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…”

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Christopher Diercksen and Daniel John Kelley of “That True Phoenix”

Team Awesome Robot presents THAT TRUE PHOENIX, written by Daniel John KelleyListen in as playwright Daniel John Kelley and director Christopher Diercksen of That True Phoenix discuss opera nerdiness, self-mythologizing, producing (and living) with limited resources, repeatedly turning down your future collaborator (then, working in the same office with your collaborator), cutting down your 290-page autobiographical play, “why we do any of this,” taking the time to do it right, and the most interesting man you’ve (probably) never heard of: Lorenzo Da Ponte.

“…they were like, ‘Daniel, you’ve written crazy plays before; I trust that you will write a crazy play again, let’s do this play.’ And I was like, ‘ok, sure, 10 years of this idea, maybe it’ll do…’ But they were 100% committed, even if I didn’t believe it, from the beginning, to say, ‘we trust you, we’re going to build this play…we’re going to figure out why we do this as we go along’…”

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Jason Tseng, Emily Hartford, Alisha Spielmann, and Kia Rogers of “Rizing”

Flux Theatre Ensemble presents RIZING by Jason Tseng, directed by Emily HartfordPodcast regulars (and favorites) Flux Theatre Ensemble are back with a new show, from a new playwright, developed in-house and featuring a lot of ensemble regulars that you’ll recognize.

Rizing, by Jason Tseng, is a modern and unique take on the zombie trope. Here, however, those with a taste for brains live and work among the other remaining survivors of the zombie apocalypse, though those who are “Z-positive” are highly medicated, and de-facto segregated. But the old drugs are starting to lose the effect of keeping down the flesh-cravings, and a revolt is beginning to stir…

Flux is once again offering tickets with their incredible and brilliantly innovative Living Ticket model, so you can get to the show without a barrier to entry—but you can also have the chance to help the company out with a pay-what-you-will model. And they show you where that money’s going!

Listen in to this episode as Jason, along with director Emily Hartford, actor Alisha Spielmann, and lighting designer Kia Rogers discuss “The Walking Dead meets Octavia Butler,” class battles, thanking St. Judith Butler, how to make a world breathe, and how we are shaped by our reactions to the impossible decisions the world presents us with.

“…a big part of the play is memory, and what that does to a person when you don’t have a history, what that does for the Z-negative characters to have lived through this enormously violent and destructive history, and the choices that they’ve had to make. So there is this balance between who you are as your actions, and who you are as this past that sort of haunts you…”

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William Steinberger, Marisa Brau, Andreas Damm, Michael Calciano, and Melissa Cesarano of “Gregor”

InVersion Theatre Company presents Gregor, freely adapted from Kafka's The Metamorphosis, directed by William SteinbergerWe’ve all felt like an outsider at some point. But imagine how much more divorced from the world you’d feel if you woke up one day to discover you’ve turned into an insect.

That is, of course, the premise of Franz Kafka’s century-old absurd novella on alienation, The Metamorphosis. For GregorInVersion Theatre‘s stage adaptation of the story, the company adds theatrical movement and storytelling to give it a contemporary spin.

Plus, they add inter-dimensional actor-bureaucrats to tell us the story. And it totally works.

Listen in as director William Steinberger, along with the full cast, Marisa Brau, Andreas Damm, Michael Calciano, and Melissa Cesarano, discuss hearing Bond villains in your head, the inability to speak linearly, what happens when you lose language, and Kafka’s character of Gregor as a “proto-millennial.”

“…there’s this really fascinating triad: there’s Kafka who wrote it, there’s the speaker of The Metamorphosis, and then there’s Gregor…and I felt as though the novella was incredibly ripe for theatrical adaptation, because…a good way to [recreate that triad] was through breaking the fourth wall…I thought theatre could do it really well.”

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Katherine Sommer, Russell Sperberg, Kisky Holwerda, and Quinn Wise of “Punk as Fuck”

Everyday Inferno presents Punk as Fuck, written by Michael K. White & Dianna StarkHearing the synopsis of Everyday Inferno‘s Punk as Fuck, with its references to angry young people and garage bands, it certainly sounds like a play for anyone who secretly longs for their glory days of playing music with friends in a dirty basement or garage.

That’s what caught my attention to go see this show, currently running in rep with The Roaring Girl at Access Theater. But seeing Punk as Fuck, it’s not just about the rock—it’s a story of youthful idealism, angst, and yearning that anyone can identify with.

Listen in as director Katherine Sommer and actors Russell Sperberg, Kisky Holwerda, and Quinn Wise discuss suburban sensibilities, playing live music as part of your show, echoing consciousness, and telling a love story through a band rehearsal.

“…doing it in the space is so different because you have to be so conscious of people talking—”
“Especially playing drums, you’re playing an actual kit onstage.”
“It’s loud.”
“There was a lot of ‘Can you be a little bit quieter, just a little bit quieter…'”
“I feel like every band ever has that conversation with the drummer, right?”

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Nolan Kennedy, Scarlet Maressa Rivera, & Welland H. Scripps of “Gifts”

Letter of Marque presents Gifts, written and directed by Nolan KennedyRemember O. Henry’s lovely tale The Gift of the Magi, about the poor young couple at Christmastime, who each sacrifice their most precious possession to buy something special for the other’s most precious possession, so in the end they’re both left with a nice accessory for something they no longer have?

Letter of Marque‘s Nolan Kennedy decided to follow that couple, here played by his fellow LOM co-founders Scarlet Maressa Rivera and Welland H. Scripps, into the future, from year to year, as their relationship grows and changes, exploring the meaning of giving, receiving, and what they each really want.

And you can see this lovely, theatrical holiday gem for free, because it’s Letter of Marque, and that’s how they do.

Listen in as Nolan, Scarlet & Welland discuss how & why they built upon O. Henry’s classic, how & why live music and theatrical snow-fall was brought in to the show, and how & why they don’t charge admission.

“The capitalization of theatre minimizes the importance of theatre, not only in history, but in what its potential is now. It severely reduces the potential of how theatre can change…”

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James Rutherford and Elliot B. Quick, adaptors & directors of “The Importance of Being Ernest Hemingway”

M-34 presents "The Importance of Being Ernest Hemingway" at The Access TheaterTo drastically, drastically oversimplify his play—this what happens when an easy pun is chased down to the point where it becomes a complex theatrical statement.

If they all turn out like this, a strong case can be made that we should all chase such simple puns more often.

Listen in as the adaptors/directors of The Importance of Being Ernest Hemingway, James Rutherford and Elliot B. Quick, discuss the complexity of Oscar Wilde’s puns, what it really means to be earnest, and how even when things work out just perfectly, there can still be hurt & pain.

“It did actually start from a pun — and then we started working on it, and were really shocked and appalled that it was really fruitful territory, and that these two writers actually have a great deal to say to one another…”

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