatre thing at all.

“…I think, as artists, when we have to deal with something that’s really painful, we have to use it, we have to make something productive out of it…”

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