Catrina McHugh, Cheryl Dixon, Laura Lindow, and Jessica Johnson of “Key Change”

Open Clasp Theatre Company presents Key Change, written by Catrina McHugh, directed by Laura LindowKey Change comes to New York’s 4th Street Theatre from Northern England, after a long and interesting journey. It was created by the Newcastle-based theatre company, Open Clasp, in a collaboration with women in Her Majesty’s Prison Low Newton.

It started as a theatre devising workshop with the prisoners, then, as a show developed, it toured to male prisons in the UK. The company then took Key Change to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this past summer, where it won the prestigious Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award. The prize: a fully-funded production of Key Change in New York City.

Listen in as writer Catrina McHugh, director Laura Lindow, and actors Cheryl Dixon and Jessica Johnson discuss collaboratively creating composite characters, touring their show to prisons, working with the restrictions of their performance venues, how an environment can intimidate, keeping connections open, and building trusting relationships.

“It just felt like those voices had been flown over the razor wire, and had escaped…”

(Producer’s note: as you listen to this episode, you’ll probably realize that the dulcet, sometimes-confused, yet pleasing and sonorous baritone voice that usually does the interviewing has been replaced by someone who sounds like she knows what she’s doing. That’s because she does, for while I’m away on an out-of-town gig, radio-host, writer, actor, and fellow podcaster Tara Gadomski is more-than-ably taking over interviewing duties. Big thanks to her for keeping GSAS! going while I’m out.) Continue reading

Jon Stancato & Kiran Rikhye of “Kill Me Like You Mean It”

Stolen Chair Theatre Company presents Kill Me Like You Mean It, written by Kiran Rikhye and directed by Jon StancatoTough detectives. Tougher dames. Double-crosses. Cigarettes. Shadows. Fedoras. All the hallmarks of film noir.

With their show Kill Me Like You Mean It, playwright Kiran Rikhye and director Jon Stancato (no strangers to the podcast—definitely check out their interviews from past Stolen Chair shows The Man Who Laughs and Potion) transfer all those classic film noir elements to the stage.

Then, they add in a healthy dose of theatre of the absurd.

What comes out is an absurdly fun & tightly executed piece of drama.

Listen in as Jon & Kiran discuss re-mounting (and revamping) a show from their past, audience placement as camera angles, abandoning tetralogies, having your actors create their own vocal musical score, and honing the rhythmic and sonic nature of your show.

“There’s something really unsettling about it…even though it is fun, and even though it is a comedy, it sort of is a deeply unnerving world…”

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Heather Cohn, Rachel Hip-Flores, and Brian Silliman of “Once Upon a Bride There Was a Forest”

Flux Theatre Ensemble presents Once Upon a Bride There Was a ForestRegular listeners to the podcast have probably noticed that, if Flux Theatre Ensemble is presenting a show, GSAS! is going to be there. Great people, great productions, and great conversation always ensues.

In this episode, about Flux’s new show Once Upon a Bride There Was a Forest, the conversation isn’t just about the work onstage; it takes a turn toward how the artists were able to get that work onstage.

See, the show’s director (and Flux Producing Director) Heather Cohn, and Flux Artistic Director August Schulenburg, are partners in life as well as in art—and they recently welcomed a daughter into the world, which is certainly a big (and wonderful!) change in their lives. It doesn’t, however, have to keep them from making theatre; in fact, it can inform the process in a lovely way, as it sounds like it did here.

Listen in as Heather, along with actors Rachel Hip-Flores and Brian Silliman, discuss balancing parenthood with your theatre career, how you get both a house and a forest onstage at the same time, and when you know the play is the right one.

 “…those are the only two things you ever, ever need to do: look at babies and learn the lines.”

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August Schulenburg, playwright, and Kelly O’Donnell, director, of “Honey Fist”

Flux Theatre Ensemble presents "Honey Fist"

I love seeing people I recognize onstage.

And though I’m not from Marble Head, outside of Boston (pronounced “Mahble Head, outside of Bahston”), playwright August Schulenburg has written some beautifully complex, and very familiar, characters in his funny, tragic, compelling new play, Honey Fist.

Listen in as Gus and director Kelly O’Donnell discuss where Gus’s “most autobiographical play” (that’s not autobiographical) came from, the late-night last-minute carving of bongs, and why Honey Fist is running in rep with Sans Merci (hear the Sans Merci podcast here — and, listen to Gus & Kelly’s first outing on the podcast, about Adam Szymkowicz’s play Hearts Like Fists, here).

“Wha, you think you’re bettah than me?”

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