Listen in as longtime Bread & Puppet Theater collaborator John Bell discusses the history and activism of the company, bringing together collaborators from disparate locations, an “accessible and unpretentious” style of theater,” the use and meaning of different kinds of chairs, survival & mutual support, and the magical precarity of live performance.
“…it’s a different type of theater work than what I think of as ‘straight theater’…it’s different, it’s looking around and making due with what’s there…creating from your own experience, using what you’ve got, not being hampered or set back by the challenges, but just sort of making it happen with whatever you have with you…”
Listen in as producer/actor Sean Williams, director Jordana Williams, and playwright/actor Mac Rogers of Gideon Media/Gideon Productions discuss how they connected with legendary playwright Wallace Shawn to bring two of his stage plays to the radio drama realm, the outgrowth of Gideon Media from Gideon Productions, adapting Mac’s indie plays for audio podcasts, using short-hand with your long-time collaborators, getting through (and out of) the pandemic, how to get that “indie theatre” feel on the mic, the benefits of creating in a new medium, and why, come what may, we’ll all be back in those tiny dark spaces telling stories together, soon.
“…at any second, the whole thing might fall apart, and at any second, something magical might happen…”
Listen in as Genny Yosco, the writer & director of (and an actor in!) im ur hamlet., discusses writing through food poisoning, creating for the Zoom medium, knowing who it is your parodying, creating a Shakespeare festival from afar, making community during a pandemic, and what happens when everyone wants to be the star.
“One of the things about this cast is…they all love each other, and I love all of them, so even though we were all playing at odds with each other, there still was this overlying, person-to-person silent communication that we all did really enjoy each other, which was perfect…”
Listen in as the performers of Lizzie Vieh’s new play Monsoon Season, Richard Thieriot & Therese Plaehn, discuss the development of this play from a 7-minute one-night-only solo piece to a set of solos, making something horrifying but also incredibly funny, how your performance changes when a play’s world expands, the benefit of working with smart, generous, welcoming people, and what can can happen when the seed of a piece is tossed into fertile ground.
“…so it’s dark, and the emotional terrain is dark, but there’s also, hopefully, occasionally, laughs […]”
“…I remember being disturbed…and sure enough, it’s funny as hell…”
Listen in as “Strangers in the Night” contributing playwrights Patricia Lynn (writer of Screwed, portrayer of “Molly”, director of Frank) & Philip Estrera (writer of the Frank monologues, who also performs “Stranger” in Bottling Dreams of the Tearful Don’t-Knower), along with fellow Bottling… actor Natalie Hegg (“Other Half”), discuss creating a complete theatrical experience out of one act plays, sketches in rehearsal, provocative nocturnal stories, doing that one thing well, collaboration, different extremes of theatricality, & the intimacy that can develop between total strangers.
“…one little thing would totally change the way the scene would go…a creative, supportive battleground…”
Listen in as The Sea The Mountains The Forest The City The Plain playwright Matthew Freeman, along with director David Cote & performer Robert Honeywell, discuss how to discover your character, propulsive changes & musicality, abstract simplicity, friendship and aging, moving through the words, finding your collaborators, embracing your influences, and moving on to the next thing on your journey.
“…change is a constant, and change can come with a sense of loss…you hit this sort of middle part of your life, and you look around, and you miss the things that came before, even if you love the life that you have. So I think that feeling is inspiring the piece a little bit…”
Listen in as the director/creator of Thoughts & Prayers, Lauren Hlubny, along with composer/”Felix” Thomas Giles, discuss the meaning of “dance-theatre concerto,” encouraging presence, developing a process to combine artistic disciplines, starting conversations, and not only reacting but taking action.
“…I think it’s very easy to become numb to it, and not know how to take action…creating this piece came, for me, as a point of wanting to do something, or at least wanting to be involved with other people, and start conversations…”
Listen in as actors David Barlow & Danielle Skraastad of PTP/NYC‘s production of Havel: The Passion of Thought—three short plays from Vaclav Havel, bookended by Harold Pinter’s The New World Order and Samuel Beckett’s Catastrophe—discuss why these plays work so well in conversation, the difference between performing them together in 1991 vs. in 2019, “On Tyranny,” the power of making theatre, “the politics of kindness,” and the importance of living the truth.
“…they felt so current, and felt so hopeful, in a galvanizing way…that art matters. Words matter. What do you want to do?…”
Listen in as the creators & performers of Crushing Baby Animals, Maria Swisher & Tana Sirois, discuss amazing synchronicity, combining genres in a multi-dimensional world, structured improv, cross-pollination among artists, “stylistic dis-integrity,” making space for the chaos and the wonder, how to build intense trust with your artistic collaborators, how to stick through the difficult stuff, and how “our sense of self is shaped by the people around us.”
“…stay with the trouble…something that we have learned is even when things feel very uncomfortable, or when you find yourself having to ask something that’s difficult of your partner […] and consistently make the decision to stick with it, and to experience what feels troubling and complicated, and know that you have a shared goal of moving past it […] and let that influence your work, and accept each other for that…”
Listen in as the cast of Friendly’s Fire—Matthew Weitz, Adeyinka Adebola, Desiree Pinol, Kyle Porter, Johnny Blaze Leavitt, & Ita Korenzecher—along with Artistic Director Akia Squitieri (with a quick note from Production Stage Manager Callie Stribling) discuss non-toxic male friendships, the sad timelessness of plays about trauma from war, the difference between cheerleading into war vs. receiving the warriors back into society, and how we use stories to make myths and to heal.
“…the same way kids believe in ghosts, and Santa Claus…and then you’re taught years later that these things are pretend, and made up, and that you need to get a job. So you’re pulled away from storytelling…and the healing powers that it has for people…”