Listen in as Alexandria playwright Vince Gatton, along with director Jordana Williams and set/lighting designer Tyler M. Perry, discuss grabbing the audience with words, curating our modern campfire stories, how to keep your play’s young character off his phone, “eavesdropping on the internal arguments happening in Christian America,” the struggle between the analog and the digital, trying to give gifts of love between characters, and hooking audiences with the immediacy of indie theatre.
“…I feel like this play asks a really timely question, in a very compassionate, sensitive way […]. At a certain point what you’re tolerating is sort of what you’re permitting, and where do you draw the line and what’s ok and what stand should you take, and when should you shut somebody down? And I don’t know the answer, and it’s something that I struggle with, and I love how honestly the play grapples with that…”
Listen in as playwright Daniel McCoy, and the directors of his plays Perfect Teeth, David Hilder, and Dick Pix, Heidi Handelsman, discuss running in rep two shows that are completely stylistically different, why these plays are right for the current moment, longtime collaborations, “gender spaghetti,” love for your design team, working in oddly perfect spaces, and solving issues with your creative collaborators.
“…there’s just a lot that isn’t talked about as readily or as publicly as it should be, and so that’s one of the things that I hope the play sort of cracks open a little bit…”
Listen in as performers Bonita Jackson and Samantha Clark, along with director Alex Randrup, of Corey and Vanessa Present an All-Female Educational Touring Production of Of Mice and Men, discuss how they devised the show (“putting wonderful, badass, creative ladies in a room together”), making your collaborators laugh, getting out of the way or your collaborative process, and “power, performance, learning to trust your scene partner, and learning to trust yourself.”
“…is there a way that we could dig into the fields of feminism, and womanhood, and humanity today, and the things that we know best—which is creating a production—and dealing with it. Could we dig up some kind of tool, or weapon, that an audience member could take out with them to smash the patriarchy, or to fix the democracy, or to do something really active…”
Listen in as Cannibal Galaxy: a love story playwright Charise Greene, along with the duo behind the producing company Between Two Boroughs—the show’s director, Jenn Haltman, and Becca Schneider, who plays “Claire”—discuss impossibility in the theater, finding communal experiences in the wake of trauma, “the relationship between violence, science, and spirituality in our country,” embracing the structural elements of a space, galactic cannibalism, magical realism, irrevocable change, and where creativity and violence collide.
“…I always ask the question, ‘why does this have to be a play?’…for me, impossible plays are an opportunity to welcome collaboration…Becca’s ‘Claire’ coughing up peach pits, or ash, is going to be very different than another actress, and I want Becca’s version of that, and Jenn’s version of the larger picture…to me, it’s a leap of exciting theatricality that is the reason why I go to the theater.”
Listen in as Mark Plesent, Producing Artistic Director of Working Theater, and Adam Kraar, the playwright of Alternating Currents, the company’s new show in their “Five Boroughs/One City Initiative,” discuss inspiration from the unique place of Electchester, Queens, discovering your main characters, putting an audience’s own story onstage, “wonderment,” advice for new indie theatre artists, and what it takes to live in a community.
“…what quickly gripped me…was the multiplicity of voices that seemed to contradict each other, about everything from the politics of the street fair, to how nice it is to live here, to what race relationships are like. And everybody was very heartfelt and sincere, but there were a lot of contradictions, some disturbing things, some really inspiring things. So the initial impulse for the piece was really to write a play for a multiplicity of voices…”
Listen in as Wind-Up Variations creator/writer/director Rob Neill, along with performer Ayun Halliday, Eevin Hartsough, and Daniel Mirsky, discuss the Neo-Futurist aesthetic, following a monkey across a waste-land, dialogue-mining, finding your mechanical avatar, inviting the audience, and having a plan through the chaos of live performance.
“…that’s an opportunity, and not everybody will take it. And that’s part of the magic; ‘let’s see what happens next…'”
Listen in as collaborators on The Assembly’sSEAGULLMACHINE—conceiver/co-director Nick Benacerraf, co-director Jess Chayes, dramaturg Steven Aubrey, and performer Jax Jackson—discuss layering multiple theatrical sources, permission to find points of resonance, turning on a dime, the company’s development process, finding new roles through that process, bringing an audience into a world “oozing word-slime,” different versions of ourselves, and the question of whether or not theatre can produce change.
“…every night, by a certain time in the play, it feels like we’re also just people, human beings in a room with our audience. And that has been one of the most special experiences of it, to me…”
Listen in as Retro Productions Producing Artistic Director (and “Joan” in the show) Heather E. Cunningham, along with fellow performers Chad Anthony Miller & Ben Schnickel and playwright Gina Femia of We Are a Masterpiece, discuss multiple lenses, levity in the midst of suffering, what makes a play “aggressively contemporary” (and where that fits into the “retro” of Retro Productions), “the cyclical nature of prejudice,” healing through art, universality through specificity, what we’re capable of, and making the choice of love.
“…there’s always hope. Hope is always the way through tragedy, and despair. Yes, this is a very sad story, and yes, you will cry, and we cry. But there are beautiful things that happen when people, in the face of adversity, step up to the plate and do what’s best for their fellow human beings…”
Listen in as Echo creator & sound sculptor Ran Xia, along with director Nicholas Orvis and performers Andrea Lopez & Max Henry, discuss inspiration from books about harmonicas, moving from sound collage to stage play, improvising to audio, physicality with constantly changing things, handling nakedly honest material, timelessness vs. time specificity, and the importance of simply listening.
“…when I was editing them, it’s like, I could cry, like every second, every other track, because everybody was just so open, and very real. You get real very fast…”
Listen in as playwright/performer Manning Jordan, director Alice Cash, and performers Ashley Underwood & Ellie MacPherson of Dooley, performed as part of FRIGID 2018, discuss inspiration from disturbing 1960s board games, plunging psychological depths, collaboratively re-writing, re-naming in the interest of financial considerations, “sneaking around outside of classrooms” to meet your new collaborators, the benefits of inconsistent performance times, and sharing your most vulnerable self onstage.
“…my friends wouldn’t play it, they said ‘it’s all too heavy, we don’t want to get into it.’ So then I went home, and I wrote the play as if we had played it…”