Katie Palmer and Paul Bedard of “The Debates”

Theater in Asylum presents The DebatesTheater = Politics = Theater = Politics

If you’ve seen that equation on a t-shirt around the independent theatre world in NYC of late, then you’ve seen someone who’s worked on or seen Theater in Asylum‘s ever-changing The Debates.

It’s the perfect slogan for a project theatricalizing the Democratic Presidential Primary debates, with the intent to bring theatre people to the political process, and political people into the theater—and it sounds like the project is doing its intended work.

GSAS! sat down with the show’s director, Paul Bedard, and choreographer, Katie Palmer, to discuss how they trained their team, how to balance a scene, how to handle material that’s moving so quickly, why they’re focusing on only the Democratic Party, the actual differences between Hillary and Bernie (and how to present them fairly), and “who am I, who are you, who are we.”

I think one of the reasons people stay out is that it seems like such a big thing, that if, “I’m not in it already, it’s just too much to learn, and I don’t want to get involved.” And I think people stay away from theaters for the same reason…”I couldn’t possibly understand what’s happening in this theater”…and I think we’ve tried to take the fear and the elitism out of both of those avenues, saying that, “you can engage in both things, here’s some helpful tools…”

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Edward Einhorn, Patrice Miller, and Gyda Arber of “Money Lab”

Untitled Theater Company #61 presents MONEY LAB at HERE Arts CenterIf you’re listening to this podcast, then it’s very likely you’re all-too-familiar with the sometimes-insurmountable-seeming economic barriers to creating independent theatre in New York (for info on some of the groups that are working to make it better, go back and listen to GSAS! Episode 150, on the Crisis to Creation Town Hall event).

But what about actively exploring economic realities on stage, as part of your theatre? How would you do that?

Economists said it wouldn’t be possible, but Untitled Theater Company #61‘s Edward Einhorn has proven them wrong with Money Lab. Billed as “an economic vaudeville,” you’re in for a night of scenes, music, dance, and performance around economic themes, running in a repertory style with different bills each night, all while two economies are created for (and by) the audience, and tracked in real-time.

Listen in as Edward, along with choreographer & assistant producer Patrice Miller and co-creator of the economic game performance Gyda Arber, discuss how you find an economist to perform in your independent theatre piece, finding the meaning of abstract economic terms through dance, determining the value of an artist’s time, and bailouts after bad bets by audience-members. Continue reading

James Rutherford, Laura Butler Rivera, and Jon Froehlich of “All That Dies and Rises”

M-34 and Cloud of Fools present All That Dies and RisesWhat do you do when, almost a year into development of a play, the play disappears?

You could cut and run. Or, you could rally the team you’ve assembled, and make something else. Something grounded in the work you’ve done up to that point—but also, something beautifully unique.

That’s just what happened to the team behind M-34 and Cloud of Fools Theater Company‘s All That Dies and Rises; listen in as director James Rutherford, choreographer Laura Butler Rivera, and performer Jon Froehlich discuss making rorschach blots, why we’re here, focusing on the excitement, and the wisdom of Peter Brook.

“…if it’s too abstract, it doesn’t work. It needs to look enough like something that your mind tries to figure it out, but not enough like anything that your mind is able to succeed…”

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