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that I've been dying to get on the show in the form of Amanda Herman (watch out, that link might be a little out of date, but she will respond, I promise!)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.

Lauren Hines!

Holy crap, it's been a while. I'm working on that, but, in the mean time we've got Lauren Juanita Hines, the freshly minted managing director of Adventure Theatre MTC. Lauren and I actually have mutual friends, and it took the genius of one of those friends to make this connection. I have really cool friends. Basically, Lauren is amazing. It was my first chance to talk to someone in the office (and a managing director, no less!) and it was everything I hoped it could be. We recorded the show on the set of James and the Giant Peach, which is lovingly detailed, really excellent work. Lauren and I talked a lot about the business side of theater and we got to talk a bit about opera (if you want more opera talk, don't forget about great friend of the show, Ryan Connelly!). Lauren is working hard at enabling the many excellent things that Adventure Theatre MTC is doing, things like presenting an autism-friendly version of James and the Giant Peach (which everyone loves), along with an ASL-interpreted show. They also have an academy, so you can do more than just watch their awesome shows. Check them out. They produce shows in Glen Echo Park, a really interesting little place in Georgetown. Watch out, though. Google Maps doesn't quite realize that the parking lot and the park are separate things (look for Oxford Rd). Now that you've been warned, you should check them out. I had a blast recording this one, and I hope that you enjoy this fantastic conversation.

One small note: there was a big ole fan going on-stage and I had to attempt some audio kung-fu to make this episode sound it's best. I think I mostly succeeded, but if it sounds a bit processed to y'all, you're not crazy. 

Andy Vance!

So, I know that this podcast is dedicated to the Washington DC/Baltimore megaplex, but I spent a good amount of time outside of that megaplex recently and I was making some theatre to boot. So my point is, I recorded a podcast with someone who works in the Houston area (because that's where I was). I think you'll forgive me because Andy Vance, the lighting supervisor at the newly renovated Alley Theatre is awesome. We had a fantastic conversation about his career, about what it's like to come back to place that is kinda the same, but also quite different, and quite a few ultra nerdy lighting things. I tried to keep that to a minimum. So when we talk about unit numbers on hanging positions, don't let your mind drift too far, we get back on track pretty quickly.

I had the pleasure of programming and installing the projection set up for the Alley Theatre's co-production (along with Dallas Theatre Center) of All The Way, a fantastic play that won some hardware. It's really perfect to see that play go up in Texas. But it will also be awesome to see that show in April when previews begin for Arena Stage's production of it (which I am only vaguely affiliated with, in that I will hang and point some lights). But it's going to be good, I'm guessing. Maybe I'll rope some critic or dramaturg or actor in to talk about All the Way, come April. 

Who knows about the future, right now, all I can do is present to you, the wonderful Andy Vance.

Shayla Roland!

Hey! The show goes on! For reals! I am bummed that the pace of the shows has slowed waaaay down but, we’ve got a good one for you this month: it’s Shayla Roland! Shayla is the Special Programming Manager at Ford’s Theatre and we spent a lot of time talking about what exactly that means (hint: lots) and a few things she's done, including Ford's events commemorating the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, NBD. We also spent some time talking about the cool things that Cultural DC does, including and especially the Source Festival, a fantastic development playground for new plays and making new artistic connections. Shayla is now an assistant producer with the festival, so check that out. Also, if you are at all interested in getting thrown into the whirlwind world of Source Festival, there are many opportunities to get involved. And don't forget about Ford’s Theatre’s production of The Glass Menagerie, which starts previews on January 22nd. 

The next time I check in with y'all, it'll be from Houston freaking Texas, which is kind of wild. 

PS Ford's partnered with Google Cultural Institute on a cool thing

Pinky Swear!

Welp, the run of play finally went against me and this bi-weekly podcast took a whole month to come up with a new episode. But in the very act of promising to do more episodes on Twitter, I caught the attention of one of my favorite theatre companies in the area: Pinky Swear Productions (also to be found on the New Play Exchange) who have been producing excellent work since 2009, including Freakshow, Be Here Now, Bondage, Tiny House Plays, The Last Burlesque as well as Cabaret XXX and it's descendants, including an upcoming Christmas special (TICKETS!)

As it turned out, co-artistic director Karen Lange (the other is Allyson Harkey) and I had some spare time the day before Thanksgiving (i.e. the day you bake all the pies) and we put it to good use. We talked about what its like to realize that you can produce the theatre you wish you could see, how great it is to connect with audiences and collaborators, Marx's conception of alienation and what that might mean in a digital age (#GermanNerd), selfies and the importance of being seen (thanks Rachel Syme!), and making waffles out of stuffing (just briefly). It was fantastic.

One particular idea that we discussed was figuring out a way to establish a co-op theatre space that could accommodate multiple theatre companies and never went dark. Think about how great it would be to work with a cadre of reliable technicians in a well-maintained space that you had an stake in, but didn't have to worry about managing yourself. If you think that's a good idea, let's talk (erin@dcpcreativellc.com or @ExitStageDoor).


Usually, the podcast is a chance to catch up with interesting people and learn about their stories. This time up, we are catching up with interesting people on a production! #NotAReview. Salomé adapted from Oscar Wilde's play by Yael Farber and directed by Farber as well, is playing from now through November 8 at the Shakespeare Theatre Company's Lansburgh Theatre. It's a rich show with lots and lots to talk about and when I set the call out on Twitter, I managed to get two fascinating people into STC's conference room (thanks Michael Kahn!) to talk about the show. I was joined by Hannah Hessel-Ratner, STC's Audience Enrichment Manager, freelance dramaturg, and artistic enabler and by Rob Montenegro, writer, playwright, dramaturg and house manager at STC. It was a blast to record this one, to really dig into a fascinating production. I hope I get to do more of these deep dives as the show goes on (recommendations welcome!).

High on Film!

I hope that you have been listening to High on Film. They have been great friends of the show and they host such a fun discussion on a more or less random movie each week (they choose guests and those guests choose movies, which might as well be random). They have been huge supporters of Exit the Stage Door for a long time now, please, give them a listen.

I spent some time in LA and we got a chance to exchange episodes. I made them watch The Five Obstructions (from Lars von Trier) and they were kind enough to let me stick microphones in their face and talk about theatre and movies and stuff. It was awesome, so please give High on Film a chance and if nothing else, you can enjoy this week's episode!

Celia Wren!

Ok, you got me. I'm not into this whole season 2 rhythm yet. This is late. But, better late than . . . Never mind. It's much more important to celebrate this guest on the podcast: Celia Wren! Celia is a theatre critic freelancing in the Washington D.C. area. Her byline appears in a couple local newspapers, a little rag called the Washington Post, which you may have heard of, for example, and in various publications in Richmond, VA. She was a managing editor for American Theatre magazine as well for many years. It was an absolute delight to talk about a very different part of the theatre experience, one that is more on the reception end of theatre than the production end. But critics are close to dramaturgs in my heart and I hope to have a few more on the show as we go along. 

A quick note, Celia's column with the Washington Post, the Diaspora column was recently discontinued, which is a bummer, but she remains a regular reviewer and contributor (talking about Synetic's latest, for example), you can find her recent articles here.