On today’s podcast, my travel producer, Woodsie and I continue our Edinburgh Festival Fringe experience with Sarah Knittel and the gas lighting fever dream that is Nightmare Fuel. We talk about the origins of this piece and its layers and the overall festival experience. Stay Tuned!
ABOUT NIGHTMARE FUEL
A brutal clown show that asks the tough questions like ”Where were you last night?” and ”How come you‘re being such a cunt?” NIGHTMARE FUEL will slide into your DMs and leave you quivering and anxious. NIGHTMARE FUEL will look right into your eyes and tell you you‘re fucking crazy!
On today’s podcast, I caught up with clarinetist, Kinan Azmeh, a Syrian transplant, lives in Brooklyn, NY whose talents grant the opportunity to work with the likes of Silk Road Ensemble and Yo-Yo Ma. Live Connections, her in Philadelphia, will play host to an intimate presentation with Kinan Azmeh and the Aizuri String Quartet On May 31st at World Cafe Live. We discuss Kinan’s artistic journey and a temporary derailment as he was caught up in the current administration’s travel ban. Stay Tuned!
ABOUT KINAN AZMEH
Hailed as a “Virtuoso” and “Intensely Soulful” by the New York Times and “Spellbinding” by the New Yorker, and “Incredibly Rich Sound” by the CBC. His utterly distinctive sound across different musical genres has gained him international recognition as clarinetist and composer. Kinan was recently named composer-in-residence with Classical Movements for the 2017-2018 season.
Kinan is a graduate of New York’s Juilliard school as a student of Charles Neidich, and of both the Damascus High institute of Music where he studied with Shukry Sahwki, Nicolay Viovanof and Anatoly Moratof, and Damascus University’s School of Electrical Engineering in his native Syria. Kinan earned his doctorate degree in music from the City University of New York in 2013.
“LiveConnections turns 10 years old in May, and this concert kicks off a full year of 10th Anniversary programming,” says Executive Director Melinda Steffy. “It’s the first of our ‘10 Collaborations for 10 Years’ — a series of innovative, community-based projects that engage in important social conversations through music.”
The collaboration draws on the artists’ inventive and thought-provoking approaches to music-making, featuring works by Armenian priest Komitas Vartaped, Russian composer Yevgeniy Sharlat, and a world premiere of a work by Kinan Azmeh.
In addition, students from LiveConnections’ “Immigrant Songs” after-school program will open the show with their original stories and songs. LiveConnections’ program engages refugee teenagers who have been in the U.S. for less than 3 years in story-telling and song-writing aimed at boosting English language skills and helping students build connections in their new community. The program takes place at Northeast High School in collaboration with HIAS Pennsylvania.
On today’s podcast, I visit Wilma Theater’s HotHouse Company to talk about the World Premiere of Christopher Chen’s “PASSAGE”. I am joined by Krista Apple, Lindsay Smiling and Sarah Gliko to talk about a production stripped down for simplicity with many layers of complexity that make for a mindful night of theatre. Stay Tuned!
A World Premiere by Christopher Chen
Directed by Blanka Zizka
Imagine you’re in an exotic new country — occupied by your nation. Now you are a distinguished doctor, but a cab will not stop for you. Now you’re in a cave so dark, so quiet, you lose track of who you are. Suddenly, there’s a sound and —
Welcome to Passage, a fantasia inspired by E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India that uses the theater’s primal evocative powers to examine the most essential questions of our time.
Written by Obie Award-winning playwright Christopher Chen, this World Premiere is a perfect vehicle for the Wilma HotHouse Company’s passion and transformative prowess.
On today’s podcast, we return to GoKash OnStage to talk about the production “V to X”, a remount in residence at Arden Theatre Company. In this piece, Kash takes a hard look at the U.S. Prison System as a business and show how the inmates lives and value are always up for debate. This piece touches on so many elements of a vicious cycle that makes prisoners more than it aims to rehabilitate. Stay Tuned!
ABOUT V to X
GoKash OnSTAGE in residence at the Arden returns in Spring with a sobering look at privatized incarceration, “V to X”. In this look at the U.S. justice system, writer/director Kash Goins draws inspiration from the tragic experience of N.Y. teen Kalief Browder, whose diminished mental state after three years of abusive Rikers Island incarceration without having ever gone to trial, drove him to suicide upon release in 2015.
Hailed by The Philadelphia Inquirer as “A work that erupts with tragic power and vicious humor.”, “V to X” debuted in October, 2015 and encored in February of the following year, proving to be one of the hottest theatre tickets in town.
The interactive drama that Goins has coined theatre in 3-D takes Arden’s brand new Bob and Selma Studio Theatre stage on 3/28/18 – 4/15/18.
On, February 3rd, EgoPo Classic Theater and Drexel University’s Department of Performing Arts in the Westphal College of Media Arts and Design played host to an insightful panel on the future of American playwriting. We are happy to make the recording of this panel available to you now. Enjoy. www.drexel.edu/westphal
ABOUT THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN PLAYWRITING
The symposium will feature John Guare (House of Blue Leaves, Six Degrees of Separation), who is currently working with EgoPo on his Lydie Breeze Trilogy. Guare will be joined by Philadelphia playwrights Jacqueline Goldfinger, Bruce Graham, and James Ijames.
Moderated by Wendy Rosenfield, Editor in chief of the Broad Street Review.
On today’s podcast, we chat with Mike Durkin, Artistic Director of The Renegade Company about the Philly Theatre Week offering, “Kensington Fragments: Selections from The Olde Man and The Delaware River. Almost two years in the making, we talk about gaining trust, finding support in same and the voices of a community on the mend. Stay Tuned!
