Listen in as The Dirty Blondes, Elizabeth Sarkady and Ashley J. Jacobson (whom you’ll remember from past podcasts on The Miracle Play and The Tunnel Play), along with the full cast—Faith Sandberg, Jenna D’Angelo, and Brandon Ferraro—discuss the company’s new play How to Be Safe, finding relevance in the present moment, the “low hum of anxiety,” the draw of terrible true crime shows, the incredible experience of having a theatrical home-base, being a sponge (then wringing yourself out), and finding safety & solace in the theater.
“…the election happened, and that made me question what I was going to be putting out into the world. It needed to be relevant, it needed to speak to something. And so I figured, ‘let me just create the most honest, emotional show that I could, because that felt like my own personal safety, and that felt like my own personal contribution, to talk about how afraid I feel, and how afraid I think other people feel…”
Listen in as playwright James L. Menzies and director Richard C. Aven of Go Get the Axe, along with co-producer/actor Christopher Halladay, discuss the process that brought two short Shotz pieces by Jamie into the full-length FIG Productions is currently presenting, fever-dreams from a bathroom floor, the benefits of a desk day-job, collaborator love, killing your darlings, and how to give good pod.
“…people have been so imaginative, and so creative, and everybody’s had input. And that makes me really really proud, because it’s been phenomenal, the individual pride and energy that’s gone into this…and I get to sit and watch it, and people make me look good.”
Listen in as the directors/writers of PLUTO (no longer a play), Jeremy Pickard and Lanxing Fu, discuss allegory, mass extinction, the definition of “eco-theatre,” community outreach, the benefits of imposed limitations, and how to work with the fact that “it’s a different world now.”
“…it is devastating, in a kind of strange, like, ‘oh, I lost something that I took for granted, that I really thought was there, and it’s kind of a simple thing that I didn’t really think about, but it matters somehow’…”
Listen in as playwright James Scruggs, creator of the sprawling, detailed, provocative, disturbing, and vital show 3/Fifths, discusses where the idea for SupremacyLand came from, why it took a space like 3LD to make it work, the magic and opportunity of having an artistic director asking you to “dream bigger,” what happens when you invite audiences to participate in a carnival of atrocities, the incredible bravery of the actors in this piece (and how they take care of themselves performing such heavy material), and why we have to talk about this terrible history so it never happens again.
“…it’s still happening, there are these loops. So what I’m really interested in doing is talking about it, showing it, in visceral detail, with the hope of ending the loops…”
Listen in as The Conspiracists playwrights/director Max Baker, along with members of the cast Ricki Lynée, Ian Poake, Alice Johnson, Lisa Jill Anderson, and Arthur Kriklivy, discuss getting inspiration from conspiracy theories, storytelling as a way to relate, eerily-accurate Catholic Church basement settings, “The Mandela Effect,” parallel universes, out-crazy-ing crazy, and how we relate.
“‘We use conspiracies to hide behind reality…'”
“…or just to make sense of reality…”
“We tend, as humans, to look for patterns…”
Listen in as playwright Daniel John Kelley and director Christopher Diercksen of That True Phoenix discuss opera nerdiness, self-mythologizing, producing (and living) with limited resources, repeatedly turning down your future collaborator (then, working in the same office with your collaborator), cutting down your 290-page autobiographical play, “why we do any of this,” taking the time to do it right, and the most interesting man you’ve (probably) never heard of: Lorenzo Da Ponte.
“…they were like, ‘Daniel, you’ve written crazy plays before; I trust that you will write a crazy play again, let’s do this play.’ And I was like, ‘ok, sure, 10 years of this idea, maybe it’ll do…’ But they were 100% committed, even if I didn’t believe it, from the beginning, to say, ‘we trust you, we’re going to build this play…we’re going to figure out why we do this as we go along’…”
Listen in as Athena Theatre Artistic Director (and actor in the show) Veronique Ory, along with Sub-Basement writer Tom Block and director Hunter Bird, discuss eschewing the Mad Men path, writing to a company’s mission statement, the importance of absurdity in the theatre at the present moment, where to find the best poutine in the city, and the “absurdist odyssey to find your life’s purpose.”
“The entry point was really wanting to address the homeless in our city, and to find a way…[to] address it in a way that wasn’t stereotypical…in other cultures, this idea of how homeless people are thought to be mystics, they’ve come to an enlightened point in their life…that if they can have peace and clarity in their mind, then that’s all that they need. And part of representing them in this way is hopefully taking a small step to giving face and voice to our homeless population…”
Listen in as Kyle playwright Hollis James and director Emily Owens—who are, combined, the newly-formed Hot Tramp Productions—along with actor Nat Cassidy discuss how a play can sneak up on you, overcoming the little demon inside of yourself, how to pronounce “publicist,” getting coaxed into the director’s chair, playing your playwright in his play (while he’s acting opposite you), and why you shouldn’t get a “Nat-Cassidy-type”—you should get Nat Cassidy.
“…I didn’t set out to write this story. I just sat down to try and write something, my writing partner and I…we were in a holding pattern, and we were sick of pitching, and going through all the rigamarole. So I just sat down to try to write something just for me, and I wrote this scene…and then I realized, ‘that’s me, back then…'”
Listen in as Lunchtime writer/director Greg Kotis and Zamboni Godot writer/director Ayun Halliday discuss what it’s like to direct your own writing, physical transformations, adventures in parenting, “director” as “general contractor,” casting drinking buddies, getting outside your comfort zone, and what it’s like making theatre when you have—and then later, with—a family.
“To me, the ideal artist life is that you can do something like this, this residency, where you do whatever you want…just for fun, it’s why we came to it in the first place…Of course you want to have those projects and those opportunities that make money, and that can reach broader audiences, and that can have a life beyond. To have a variety, a diversity of work that you do, in a diversity of spaces, is really the ideal, I think…”
Listen in as Nibbler playwright Ken Urban, director Benjamin Kamine, Artistic Director of The Amoralists (and actor in the show) James Kautz, and fellow actor Sean Patrick Monahan discuss expanding your one-act, vulnerability, meeting the challenges of a show, looking for hope in dark times, getting “nauseatingly close” with your collaborators, songwriting for your script, just how autobiographical this dark comedy gets, and “pulling it off.”
“…I’m going to paraphrase you, but I think it was something like, ‘can’t they just sit there and sing?'”
“I think that is what I said, ‘Can’t they just be still?’…”