Listen in as the duo Marina & Nicco—Marina Tempelsman & Niccolo Aeed—discuss beginning their new show Unpacking from a design idea, introducing nostalgia via live music, ephemera, melancholia in comedy, what happens when you trust your audience with your lighting design, and the ghosts that imagining the future can summon.
“…this is a very literal answer to, ‘why is this live,’ but I think it checks out really beautifully. It’s really fun and interesting to see the collective personality of an audience having such a direct impact on what you’re seeing on the stage…”
Listen in as Mine playwright Maria Deasy and director Rachel Dart discuss making connections, inspiration from Maria’s paralegal background, the brand-new Broadway Bound Theatre Festival, discoveries in rehearsal, how to deal with a show inspired by real-life events, how to be “rich and spare,” and where we fit in as links on this human chain.
“…I didn’t want to make a polemic…I didn’t want to tell a story from event-to-event-to-event…I wanted to explore the idea that we’re all connected…”
Listen in as two of the creators behind Sanguine Theatre Company‘s world-premiere production of Jessica—playwright Patrick Vermillion and director Emily Jackson—discuss justifying your narrative, Sanguine’s “Project Playwright” process, why their AI story focuses on the building process, confronting the truth, the morality of technology, and what makes us human.
“…I wanted to create a sci-fi piece for the stage mostly because I was watching these really old, kinda shitty…[but] super-relevant, very socially-interesting television shows, with virtually no budget. It’s so much your imagination…kind of like with theatre…”
Listen in as writer and performer Lucie Pohl and director Kenneth Ferrone of Lucie’s auto-biographical solo show Hi, Hitler, currently playing at The Cherry Lane Theatre, discuss post-show snacks, David Hasselhoff, inhabiting dozens of characters, what is (and what isn’t) very German about the show, the ease with which you can kill your darlings, why you won’t find props in this show, and how to trust the moments.
“…it’s a ‘fish-out-of-water story,’ it’s about finding your identity, and it’s about trying to fit in…”
Listen in as the Elephant Run District team of Chris Harcum, playwright & performer, and Aimee Todoroff, director, of the company’s new show Martin Denton, Martin Denton, discuss finding safety and meaning in a community, “love,” the validity of our work, the ways in which our productions can live forever, how and why we do this thing called “indie theatre,” and more about this love letter to the scene.
“…what we’re doing is creating life, and then giving life back. And for me, one of the people who was there, and kind of charted what I was doing—and for whom I felt this very deep connection, and this person who, if he didn’t see my show, it felt like it did not happen—needed his story told.”
Listen in as the co-creators of Trump Lear, writer/performer David Carl & director Michole Biancosino, discuss their collaboration to put this piece together, playing Trump (and finding a way around the fact that Trump is inherently not funny), complicity, how to avoid preachy political theatre, tearing yourself down in your own piece, the importance of an excellent technician at the board, and the benefit of doing solo shows.
“…yeah, Trump and Shakespeare don’t really go together, usually…”
“Well, it works really well, in this instance…”
Listen in as Wheelhouse Theater Company founders Jeff Wise, who also directs the show, and actors David Kenner and Michael Schantz, discuss the company’s production of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, rebuttal plays, parallels to today (the phrase “drain the swamp” is in the text—seriously), reactions to overtly political plays that aren’t political screeds, the toxicity of forced conformity, and letting the audience draw their own conclusions.
“…the thing that really motivated me to do this play, the theme that I think stands out the most, is this idea of what it takes to step outside the collective, and have a new idea. And that is something that I think Ibsen was directly pointing at…”
Listen in as Improbable Stage Artistic Director Stacy A. Donovan, who also directs the company’s current production of That Which Remains (adapted from Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus), joined by performers Tali Custer, Julia Hansen, and Ellen Jenders, discuss the company’s unique approach to casting, meeting your new collaborators through free workshops, finding contemporary music for your mid-show dances, being open to changes, and how to get bloody without actually getting bloody (hint: the answer to everything is “collaboration”).
“…I was like, ‘how can I get my hands on Tarantino?’ And I thought, the best way would be Shakespeare’s bloodiest: Titus…”
Listen in as The Dirty Blondes, Elizabeth Sarkady and Ashley J. Jacobson (whom you’ll remember from past podcasts on The Miracle Play and The Tunnel Play), along with the full cast—Faith Sandberg, Jenna D’Angelo, and Brandon Ferraro—discuss the company’s new play How to Be Safe, finding relevance in the present moment, the “low hum of anxiety,” the draw of terrible true crime shows, the incredible experience of having a theatrical home-base, being a sponge (then wringing yourself out), and finding safety & solace in the theater.
“…the election happened, and that made me question what I was going to be putting out into the world. It needed to be relevant, it needed to speak to something. And so I figured, ‘let me just create the most honest, emotional show that I could, because that felt like my own personal safety, and that felt like my own personal contribution, to talk about how afraid I feel, and how afraid I think other people feel…”
Listen in as playwright James L. Menzies and director Richard C. Aven of Go Get the Axe, along with co-producer/actor Christopher Halladay, discuss the process that brought two short Shotz pieces by Jamie into the full-length FIG Productions is currently presenting, fever-dreams from a bathroom floor, the benefits of a desk day-job, collaborator love, killing your darlings, and how to give good pod.
“…people have been so imaginative, and so creative, and everybody’s had input. And that makes me really really proud, because it’s been phenomenal, the individual pride and energy that’s gone into this…and I get to sit and watch it, and people make me look good.”