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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Michael Hardart, Sidney Fortner, Michael LeBron, Marc LeVasseur, Erin Beirnard of “The Climbers”

The Metropolitan Playhouse presents THE CLIMBERS by Clyde Fitch, directed by Michael HardartListen in as director Michael Hardart, designers Sidney Fortner (costumes) and Michael LeBron (sets), along with actors Marc LeVasseur and Erin Beirnard of The Metropolitan Playhouse‘s production of Clyde Fitch’s The Climbers, discuss finding opportunity in constriction, pacing, showing & reflecting the mechanics usually reserved for the background, hearing from the servants, being in tune with your audience in an intimate space, achieving elegance by suggesting elegance, and why this play from 1901 fits in our “new gilded age.”

“…what it’s driven me to…is an appreciation of what I enjoy, what I love: when a play can continue moving forward, even in a set change…you make it something that’s part of the story…”

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Kim Weild, Matthew Imhoff, J.W. Guido, and Geraldine Leer of “soot and spit”

Our Voices Theater presents SOOT AND SPIT, written by Charles Mee and directed by Kim WeildListen in as soot and spit director Kim Weild, scenic designer Matthew Imhoff, and performers J.W. Guido and Geraldine Leer, discuss play as poetry, interpreting unique scripts, creating an historical character with limited biographical resources, performing with boxes on your head and feet, when your fellow actors play your art, and making art about an artist using a different art-form.

“I think of this piece as a poem…it’s not a biography…”

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Tara Ahmadinejad, Kijani-Ali Gaulman, Alexandra Panzer, & Allison LaPlatney of “Ski End”

Piehole presents SKI END, directed by Tara AhmadinejadListen in as the director of Piehole‘s new show Ski End, Tara Ahmadinejad, along with performers Kijani-Ali Gaulman, Alexandra Panzer, Allison LaPlatney, discuss half walls & dead birds, “90s ski glory,” what it means to be a “script captain,” apocalyptic spaces, Frankenstein, the group mind, reaching toward the sublime, discussing big life questions with strangers, zooming in & zooming out, and the company’s wild road trip journey from Vermont to the cosmos.

“…dipping into the themes of nature, and dread. And we’re like, ‘ok, this isn’t necessarily an obvious one-to-one connection, but let’s push this further’…”

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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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Emily Louise Perkins, Ben Beckley, Jess Chayes, Stephen Aubrey, and Nick Benacerraf of “I Will Look Forward to This Later”

The Assembly presents I Will Look Forward to This LaterEpisodes featuring The Assembly have been some of my favorite episodes of this podcast.

Add this one to that list.

The company’s new show, I Will Look Forward to This Later, is currently running at The New Ohio. Make sure you get over to check it out, and definitely take a listen to this episode either on your way there, or on your way back. And, even better, hang out and chat with the company after the show, and dig into these issues with them yourself. They’d like to chat with you.

But at the very least, listen in to this episode as several Assembly members—director Jess Chayes, actor Ben Beckley, actor/writer Emily Louise Perkins, dramaturg Stephen Aubrey, and production designer Nick Benacerraf—discuss the Assembly process, inspiration from kabuki, choices/actions/consequences, conversations with your collaborators, your audience, & Judith Malina, and loss, legacy, & time.

“I think it’s important that we are in the process of figuring things out, that we don’t know the answers…and we’re excited about that.” Continue reading

Heather Cohn, Kia Rogers, Rachael Hip-Flores, Isaiah Tanenbaum, and Jodi M. Witherell of “Salvage”

Flux Theatre Ensemble presents Salvage, written by August Schulenburg and directed by Heather Cohn“What lives on…what’s left when someone is gone?”

The kinds of things that remain can run the gamut—music boxes, stories, ephemera, bottles of booze, memories—but they can all mean something. And exploring that meaning is at the heart of August Schulenburg’s excellent new play Salvage, presented by Flux Theatre Ensemble.

Listen in as the show’s director Heather Cohn, actors Isaiah Tanenbaum and Rachael Hip-Flores, lighting designer Kia Rogers, and stage manager Jodi M. Witherell discuss Flux’s innovative Living Ticket model, tumblr-blogging for your show, working in a non-traditional space, putting audience submissions into your set, and what we save.

“…really, it’s this love-letter to New York that Gus has written…and I love being in it.”

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Clay Edmonds, Janet Jenness, and Aurora Heimbach of “OCD: or, The Trouble with Mrs. Henderson”

Gobsmacked Productions presents "OCD: The Trouble with Mrs. Henderson"I think of Hedda Gabler as one of those Mount Everest sort of shows; “exciting and daunting,” as one of the guests on today’s episode puts it.

The ideas and challenges of Ibsen’s classic are brought smack-dab between the play’s original 1890 setting and the modern day, in Gobsmacked! Productions’ 1950s-set re-telling entitled OCD: or, The Trouble with Mrs. Henderson. Gobsmacked producers Clay Edmonds and Janet Jenness share directing duties with Clay’s original script, and the (fabulous) actress Aurora Heimbach takes on the tragic heroine, known here as Henrietta Henderson; that’s her with the rifle in the photos below.

Listen in as Clay, Janet, Aurora and I discuss setting Clay’s favorite play in the 1950s, their personal relationships with that archetypical era in their choice of location (the American South), and what it’s like to take on the challenge of one of theatre’s most iconic roles.

“…I thought translating this piece into the ’50s was totally genius…that veneer of the ’50s, that painted on, plastic, ‘everything’s great’ was this even more concrete obstacle that I think helped with the claustrophobia of this woman who is trying to reconcile her own aspirations with the reality of the hand that she’s dealt…”

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