Chris Harcum & Aimee Todoroff of “Martin Denton, Martin Denton”

Elephant Run District and FRIGID at Horse Trade present MARTIN DENTON, MARTIN DENTON, written by Chris Harcum, directed by Aimee TodoroffListen in as the Elephant Run District team of Chris Harcum, playwright & performer, and Aimee Todoroff, director, of the company’s new show Martin Denton, Martin Denton, discuss finding safety and meaning in a community, “love,” the validity of our work, the ways in which our productions can live forever, how and why we do this thing called “indie theatre,” and more about this love letter to the scene.

“…what we’re doing is creating life, and then giving life back. And for me, one of the people who was there, and kind of charted what I was doing—and for whom I felt this very deep connection, and this person who, if he didn’t see my show, it felt like it did not happen—needed his story told.”

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Ashley J. Jacobson, Elizabeth Sarkady, Faith Sandberg, Jenna D’Angelo, & Brandon Ferraro of “How to Be Safe”

The Dirty Blondes present HOW TO BE SAFE, written by Ashley J. Jacobson, directed by Cezar WilliamsListen 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…”

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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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The Playwrights & Directors of “The Refugee Plays”

THE REFUGEE PLAYS in The Frigid Festival 2017Listen in as playwrights Charles Gershman (also the Artistic Director of the producing company, Snowy Owl), Callie KimballCarlos Castro, and Sean E. Cunningham, as well as directors Rachel Dart, Logan Reed, and Dan Dinero, discuss the influence of current events, tragedy in timeless stories, superficial logic, how the outside world seeps into the rehearsal room, ethical casting, how to unite a series of short plays, and what theatre is supposed to do in difficult times.

“…I don’t think any of us want to have to write plays about topics like these, but things are pretty bad right now, and so I think we all responded to the sort of global call to draw attention to an issue that we think is important right now…”

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Dan Bianchi and R. Patrick Alberty of RadioTheatre’s 8th Annual H. P. Lovecraft Festival

RadioTheatre presents The 8th Annual H. P. Lovecraft Festival at The Kraine TheaterThis is now the fourth time I’ve done a podcast about RadioTheatre‘s annual H. P. Lovecraft Festival (now in its 8th year!)—and as long as they keep doing Lovecraft, I’m going to keep going to see their shows.

Fans of radio drama and/or horror fiction will definitely find something to love, as creator/director Dan Bianchi dramatizes 8 different stories from Lovecraft’s deep catalogue of weird tales, enlisting the vocal talents of actors like R. Patrick Alberty to bring them to life for your ears, live, onstage.

Listen in as Dan and Patrick discuss the company’s adaptation process, how the festival has changed through 8 editions, what can happen when you exceed audience expectations, why we need horror tales, and how this is the kind of experience only RadioTheatre can bring you.

“…we’re asking the audience to participate, to use your imagination…back in the days of radio, everyone sat around the radio in the living room in the dark…and they had to use their imagination to provide the visuals. And here we are, going back to that, the simplest form of theatre there was, sitting around the campfire in the dark, telling stories…” Continue reading

Katie Palmer and Paul Bedard of “The Debates”

Theater in Asylum presents The DebatesTheater = Politics = Theater = Politics

If you’ve seen that equation on a t-shirt around the independent theatre world in NYC of late, then you’ve seen someone who’s worked on or seen Theater in Asylum‘s ever-changing The Debates.

It’s the perfect slogan for a project theatricalizing the Democratic Presidential Primary debates, with the intent to bring theatre people to the political process, and political people into the theater—and it sounds like the project is doing its intended work.

GSAS! sat down with the show’s director, Paul Bedard, and choreographer, Katie Palmer, to discuss how they trained their team, how to balance a scene, how to handle material that’s moving so quickly, why they’re focusing on only the Democratic Party, the actual differences between Hillary and Bernie (and how to present them fairly), and “who am I, who are you, who are we.”

I think one of the reasons people stay out is that it seems like such a big thing, that if, “I’m not in it already, it’s just too much to learn, and I don’t want to get involved.” And I think people stay away from theaters for the same reason…”I couldn’t possibly understand what’s happening in this theater”…and I think we’ve tried to take the fear and the elitism out of both of those avenues, saying that, “you can engage in both things, here’s some helpful tools…”

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RadioTheatre’s 6th Annual “H. P. Lovecraft Festival” — Part I

RadioTheatre presents the 6th Annual H. P. Lovecraft FestivalRadioTheatre was last on the podcast with their H. P. Lovecraft festival in 2012—and being a fan of the master’s fiction, the producer of GSAS! just had to get back to The Kraine to hear more of Dan Bianchi & Company’s adaptations of his classic stories.

