Listen in as actors from Hip to Hip Theatre Company‘s productions of All’s Well That Ends Well and King Lear—Joy Marr, Nancy Nichols, Joel Leffert, & Kurt Kingsley—discuss grabbing the audience from the start, weathering the storm (“rain-pace!”), the esprit de corps of their hard-working company, children’s birthday parties at the theater, designing and preparing for a traveling show, what they love about working with Hip to Hip, and sending your audience away smiling, even after getting rained on.
“…it’s Shakespeare. There’s so much to listen to, there’s so much wonderful stuff…but it’s the basic emotions, it’s love, and hate, and jealousy, and I want that…”
Listen in as playwright & performer of Scum, Sarah Shear, along with fellow cast members Aaron Mauck, Adrian Abel Amador, & Jay Cobian, discuss nuclear overlay maps, Bartle’s Taxonomy of Players, playing against type and finding commonality with your character, emotional vs. physical labor, personal playwriting challenges, doomsday prep, healthy compromise, and just what scum is, both externally and internally.
“…the reason why I think Scum is a little bit more universal […] is because it’s really about personal politics, more than anything else. It’s about how do we operate, and how do we, essentially, love each other…”
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 Christine Hamel and Jake Murphy, members of the cast of PTP/NYC‘s new production of Brecht on Brecht, discuss how they found their version(s) of the George Tabori collage, “balancing the dark and the light” of the opposites inherent to Brecht’s theories, relevance, audience reactions to Epic Theatre, how the production has changed in the 18 months between presentations, and speaking truth to power in 2018.
“…it’s interesting, because if one of the purposes of theatre in this style is to activate, and wake people up, one of the questions I have is […] to do what? What do we want them to do? Waking up is the first thing…”
“…and not being seduced by normalizing our current reality, pointing it out for the horror it is…”
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 Cannibal Galaxy: a love story playwright Charise Greene, along with the duo behind the producing company Between Two Boroughs—the show’s director, Jenn Haltman, and Becca Schneider, who plays “Claire”—discuss impossibility in the theater, finding communal experiences in the wake of trauma, “the relationship between violence, science, and spirituality in our country,” embracing the structural elements of a space, galactic cannibalism, magical realism, irrevocable change, and where creativity and violence collide.
“…I always ask the question, ‘why does this have to be a play?’…for me, impossible plays are an opportunity to welcome collaboration…Becca’s ‘Claire’ coughing up peach pits, or ash, is going to be very different than another actress, and I want Becca’s version of that, and Jenn’s version of the larger picture…to me, it’s a leap of exciting theatricality that is the reason why I go to the theater.”
Listen in as Kristy Dodson, director of New Light Theater Project‘s production of Liza Birkenmeier’s The Hollower, along with co-producer Michael Aguirre and cast members Reyna de Courcy, Samuel Im, & ToniAnne DiFilippo, discuss script development, finding truth in the absurd, finding personal connections to your character (and having your character written to you), taking risks with form, and “how misogyny is passed down by women.”
“…I think the text is so brilliant, and this has been such a supportive and creative and inspiring process, that it’s this weird combination of the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, and being like rolling down a hill.”
Listen in as the cast & one of the directors of Flux Theatre Ensemble’s world premiere production of August Schulenburg’s The Sea Concerto—performers Morgan McGuire, Corey Allen, Greg Oliver Bodine, John Lenartz, Emily Hartford, and John Lenartz, with co-director Heather Cohn—discuss the importance of ensemble work, working from the outside in, familial and artistic legacies, finding a way into some very different & difficult characters, returning to past works, what can happen when your “scene partner” doesn’t show up until opening night, and why we make art.
“…I think what’s really interesting about this play…is that it asks the question, and answers the question, at the same time…and they’re constantly resonating throughout the play…”
Listen in as Phoenix Theatre Ensemble Artistic Director Craig Smith, who directs & plays “Pontius Pilate” in the company’s new production of Robert Patrick’s Judas, along with fellow cast-member Elise Stone (“Mary”), discuss giving equal weight to both sides, the drama of philosophical arguments, the challenge of living a good life, “blasphemy,” libertarianism and faith, communication breakdowns between mothers and sons, what happens when we see our heroes as humans, and how to answer the big question: “what are we supposed to do?”
“…I think that’s a dilemma for anyone who’s trying to live some kind of ethical, humane life in a really messed up world. And the world is really messed up for Judas, and the world is really messed up for all of us right now. So when I listen to Judas’s struggle, I feel like it’s so human. There’s all these wonderful words, and all this wonderful language…and then there’s this real human-ness…”