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?’…”
Listen in as playwright, director, and performer Genny Yosco of A Fifth Dimension: An Unauthorized Twilight Zone Parody, along with fellow actors Zachary Millard and Chris Weigandt, discuss overacting the overacted, casting young actors, making your own opportunities, producing out of bitterness and hatred, and finding the horrifying contemporary relevance of your parody show.
“…it really took on a life of its own…each show that we do, we add our own lifeblood to it, it’s new every time…”
Listen in as Dutch Kills Theater Company Artistic Director Alley Scott, playwright Jean Ann Douglass, and actor Lori Parquet discuss The Providence of Neighboring Bodies, making work with your friends, inspiration from your hometown, how place informs character, different models for creating a production, and the magic & supportiveness of the indy theatre community.
“…the great thing about independent theatre is that the people who come to see independent theatre are very with you, and are willing to work with you…”
Listen in as the co-creators of Providence, RI,Skylar Fox (who directs) and Simon Henriques (who performs in the show) discuss their company Nightdrive‘s process, why they used Providence as their subject (and what it was like to explain the place to someone who’s never been there), misdirecting your audience, and where their piece fits in the world in January 2017.
“…we’re actually trying to do new things to communicate in uniquely effective ways with an audience…”