Greg Kotis and Ayun Halliday of “Lunchtime” & “Zamboni Godot”

Theater of the Apes presents LUNCHTIME, written and directed by Greg KotisTheater of the Apes presents ZAMBONI GODOT, written and directed by Ayun HallidayListen 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…”

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Ken Urban, Benjamin Kamine, James Kautz, and Sean Patrick Monahan of “Nibbler”

The Amoralists present NIBBLER, written by Ken Urban, directed by Benjamin KamineListen 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.”

No spoilers.

“…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?’…”

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Genny Yosco, Zachary Millard, and Chris Weigandt of “A Fifth Dimension”

Sour Grapes Productions presents A FIFTH DIMENSION, An Unauthorized Twilight Zone Parody, written by Genny Yosco, presented as part of FRIGID Festival 2017Listen 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…”

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Alley Scott, Jean Ann Douglass, and Lori Parquet of “The Providence of Neighboring Bodies”

Dutch Kills Theater Company presents THE PROVIDENCE OF NEIGHBORING BODIES by Jean Ann DouglassListen 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…”

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Skylar Fox & Simon Henriques of “Providence, RI”

Nightdrive presents PROVIDENCE, RI at The TankListen 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…”

“Yeah, we’re trying to do experimental theatre that’s FUN…” Continue reading

Kilusan Bautista of “Transcend”

Kilusan Bautista of TRANSCENDListen in as Kilusan Bautista, the creator & performer of Transcend, discusses his transplant status, why his show mixes media & how it’s a conversation, the benefits of social media, creating a democracy with post-show discussions, and making art out of struggle.

“…hey, we’re here, and if we can connect, then so be it…but if we can’t connect, at least we can have some respect, and still be a part of this community, and…y’know, get through, get through this life.”

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Matt Steiner and Stan Richardson of “Private Manning Goes to Washington”

The Representatives present Private Manning Goes to WashingtonInformation is power. But information often comes with a price tag.

What do you do if you believe at your core that information must be made available to all who seek it?

And how do you mitigate the possible effects of opening up information, when it has the potential to cause harm—perhaps to a loved one, perhaps to the state? Maybe, through your efforts at sunlight, you could make the world a better place, but at what cost?

And, just what can theatre do about all of this?

These questions, and more, are at the heart of The RepresentativesPrivate Manning Goes to Washington, a play that opens with internet and political activist Aaron Swartz and a childhood friend, and eventually explores a secret meeting between whistle-blower Chelsea Manning and President Barack Obama on the last day of Obama’s presidency…

Listen in as the collaborators who form The Representatives, Stan Richardson and Matt Steiner (both co-direct, Richardson wrote the script, and Steiner plays Swartz), discuss the radical intimacy of producing in apartments, imagining how one activist could try to help another activist while actively under investigation, the benefits of getting the artists and audience in closer proximity, throwing post-show parties, and why we don’t need more martyrs: we need everyone.

“We have a strong sense of occasion. It’s enormously meaningful for a group of people to get together and sit and watch something. An so often in traditional theatre, there’s obviously a separation between the artist and the audience that becomes almost hierarchical…”

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Winsome Brown and Sean Hagerty of “Hit the Body Alarm”

HIT THE BODY ALARM created and performed by Winsome BrownPerformer Winsome Brown weaves text from Paradise Lost with original monologues from herself and co-director Brad Rouse to create an original work “about fucking up,” as she puts it, with her wild and affecting solo show Hit the Body Alarm.

Scored with music by downtown legend John Zorn, plus original, live sound-design by Sean Hagerty, the performance moves from Heaven to Brooklyn to Los Angels to the Garden of Eden, distilling prime points of Milton’s epic into a kind of performance that can resonate with the world we’re in today.

Listen in as Winsome and Sean discuss their collaboration in creating as well as performing the show, feelings of loss, not hiding before (or during) your show, borrowing props from your daughter, designing for your space, and how to show the devil falling from heaven onstage.

“…it’s a show about people who’ve done dreadful things by their own acts…and on a grander scale…I kind of feel that it’s about our world, that we are on the verge of fucking up, fucking up very dreadfully…” Continue reading

Marina Tempelsman, Niccolo Aeed, & Temesgen Tocruray of “Room 4”

Marina and Nicco present ROOM 4 at The PIT, graphic by Chris KalbWaiting in the room for your audition can be brutal—it can start to feel like you’re living in Groundhog Day, seeing the same folks who play the same types that you do, waiting for the same similar roles, on the same similar kinds of projects, audition after audition, day after day…

Marina & Nicco‘s new show Room 4 takes that familiar actor struggle and makes it an actor hell, creating a No Exit kind of scenario where four actors realize that, indeed, the same audition call is starting to repeat itself. But, what starts as a brilliant concept for a fun, funny show becomes an incredible commentary on the state of the entertainment business (and, by extension, the United States) by adding in the fact that these are four black actors, all vying for the same stereotypical role in a standard crime procedural.

Biting, incisive, wonderfully-performed, and tears-streaming-down-your-face funny, Room 4 is a show that, as I say at the top of this interview, anyone listening to this podcast should go and see. You’ll have a blast in the room—and then you should have a great conversation at The PIT‘s bar afterward about what you’ve seen.

Listen in as the creators, Marina Tempelsman and Niccolo Aeed, and actor Temesgen Tocruray, discuss what stories you’re telling (and who you’re telling them for), writing for and with the actors in the ensemble, performing race in the theatre and for the people around you, using specificity to talk about universal issues, and how the arts can spark conversation and, eventually, change.

“I don’t know if we have a direct solution, I mean, other than ‘hire more black actors, directors, and writers.’ Give stage time to more diverse things, and don’t write necessarily for a white audience, write for your truth and honesty. But other than than, I think we wanted to really live in the moment, more than necessarily provide an answer…”
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Michael Paul Wirsch, Olivia Hartle, and Sarah Misch of “The Curse of the Babywoman!”

BIG Theatre presents The Curse of the Babywoman! as part of Fringe NYC 2016If you head out to see anything at the 2016 FringeNYC Festival, you’re likely going to run into a ton of crazy, catchy titles for the shows being offered. One that caught my eye was The Curse of the Babywoman! because of my penchant for horror—and this promised to be a fun, campy, theatrical romp.

And it kept its promise.

Michael Paul Wirsh‘s script is zany enough to keep you laughing, while layered in allegory that keeps your mind engaged saying, “wait, what?” And when you leave the theater and start to unravel the wild tapestry painted for you by director Olivia Hartle and the delightful cast, including the fabulous Sarah Misch as Philomena, you begin to develop a real appreciation for the levels in this show.

Listen in as Mike, Olivia, and Sarah discuss finding humor and leaning into your rehearsal mistakes, denying the obvious, embracing simplicity, mob mentality, how to put baby horses onstage, and finding social relevance in a play about a giant baby.

“If you’re going to convince people to change their minds and their hearts, you have to do it subversively, and that’s ultimately what I hope this does. And if not, it’s a good time, so that’s important, too.”

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