The Arsonists!

Ok, I did not actually sit down for a chat with any arsonists (not even the amazing actors who play the arsonists, Kimberly Gilbert and Tim Getman), but I did have a fantastic conversation with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company's Connectivity Director, Kristen Jackson, Civic Organizer Laurenellen McCann, and Literary Director Kirsten Bowen to talk about Woolly's incredibly trenchant production of Max Frisch's classic The Arsonists. One of the excellent things that we talk about is all the many events and conversations that Woolly is organizing around the show (including open rehearsals and design jams in the run up to technical rehearsals). There are post-show discussions after every show, not as talk backs, but as opportunities for audience members to talk to each other about what they thought. You can find all of these events at the Related Events page on Woolly's main show page for The Arsonists. Coming up next you can be talking Violence and Power with Collective Action for Safe Spaces Executive Director Jessica Raven on the 23rd of September and Complicity and Creating Dialogue with theatre practitioner Elena Velasco on the 30th of September, among others. The Arsonists is already in previews. It opens September 12 and runs through October 8, click here for performance dates.

It was truly excellent have this chat about a great production of play I love that absolutely speaks to our (all too interesting) times. I'm hoping to see you at some of these events, but if not, I hope you check out this production and fight on. #Resist

Naked Theatre!

When I was doing my research on this year's Capital Fringe, I stumbled across one theater company in particular that got my attention: Naked Theatre Company. I was absolutely fascinated by their desire to create a 21st century theatre company that understood the open source community and that wanted to bring people into the company, not just to see the shows, but to be a part of the devising process and to give them some stake in those shows. On top of that, they wanted to organize as an LLC rather than register as a non-profit, which comes with a whole host of expectations and obligations for a theatre company. I was fortunate enough that Rachael Murray, one of the co-founders and a co-director, had some energy left after her Fringe tech rehearsal for Clickb@it, a devised show featuring live, in-person, recreation of Internet memes, to chat about the company, the show, and what it's like to be on the cutting edge of dreaming up what theatre could be. 

I hope you enjoy our conversation and I hope you support Naked theatre by checking out Clickba@it: it premieres on July 11  at 7:00 PM in the Sprenger at the Atlas Performing Arts Center (ticket info). Check it out!

The Nasty Women!

Hello again! My gosh, it's a been awhile, since last Fringe in fact and what better way to end a hiatus than to dive back into the deep waters and strong current of the Capital Fringe Festival. 

First up, I talked to the creative team behind The Nasty Women of the Ecstatic Rainbow Mystical Retreat (get all your ticket info for CapFringe here), who were generous enough to let me borrow some of their rehearsal time to talk about the show, the female gaze, Capital Fringe, finding a place in our lives for theater, and a whole lot more. The Nasty Women is an adaptation of Euripides' Bacchae written by Lisa Alapick. It is directed by Shari Lewis, and produced by Catherine Aselford, of Guillotine Theatre (formerly The Georgetown Theatre Company) and stars Tony Greenberg as King Pentheus. The Nasty Women of the Ecstatic Rainbow Mystical Retreat premieres on July 11 at 5 PM in the Sprenger Theater at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.

I had a great time talking to this group. I think we all wanted to have a longer conversation but they had  that whole rehearsal thing, so I am happy to be able to bring what we got to y'all. Enjoy!

Poe, Times Two!

Twitter keeps being a source of wonder and surprise connections. Richard Byrne reached out to me after I sent the bat-signal for more Fringe producers and put me in touch with Greg Oliver Bodine, author and star of Poe, Times Two and we put together a podcast with Greg and DeLisa White, director and frequent collaborator, in between his rehearsal and the opening gala for the 2016 Capital Fringe Festival. My recording venue fell through, so we adjourned to Plan b for burgers and beer and a chance to talk about Poe, Times Two and the advantages of living with a show for a long time in a Fringe setting and directing philosophies. It's a packed 32 minutes (and it's at a bar, so the audio is a bit different, set your volume accordingly). Please check out Poe, Times Two, which opens on July 9th and check out an amazing event at Eat the Rich on July 13 from 5 - 7 PM (it would have been at Mockingbird Hill, because amontillado is sherry and that's what you drink at Mockingbird Hill, but they are doing some work on the place). You can find the Poe, Times Two schedule and get tickets here. Enjoy!

Helen Aberger!

Well, the delightfully small world of DC Theatre keeps on giving (as does the amazing Kate Robards, who you might have heard of, if not from me, then from this awesome review). One bat-signal goes out and several more answers are received and here we are, talking to Helen Aberger of Victorian Lyric Opera Company out of Rockville, who is directing a brand new opera called Do Not Disturb with VLOC's experimental company, Forgotten Opera Company. Helen was an absolute delight and I hope y'all see her show, which opens July 9th and you can find the rest of the dates (and tickets!) here. Please check the opera out, either before or after you check this out, whatever suits your fancy.

Kate Robards!

It's Fringe time in the Capital (not to be confused with the Capitol, which is looking mighty fine these days) and we are kicking it off right: with podcasting. First, we had The Real World: Kabul's Emily Liner and now we have Studio Theatre alum and world-class human being, Kate Robards! Her (second!) solo Fringe show is called Ain't That Rich and you can catch it starting on July 7th at the MLK Library on 9th and G (among other times, but always in that place). 

