Kristin McCarthy Parker, Nick Abeel, and Kyle Schaefer of “KEVIN!!!!!”

Recent Cutbacks presents KEVIN!!!!! at The PITThe mad comedic & theatrical geniuses of Recent Cutbacks are back with a holiday show—and given the title of KEVIN!!!!!, you can probably figure out which Chris Columbus classic they’re covering this time around.

As with their wonderful past shows covered by GSAS!—Hold on to Your Butts and Fly, You Fools!—the team has made something at once instantly recognizable and wonderfully original that had the audience on the night I attended rapt, awestruck, laughing hysterically, and yet still touched by heartwarming holiday feels.

Listen in as the core company of director Kristin McCarthy Parker and actors Nick Abeel & Kyle Schaefer discuss the process of making this wonderfully creative piece, nostalgia, “making your stuff and putting it out there,” creating an experience that’s a shared communal joy among audience and performer, and why the world might need this kind of show right now.

“…we’re not giving you all of the pieces. We’re giving you 5 out of 10, or 8 out of 10, maybe sometimes, of the pieces. But you’re doing the last little bit to realize it in your mind. And I think that level of engagement with the piece…is such an enjoyable way to watch theatre…”

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Recent Cutbacks’ “Fly, You Fools!”

Recent Cutbacks presents FLY, YOU FOOLS! at The PITThe brilliant comedic team of Recent Cutbacks didn’t exist, at least not in name, when they were last on the podcast with their incredible Hold on to Your Butts.

But luckily for all of us, they’re back, and this time, instead of dinosaurs, they’re taking on elves, dwarves, orcs, wizards, eagles, and, of course, hobbits, with Fly, You Fools!

On the mic are the show’s producer Allyson Morgan, as well as returning guests, director Kristin McCarthy Parker and performers Nick Abeel and Kyle Schaefer; and now, added to the team are performer Matt Zambrano, and foley artist Blair Busbee, all of whom sat in for a chat about their wonderful new show.

Listen in as the Recent Cutbacks team discusses why they moved to The Fellowship of the Ring from Jurassic Park, dancey, movementy, mimey things, the danger of inciting a nerd riot, finding the sound of your show as it continues to change, and how to deal with prop mishaps in real time.

“…in the rehearsal process, we sort of found that the more epic the film was, the less props we needed. We could get away with more, with less…actually, we don’t need these hundred wigs, or these extra props, when we can tell the story just through physicality. Which I think is actually more joyful for the audience…” Continue reading

Nick Abeel and Becky Baumwoll of “Above/Below”

Broken Box Mime Theater presents ABOVE/BELOW at HERE Arts CenterThink of a mime.

Now go see Broken Box Mime Theater, and let them explode whatever preconceived notions you have.

Their new show is called Above/Below, a series of vignettes about what’s on the surface, and what’s hidden underneath, all done in mime.

Listen in as troupe members Nick Abeel and Becky Baumwoll discuss how mimes mess around, mime-versity, and what they’re keeping in their hearts.

…and even theatre-people [think] it’s boxes and ropes, ‘stop being stuck in a box, and climbing a rope.’ But in that way, we are able to really blow peoples’ minds, because we take it so much farther than that. People are surprised to find how playful, and profound, and accessible, and funny, and deep the form can be…”

“…we all happen to come to this medium because we love theatre, and mime is the most distilled version of theatre, in our opinion. It lets us get at the heart of the work the most efficiently and effectively…”

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Nick Abeel, Kelsey Didion, Kyle Schaefer, and Kristin McCarthy Parker of “Hold On To Your Butts”

Hold On To Your Butts at The PITImitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

But in the case of Hold On To Your Butts, this isn’t straight imitation—while yes, it is a shot-for-shot live remake of elementary-school-you’s favorite movie (at least, elementary-school-me), it’s a madcap comic theatrical homage full of creativity, nostalgia (in the best of ways), and excitement. The team of director Kristin McCarthy Parker, actors Nick Abeel and Kyle Schaefer, and sound/foley artist Kelsey Didion, have recreated the sense of wonder and just plain FUN that you had when you first saw Jurassic Park back in 1994.

They’re sharing that magic with you at The PIT for just three more performances from when I post this, so don’t delay. It’s the kind of show that, if you don’t catch it, all your friends who did are going to be admonishing you for years to come, saying, “aw, man, I can’t believe you didn’t see that!” So take this podcast’s name to heart, and go see this show.

At the very least, listen in to this episode as Nick, Kyle, Kelsey, and Kristin discuss inspiration over beers, why Jurassic Park is the best movie of all time, and when the idea is just stupid enough that everyone in the room gives it a “YES.”

“…we found out that our happy place in terms of performance is where we’re doing something really stupid, but we’re really committed to it…really dumb, but really committed…”

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Kristin McCarthy Parker, director of “kumrads won’t”

"kumrads won't," part of the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival, directed by Kristin McCarthy ParkerOn this episode, the fabulous director Kristin McCarthy Parker returns to the podcast — and this time, I’m posting our interview in time for you to hear it and then see her show (unlike when I covered her show Bears).

Kristen, along with producer Nick Abeel, playwright Christina Michelle Watkins, & other committed artists, knew they wanted to see kumrads won’t in a real production — so they decided to produce it themselves, submitting it to the New York International Fringe Festival. Self-producing is something I’m all in favor of, but I also know it’s a daunting proposition. So of course one of my biggest questions for the interview were, “why would you do this to yourself?” And in a festival, nonetheless!

Must be a really special show to them. As you’ll hear in the interview, indeed it is.

Listen in as Kristin discusses how she came to fall in love with this play, the stuggles of being vulnerable, and what it means to be successful within your means.

“I found it really intriguing, and funny, and heartbreaking, and sad, but also just a really poignant look at a relationship between two people who are very different, and who we don’t normally envision having any sort of connection, but who are struggling to connect with each other nonetheless.”

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Kristin McCarthy Parker, director of “Bears”

Sans A Productions' "Bears" Most of us theatre nerds are familiar with The Bard’s famous stage direction of “Exit, pursued by a bear.”

Mark Rigney’s new play presented by Sans A Productions at 59E59 might be the first where all the exits are actually done by bears.

In the appropriately-titled Bears, three of the titular creatures — two accustomed to life in captivity, and a third just recently brought in from the wild — negotiate a post-human-apocalyptic world where there are no more meals brought by a zookeeper. When wild Susie Bear coaxes young Timmy Bear and the intellectual Growl Bear from their cage into the wild, relationships are tested as they all figure out what it really means to be a bear.

Director Kristin McCarthy Parker sat down for a chat on the mic to talk about this imaginative, striking play; listen in as she discusses the id vs. the superego, how to pick things up like a bear, and leaving behind a legacy after the apocalypse.

“We have this route, and that route, and I’m somewhere in between, and I think that’s an o.k. thing, but I don’t really know where I’m going to end up…which is great…”

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