On this podcast, award-winning Philadelphia-based playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger talks about her newest production, The Arsonists. This “play with music” marks the third and final installment of her Southern Gothic trilogy, after The Terrible Girls and Skin and Bone. A National New Play Network (NNPN) rolling world premiere, it will open first under the aegis of Azuka Theatre Company and then head to theaters around the country.
Goldfinger grew up in rural Florida and, captivated by the region’s literature and music, decided the Southern Gothic form was worefully underutilized onstage. The Arsonists, inspired by Sophocles’s tragedy Elektra, follows a father-daughter arson team who reside deep in Florida’s swamplands. A live band will play during the show and, on certain nights, give concerts afterward. Here, Goldfinger discusses how the play and its predecessors came to be, NNPN’s rolling premiere process, and much more.
This week, we grabbed our magnifying glasses and followed the clues to New Paradise Laboratories’ site-specific mystery Gumshoe, which takes place deep in the bowels and throughout the corridors of the Free Library of Philadelphia. Afterward, we went even further and tracked down the company’s innovative founder and artistic director, Whit MacLaughlin.
On the case
MacLaughlin, who arrived in Philadelphia after more than 20 years with the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, brought New Paradise Laboratories’ (NPL) founding ensemble here in 1996. Some of the company’s members have gone on to become this city’s most recognizable onstage faces (Lee Ann Etzold, Jeb Kreager, Matt Saunders, Mary McCool), and the company and its members have also seen much success in New York (NPL won an Obie Award for 2000’s The Fab 4 Reach the Pearly Gates) and elsewhere. NPL has created roughly one original work per year since its founding, and this year, they’ve paired with the Free Library and Rosenbach Museum to present Gumshoe. Listen in to learn the difference between fact, fiction, and falsehood, and — perhaps most importantly — how to escape a maze.
On this podcast, we catch up with InterAct Theatre Company artistic director Seth Rozin to talk about his first year at the Drake. While his company has only been performing there for the past a year, the conversations about moving there began in 2013. On the edge of completing a $2.97 million campaign, InterAct aims to create an inclusive space where all are welcome, including resident partners PlayPenn, Simpatico Theatre Project, Azuka Theatre, and Inis Nua Theatre.
Rozin founded InterAct in 1988, and this year marks his 27th season at its helm. The company, always committed to exploring social, political and cultural issues as well as championing new work, left its Adrienne Theater residency last year to build on its vision in a new setting. Rozin hopes the Drake will become a social and artistic hub for the region’s burgeoning “new play” community. The space includes a 120-seat proscenium theatre, a 75-seat black box, and two lobbies. Here, he discusses the reasons behind his company’s move, his plans for the future, and much more.