Veronique Ory, Tom Block, & Hunter Bird of “Sub-Basement”

Athena Theatre presents SUB-BASEMENT at IRT TheaterListen in as Athena Theatre Artistic Director (and actor in the show) Veronique Ory, along with Sub-Basement writer Tom Block and director Hunter Bird, discuss eschewing the Mad Men path, writing to a company’s mission statement, the importance of absurdity in the theatre at the present moment, where to find the best poutine in the city, and the “absurdist odyssey to find your life’s purpose.”

“The entry point was really wanting to address the homeless in our city, and to find a way…[to] address it in a way that wasn’t stereotypical…in other cultures, this idea of how homeless people are thought to be mystics, they’ve come to an enlightened point in their life…that if they can have peace and clarity in their mind, then that’s all that they need. And part of representing them in this way is hopefully taking a small step to giving face and voice to our homeless population…”

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Hondo Weiss-Richmond, J. C. Ernst, Emily Kitchens, Natalie Hegg, Dan Morrison, and Patricia Lynn of “Messenger #1”

Hunger and Thirst Collective presents MESSENGER #1, written by Mark Jackson, directed by Hondo Weiss-RichmondListen in as Messenger #1 director Hondo Weiss-RichmondHunger & Thirst Collective Artistic Director Patricia Lynn, and actors J. C. Ernst, Emily Kitchens, Natalie Hegg, and Dan Morrison discuss class, intimate space (and the fun audience reactions it can provoke), “the swells,” the flow of information, telling the truth, and how this 17-year-old play feels like it was written for our present moment in the United States.

“…sometimes at the very end, you feel like…we’ve all been a part of this together. It’s like this shared experience that we’ve all had, and you feel that very palpably because it’s an intimate experience…”

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Ken Urban, Benjamin Kamine, James Kautz, and Sean Patrick Monahan of “Nibbler”

The Amoralists present NIBBLER, written by Ken Urban, directed by Benjamin KamineListen in as Nibbler playwright Ken Urban, director Benjamin Kamine, Artistic Director of The Amoralists (and actor in the show) James Kautz, and fellow actor Sean Patrick Monahan discuss expanding your one-act, vulnerability, meeting the challenges of a show, looking for hope in dark times, getting “nauseatingly close” with your collaborators, songwriting for your script, just how autobiographical this dark comedy gets, and “pulling it off.”

No spoilers.

“…I’m going to paraphrase you, but I think it was something like, ‘can’t they just sit there and sing?'”
“I think that is what I said, ‘Can’t they just be still?’…”

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Tony Torn, Will Dagger, and Alley Scott of “Latter Days”

Dutch Kills Theater Company presents LATTER DAYS by Ben BeckleyListen in as actors Tony Torn and Will Dagger of Ben Beckley’s Latter Days, along with Artistic Director of Dutch Kills Theater Company Alley Scott, discuss makeup mishaps, referencing Beckett & Don Quixote, finding the perfect prop toilet when you’re out with friends, creating an original theology for your show, and belief, expectation, fantasy, reality, and father figures.

“…finding yourself somebody who’s desperate to believe in transcendence of sorts, and also, coming up against your own inherent skepticism…”

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Ross Williams of NYSX’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” plus talkback with Shane Breaux and Dr. Jaime Wright

New York Shakespeare Exchange presents MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHINGListen in as New York Shakespeare Exchange Artistic Director and director of Much Ado About Nothing, Ross Williams, discusses finding resonance with the “fake news” of today in Shakespeare, getting rid of unnecessary jokes, blending characters (and why you might want to), achieving a sense of inclusion with your audience, and getting around having all those pesky messengers in Much Ado.

…and, after the brief interview with Ross, stay tuned for a recording of the post-show talkback between him, Dr. Jaime Wright, Associate Professor at St. Johns University, and the show’s dramaturg Shane Breaux.

“…Shakespeare was all about the exchange between the audience and the players, and I think all too often, Shakespeare done contemporarily is done with our contemporary understanding of the fourth wall…what I really like to encourage is a sense of exchange between the audience and the actors…”

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Becky Baumwoll & David Jenkins of “See Reverse”

Broken Box Mime Theater presents SEE REVERSEListen in as performers Becky Baumwoll and David Jenkins of Broken Box Mime Theater discuss working in the brand-new Gural Theatre in midtown, starting from naturalistic acting, how the company makes an evening from a series of smaller pieces, mime as free jazz, paring down your gestures to streamline a story through movement, wearing matching shoes, when giving line readings is ok (and preferred), and why you might want to rehearse with an audience.

“…something about the efficiency unlocks a huge amount of possibility for us as storytellers…there’s something about not having words that invites the audience to really immerse themselves in what’s happening. And, when you are building invisible objects, or interacting with an invisible costume, or a prop, the audience, in order to understand, has to fill in that blank…We’re using your imagination as our palette to create the story…”

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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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Charlotte Ahlin, Emily Lyon, Danielle Cohn, and Jacque Emord-Netzley of “The Summoning”

Fat Knight Theatre presents THE SUMMONING, written by Charlotte Ahlin, part of Winterfest 2017Listen in as The Summoning playwright & actor Charlotte Ahlin and director Emily Lyon, later joined by the rest of the cast, Danielle Cohn and Jacque Emord-Netzley, discuss inspiration from college issues, finding the rhythm of the play, feeling the pull of the dark forces of the occult, the benefit of working with friends when you’re working with constraints, and why you gotta make ’em laugh.

“…I think a lot of those insecurities that everyone feels go into this…and then, of course, the natural extension of that is, when you’re afraid of the unknown of the future…you’re going to want to summon some demon-spawn from hell to protect you…” Continue reading

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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Jake Lipman, Molly Ballerstein, and Brittany Anikka Liu of “Rapture, Blister, Burn”

Tongue in Cheek Theater presents Rapture Blister Burn by Gina GionfriddoWhen choosing the plays to be presented this season by Tongue in Cheek Theater Productions, artistic director Jake Lipman had remarkable foresight. The company’s mission is to produce thought-provoking comedies, and the shows usually have a woman at the center of the story. But they don’t always reflect a VERY current debate in American politics.

The company didn’t mean to produce a political play the week before the US presidential election. But because their current show, Rapture, Blister, Burn examines how women are often validated (or not) based solely on their societal roles as mother, wife or career-woman, one can’t help but see parallels in the current election. When Hillary Clinton is criticized for not baking cookies and also criticized for bragging about her grandchild, it’s easy to see that feminism still has a long hill to climb in America.

Rapture, Blister, Burn, written by Gina Gionfriddo (and a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Drama), is a deeply-moving story about feminism, choices, family, love and unfulfilled dreams. It also examines why people don’t always practice the beliefs and theories they say they support. Does the show “play the woman card?” If getting audiences to understand that women can be respected for whatever life choice they make is playing the woman card, then Tongue in Cheek has dealt a beautiful hand.

Listen in as GSAS! correspondent Tara Gadomski talks with Artistic Director and actor Jake Lipman, director Molly Ballerstein, and actor Brittany Anikka Liu to discuss diving deep into feminism to prepare for your show, the eerie prescience of the play, the role of music in TIC’s production, gendered and non-gendered audience responses to the show, actors’ perspectives between generations, what it means to make your own work, and shows that stay with you long after you’ve seen them.

“It’s extremely rare to find something that feels so topical and fresh that is a revival. All of it felt very close to the surface for me. And right now, we’re all on edge.”

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