Elizabeth Hess, Katie Palmer, and Lucas Tahiruzzaman Syed of “Love Trade”

La Mama and The Hess Collective present LOVE TRADE, written and directed by Elizabeth HessListen in as Love Trade writer/director/performer Elizabeth Hess, along with collaborators/performers Katie Palmer and Lucas Tahiruzzaman Syed, discuss their collaborative process, feminist revenge fantasies, integrating and playing with the audience, fetishization of race, balloons, lived text, and performance poetry.

“…it’s a very hybrid approach to performance, and I am a magpie. I am thrilled that Lucas is foremost a musician…Katie is also herself an artistic director, and she’s got an incredibly strong dance background. I beg, borrow, and steal from that […] create [your] own hybrid approach that really resonates with [your] own voice and vision…”

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Jessica Burr of “Platonov, or, A Play with No Name”

Blessed Unrest presents PLATONOV, or, A Play with No Name, translated and adapted by Laura Wickens from the play by Anton Chekhov, directed by Jessica BurrListen in as Blessed Unrest Artistic Director and director of Platanov, or, A Play with No NameJessica Burr, discusses the company’s staging process for the round, adapting early Chekhov, finding the humanity in “dreadful” people, putting the audience in the world of the characters, sleepless nights thanks to blocking, and the similarities between this 140-year-old play and our current world.

“…I guess for me, ultimately, I don’t go to the theatre to see Platonov, or to see Hamlet. I go to the theatre to see actors, to see human beings being exposed…that’s really what I want to see. Of course it’s story, it’s narrative, it’s context, but it’s really about the humans, we put these humans in this situation, and we watch and see what they do. And hopefully we learn from them.”

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Emma Miller, Abby Awe, Julia Greer, & Eva Ravenal of “Athena”

The Hearth presents ATHENA, written by Gracie Gardner, directed by Emma Miller, at JACKListen in as director Emma Miller and the full cast of AthenaAbby Awe, Julia Greer, and Eva Ravenal—discuss learning how to fence for the show, script development in the room, “navigating how to be a person,” shocking rarity, working from the inside out, tapping into the extremities of being a teenager, and the simply radical.

“…we are enthusiastic about plays that take seriously what it feels like to grow up in a female body. I think this play takes really seriously what it feels like to make friends, and what it feels like to navigate the world as a young woman…”

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Alexander V. Thompson, Brad Raimondo, Greg Carere, Simon Winheld, & Rosie Sowa of “Pete Rex”

The Dreamscape Theatre presents PETE REX, written by Alexander V. Thompson, directed by Brad RaimondoListen in as the team behind the world premiere of Pete Rex—playwright Alexander V. Thompson, director Brad Raimondo, and performers Greg Carere, Simon Winheld, and Rosie Sowa—discuss the uses & dangers of fantasy, making your hometown a central character in your script, eerie resonance with the political moment, fun actor challenges, familiarity with the characters and situations onstage, loving someone while hating their inaction, crossing Ionesco with Albee, and, of course, dinosaurs.

“…this place that had been something, and turned into kind of a ‘non-place’ through the loss of industry, and the loss of jobs, and the economy. And we were all, ‘that feels like it should be in here now’…I think that’s something that we really want people to take away…the experience of these places…that have gone from thriving, to nowhere, and what that does to people…”

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Lynnea Benson, Marcus Watson, Amy Frances Quint, Erick Gonzalez, Kyle Primack, and Kevin Hauver of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Frog and Peach Theatre Company presents William Shakespeare's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, directed by Lynnea BensonListen in as director Lynnea Benson and performers Marcus Watson, Amy Frances Quint, Erick Gonzalez, Kyle Primack, and Kevin Hauver of Frog & Peach Theatre Company‘s new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, discuss why the company returned to the forest outside of Athens, bucket-list roles, the politics of Midsummer, playing different roles in the same play after six years, trusting collaborators to push you in new and exciting directions, and how to not only give the audience what they want, but what you think they might need.