This one was really fun, and not just because Kate is fantastic person and charming AF, but also because it was recorded over the Interwebs instead of face to face! I'm new to that area of audio life and my audio sounds like an echo chamber (for, like, reasons), but Kate sounds fantastic, so don't let my inadequacies keep you from listening her talk about the DC theatre scene, what it meant to go through Studio Theatre's apprenticeship program, and the joys of self-producing.

The Real World: Kabul!

We are kicking off some Capital Fringe (buy your buttons!) coverage this week with not one but two chats with folks who are producing their own work, which is a celebration of what Fringe is all about: self-producing!

First up, the playwright and producer of The Real World: Kabul, who is inspired by the story of the lonely satellite channel in Kabul, Tolo TV, (that's the one in Afghanistan, if you are wondering) that dreamed up Afghan Star, among other delights. That playwright and producer is Emily Liner! And she is a pretty cool cat, as you would expect from a go-getting self-producing theatrical neophyte.  The Real World: Kabul has its premiere on July 7th at the Atlas Performing Arts Center's Lab II at 9:00 PM (once again the Capital Fringe folk have you covered). Check The Real World: Kabul out and check this out!

Faction of Fools!

It was a long and winding road to get here, but Kathryn Zoerb's (of the OP production of The Winter's Tale put on by Baltimore Shakespeare Factory - you may remember them) recommendation for a podcast finally came through (thanks Kathryn!). I sat down with Toby Mulford, Rachel Spicknall Mulford and Kaiylah Watts to take about commedia del arte (and how Italians say all the vowels), remembering how plays used to be performed and what that can bring to a show, translations, multi-lingualism, and access. Faction of Fools is a resident of Gallaudet University's Eastman Studio Theatre and a major component of their work is full access for the deaf and hearing impaired by creatively integrating American Sign Language into the fabric of the show itself, a topic that I hope to take up soon in a later podcast. In fact, a transcript of this show will be appearing in the near future, I will keep you updated.

In the mean time, catch up with Kathryn, Toby, Rachel, and Kaiylah as the PWYC preview of The Miser is on Thursday, June 2nd with the show up it's run on Friday, June 3rd. You can find the dates here, as well as many other things Faction of Fools and of course, you can buy tickets to The Miser here. Follow Faction of Fools on Twitter and Facebook (and follow Gwen Grastorf on Twitter as well, she's tons of fun). 

Amanda Herman!

I've been working my way around the theatre and I am proud to say that I've got another awesome front office conversation in the can! I've been casting my net further afield, going from people I know to people I've never met in my everloving life. I'm story working off of people that I have already interviewed and while digging into Pinky Swear's artistic associates (hi Karen!), I discovered a combination that I've been dying to get on the show in the form of Amanda Herman (watch out, that link might be a little out of date, but she will respond, I promise!) Amanda was recently a fellow with Shakespeare Theatre Company and she has since become the Marketing and Development Manager for NextStop Theatre Company waaay out in Herndon (like, Dulles' front door step). We got to talking about what NextStop Theatre is up to (and up to next), transitioning from community theatre to professional theatre, intern life, what non-profit boards do, and all kinds of great inside baseball on marketing and development. I had a blast. It was totally worth that trip through downtown DC at rush hour and Fairfax County's silly toll roads. Check out NextStop's next production, opening May 12, City of Angels (a jazzy noir film thing with a score by Cy freaking Coleman, one of Mel Tormé's good buddies). And ENJOY! 

Baltimore Shakespeare Factory!

I recently teamed up with DC Metro Theater Arts to start providing reviews (of movies even!). In fact, there's already one up on the site: a review of Baltimore Shakespeare Factory's production of The Winter's Tale. I know that I should probably talk more about the reviewing and the writing and stuff and I will, but what matters right now is that several members of the company of The Winter's Tale were gracious enough to get together with me and talk about Baltimore Shakespeare Factory and original pronunciation. A shortened version of this chat, the part that features an audio demonstration of what precisely that means, will show up over at DC Metro Theater Arts very soon. But for you, podcast listeners, you get the full experience. 

I sat down with Emily Sucher (assistant director), Brendan Edward Kennedy (Florizel), Terry O'Hara (Philoxenes), Chris Cotterman (Leontes, oh and BSF Associate Artistic Director), and Kathryn Zoerb (Mamillius/Perdita), a talented and fun group of people. They are also busy, busy people. Kathryn will be appearing in the upcoming Faction of Fools production of The Miser, featuring a brand new translation. That runs from June 2 to June 26. Brendan is in a stage reading of Arthur Schnitzler's The Green Cockatoo, part of WSC Avant Bard Scripts in Play Festival, this Thursday (April 14). Emily is in Arcturus Theater Company's production of August Strindberg's The Pelican, is reading Ophelia for "Gertrude, Queen of Denmark" on April 23rd at The Writer's Center, and she will be in Twelfth Night, which is, as Chris wants to remind everyone, is part of the remainder of BSF's 2016 season. That will also include the Julius Caesar that Chris is directing and the first BSF production of a Shakespeare contemporary, Thomas Dekker's The Shoemaker's Holiday. Whew. That's a lot of stuff. Enjoy that work, enjoy The Winter's Tale, which runs through April 24th, and now enjoy this.