After the first night of the festival, featuring The Moon Bog and The Shadow Over Innsmouth, I sat down with Bianchi again, as well as the three actors giving voice to the terror that evening—Frank Zilinyi, R.Patrick Alberty, and Joshua Nicholson.

Listen in as Dan, Frank, Patrick, Joshua & I discuss “Lovecraft” vs. “love craft” in the minds of unsuspecting patrons, performing at the new Lovecraft-themed bar (seriously, this is a thing), not looking at who you’re playing to, and how live radio drama differs from more “traditional” theatre.

…and yep, that “Part I” in the title means that there’ll be more aural cosmic horror discussed on the podcast soon!

“It’s more like a band, I always say…it’s kind of like doing sets in a band.”

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Ashley Jacobson, Elizabeth Sarkady, Ryan Guess, Dondrie Burnham, and Brett Epstein of “The Tunnel Play”

The Dirty Blondes present The Tunnel PlayWelcome back to The Dirty Blondes, playwright Ashley Jacobson and producer Elizabeth Sarkady, and to Mr. Brett Epstein (his third appearance on the podcast)! They’re joined by fellow actors Ryan Guess and Dondrie Burnham (both of whom I hope will also become repeat-guests here on the podcast) to talk about their new show, currently playing in The Fringe.

Around a moveable set of three trunks, The Tunnel Play follows a young woman who gave up her comfortable life to live in the tunnels, her older friend (and tunnel-life mentor) who landed in the tunnels through hardship, and a self-loathing yuppie copywriter, as their lives set on a collision course just ahead of a massive weather event to hit New York City. What do you do when faced with the possibility that everything could be washed away at any moment?

Listen in as Ashley, Ryan, Dondrie, Brett, and Elizabeth discuss that scary, difficult question, as well as having to answer to someone, taking inspiration from Superstorm Sandy, and the things we bottle up (until the lid blows off).

“…life is a storm, and storms affect everybody, and your actions also affect everybody…”

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Sean Patrick Monahan, James Presson, Charlie Polinger, and Tom Sanchez of “Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man!”

Less Than Rent presents Little Mac, Little Mac, You're the Very Man!It’s been a good few seasons for Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera, his adaptation of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera — Martha Clarke’s version is currently running at The Atlantic, Marvel Rep’s production of Feingold’s translation was up for a Drama Desk in 2012, Robert Wilson’s stylized take was at BAM not long ago…now, add to that a truly American adaptation — Less Than Rent’s Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man!

In LTR’s freewheeling musical, the infamous Macheath chases the American dream through time and space, encountering everyone from Richard Nixon & Ronald Reagan, to Joe DiMaggio and Michael Jordan, to Bugs Bunny & Jessica Rabbit. It’s as wild as you think it is, and a lot of fun.

Listen in as playwrights Sean Patrick Monahan and James Presson, director Charlie Polinger, and Mac himself, Tom Sanchez, discuss free-association & post-it notes to write your play, how to make it in America, and what happens when your American History book throws up all over The Beggar’s Opera.

“They were sort of taking the audience on a ride and then kicking them out of the car…and so we started trying to find a way that we could do that…”

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RJ Vaillancourt, Jenna Grossano, James Presson, and Patrick Dooley of “How Less Than Rent Stole Christmas!”

How Less Than Rent Stole Christmas!Less Than Rent was last on the podcast with a provocative take on a theatre company’s provocative take on Beckett’s Endgame (listen to it here).

Now, the company sets their sights on the holidays, with three distinct evenings of theatrical cheer. The podcast was there on night one, when RJ Vaillancourt hosted a Christmas variety show a la his hero, Bing Crosby (see the photo below), under the direction of Jenna Grossano.

Listen in as Jenna & RJ, along with LTR members (and the masterminds of the series) James Presson and Patrick Dooley, discuss reflecting reality back from the stage, how you find the glue to hold a variety show together, and why the company would do not one, but three different holiday shows over three weeks. Continue reading