ABOUT KENSINGTON FRAGMENTS
Conceived and Directed by Mike Durkin
Created by The Renegade Company and residents of Kensington
February 13, 16, and 17
Pop-Up performances in Kensington and in Center City
Tuesday, Feb 13th, 1pm – Rittenhouse Square
Tuesday, Feb 13th, 2pm – Across From City Hall (Love Park)
Friday, Feb 16th, 12pm – Rosa’s Pizza (25 S 11th Street)
Friday, Feb 16th, 1pm – Jefferson Station (11th Street and Filbert Street)
Friday, Feb 16th, 2pm – Blue Line Train (Starting at Jefferson Station, Going West to 69th Street Station)
Friday, Feb 16th, 3pm – 30th Street Station
Saturday, Feb 17th, 12pm – Emerald Street Bridge (Emerald Street/Lehigh Avenue)
Saturday, Feb 17th, 1pm – Steak N Beer (2769 Kensington Ave)
Saturday, Feb 17th, 2pm – McPherson Square (Kensington Ave and F Street)
Saturday, Feb 17th, 3pm – Allegheny El Stop (Allegheny Avenue/Kensington Avenue)
Free, Donations Accepted
In Ernest Hemingway’s famous novel, ‘The Old Man and the Sea,’ the titular figure (named Santiago) says, “my big fish must be somewhere.” Fisherman Santiago dedicates his life towards finding the fish that will change the tide of his life and career for the better. Santiago’s story is one of fighting the odds, of maintaining perseverance in the face of extreme obstacles. The Renegade Company will use Hemingway’s novel as a starting point to ask what is the “big fish” for the community? What are the greatest individual goals of community members? What is the larger goal of Kensington? How do we work towards achieving these goals while also understanding the obstacles in the way? The project is entitled The Olde Man and the Delaware River to reflect the rich neighborhood history and referencing neighborhoods like Olde Kensington, and Olde Richmond.
Renegade will be working with residents of the Riverwards communities (Port Richmond, Somerset, Harrowgate, and Kensington) to understand their stories and perspectives on issues of their neighborhoods, particularly with substance abuse and its effects on the community. Currently the neighborhood is represented by a narrative associated with opioid addiction, open-air drug trading, prostitution, and disrepair. We aim to go beyond this narrative by working with the community towards de-stigmatization of the neighborhood. Renegade will be presenting a series of performance interactions in Center City and Kensington exploring issues and stigma of Kensington and encouraging participation and dialogue with audience members. Performers all have a relationship with addiction, homelessness, and Kensington. Hear their stories, ask them questions, engage in conversation, all as an attempt to build common ground.
On today’s podcast, I caught up with Kittson O’Neill, director of Lantern Theater Company’s extended production of “Copenhagen” by Michael Frayn. We talk about her first experience with the piece, directing the Artistic Director, the cast and their return to the work and the design. Stay Tuned!
A fascinating mystery: why did German physicist Werner Heisenberg visit his old mentor and Danish counterpart Niels Bohr in 1941 while their countries were at war? Was he looking for clues to atomic secrets, asking for absolution, or searching for something unknowable? As the characters wrestle with their memories and motives, what becomes clear is the ultimate uncertainty of why we do what we do. Perhaps the greatest play ever written about science, Michael Frayn’s riveting drama puts us in the heart of the greatest moral dilemma of the 20th century.
On today’s podcast, I caught up with playwright, MJ Kaufman via Skype to talk about Interact Theatre Company’s World Premiere production of “Sensitive Guys”. MJ’s work has received a lot of attention this season but, this interview focuses on the development of this piece in the time of “Times Up” and on the heels of the news of Drexel’s recent campus assault that was developing as we connected. Stay Tuned!
ABOUT SENSITIVE GUYS
Takes place on the campus of a small liberal arts college where a pair of extracurricular programs, the student-led Men’s Peer Education Group and women’s Survivor Support Group, work together on an ambitious plan to unlearn sexism and totally eradicate all sexual violence everywhere within just five years. Everything seems to be on track – until an incident throws all their ideals into question. Beginning as a satirical look at hyper-progressivism and modern gender tropes, the play casts a long shadow, asking what change might actually be possible when complicity is assured—intentionally or inadvertently—in the monolith of male-dominated society.
MJ Kaufman (Playwright) is a playwright and devised theater artist working in New York and Philadelphia. Their work has been seen at the Public Theater, New York Theater Workshop, the New Museum, Colt Coeur, National Asian American Theater Company, Huntington Theatre, and Yale School of Drama and performed in Russian in Moscow. In Philadelphia MJ has worked with InterAct, Bearded Ladies Cabaret and Headlong Dance Theater as an incubated artist. They taught at University of the Arts and served as a Teaching Artist in Residence at Philadelphia Young Playwrights. MJ also received a Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant and a project grant from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage. MJ is currently a member of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers’ Group, WP Theater Lab, and a resident playwright at New Dramatists. Originally from Portland, Oregon, MJ attended Wesleyan University and received an MFA in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama. MJ has co-curated the 2016 and 2017 Trans Theater Festivals at The Brick and will launch Trans Lab, a fellowship for trans theater artists, in January 2018.
On today’s podcast, I give the microphone to Founding and Managing Director, Gabriela Sanchez, Artistic Director, Erlina Ortiz and Resident Director, Asaki Kuruma. Meet Power Street Theatre Company. Coming up, #NewWorldMatriarchy, Womyn of Color Love Slam. This multi-cultural group is unapologetically fierce and brings the community together with themes that are all to familiar. Stay Tuned!
ABOUT POWER STREET THEATRE COMPANY
Power Street Theatre Company (PSTC) is home to a collective of fierce multicultural and multidisciplinary artists dedicated to the mission of empowering marginalized artists and communities of color throughout Philadelphia and beyond.