“…we wanted something that could also reach out to families with children, and younger people, people who think they know Midsummer but maybe don’t know it the Frog & Peach way. Also, we never miss an opportunity with the present company to do a comedy…”

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Craig Smith, Lori Parquet, Ariel Estrada, Elise Stone, Stacey Raymond, and Layan Elwazani of “The Cult Play”

Phoenix Theatre Ensemble presents THE CULT PLAY, written by Topher Cusumano and directed by Irene LazaridisListen in as Phoenix Theatre Ensemble‘s producing artistic director Craig Smith, along with performers Lori Parquet, Ariel Estrada, Elise Stone, Stacey Raymond, and Layan Elwazani of the company’s world premiere production of Topher Cusumano’s The Cult Play, discuss the play’s resonance with the current zeitgeist, how defense of one’s identity can put others in harm’s way, technology’s place in telling a story in the theatre, killing different characters in different drafts, surviving cults, what we believe and why we believe it, “truth” vs. “certainty,” and the responsibility of not just the leader, but of those who choose to follow them.

“…2.5 million Americans have been in cults in the past 30 or 40 years. It’s pretty widespread, and I think cults are enormously interesting. I think all of us, on some level, feel wounded, and maybe a bit fragile, and I think we’re more fragile than we think that we are, and we come under the spell of these folks like Mama Pearl […]”
“You don’t have to go political with this play. If you’re on Instagram, or Twitter, or whatever, you already follow someone…”

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Jamal Abdunnasir, Lauren Larocca, and Peregrine Teng Heard of “Sheila”

The Associates present SHEILAListen in as three of the five company members of The Associates—director Jamal Abdunnasir, and performers Lauren Larocca & Peregrine Teng Heard—discuss their new collectively-devised “waking nightmare” Sheila, exploring the intersection of the mundane with the grotesque, the role of improvisation in their process, how they work with non-Associate associates, and why the company likes to make things just a little bit scary.

“…I think what we’ve found out about ourselves is that we write almost as much as we create in the room, that we all find a lot of value in putting down proposals on paper. Jamal happens to work a lot in stage directions, and I happen to work a lot in action, and then there’s dialogue people…the important thing is for everyone to be able to jump into all these characters…”

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Jessica Burr & Nancy McArthur of “The Snow Queen”

Blessed Unrest presents THE SNOW QUEEN, written by Matt Opatrny, adapted from the story by Hans Christian Anderson, directed by Jessica BurrListen in as director Jessica Burr and performer Nancy McArthur (“Gerda”) of Blessed Unrest‘s original adaptation of The Snow Queen discuss how the company came to create a show geared toward young people, working with 10-year-old collaborators in the rehearsal room, “dulling as we age,” Blessed Unrest’s devising techniques, the importance of having your designers involved all through the process, workshops on devising & physical theatre (2/13–3/6), and why kids can be the perfect audience for abstract storytelling.

“…for me, it’s the story of a really courageous young girl, who displays her power in a way that is actually very feminine…she isn’t violent, she doesn’t have to fight for what she wants, in fact she’s really smart…”

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Giverny Petitmermet, Rachel Dart, Elizabeth May, Taylor Beidler, and Alex Guhde of “The Trojan Women”

The New Collectives present Euripides' THE TROJAN WOMEN, A New Version by Brendan Kennelly, directed by Rachel DartListen in as The New Collectives Artistic Director & performer Giverny Petitmermet, director Rachel Dart, sound designer Elizabeth May, dramaturg Taylor Beidler, and assistant director Alex Guhde discuss bringing The Trojan Women to the present day, “folk songs from countries you’ve never been to,” why you should have a dramaturg & an assistant director on your show, “feeling your feelings,” finding the intersection between art and activism, where you’ll see Bob Fosse in this show, and how theatre can be the catalyst to a live conversation about what really matters.

“We do The Trojan Women in 2017 because the sad fact is that women who are displaced by war and conflict…continues to be relevant each and every day…”

“This really feels like the moment all the things that The New Collectives do comes to a head…”

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Janet Bentley, Andy Evan Cohen, Alexandra Cohler, & Ian Campbell Dunn of “Basement”

Roly Poly Productions presents BASEMENT, written by Michael Hagins, directed by Janet BentleyListen in as the director of Basement, Janet Bentley, along with actors Alexandra Cohler & Ian Campbell Dunn and sound designer Andy Evan Cohen, discuss radio-announcer-as-chorus, working in multiple languages in the same piece, sound as dramaturgy (and dramaturgy through sound), the benefit of having a medical professional in your production team, finding a place for a dance, and how to turn the traditional wartime romance narrative on its head.

“…theatre is always musical to me. There’s a rhythm to it…”

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