The Understudy Bookstore

Chicago will soon get its own Drama Book Shop in the form of The Understudy Bookstore, and founding owners Adam Crawford and Danny Fender talk about their ultimate pandemic pivot and how it’s already become a project the entire Chicago theater community is enthusiastically supporting; how Chicago is like one big college theater campus; how difficult it is (and how privileged they are) to be able to realize this beautiful dream; how it’s possible to have a theatrical career in Chicago; how they learned lessons from fellow small business owners; give a shout-out to Scenes, Chicago’s previous theater bookstore; and The Understudy’s fantastic motto: “Good Books, Fresh Beans, & All The Drama.” (Length 20:47)

Supporting Independent Bookstores

Robert McDonald is the director of special events at The Book Stall in Winnetka, IL, and tell us exactly why supporting independent bookstores — and all small businesses, including theater companies! — is not only a good but an important idea. Featuring changing landscapes; romantic notions of bookstores, and the ways in which those notions are true (and not); ways to pivot; the importance of learning new skills and finding individuality; parental warnings and regrets; who the true essential workers are (aside from the obvious ones); important social niceties; who Bookshop.org is genuinely helping; and finally, how to measure convenience, and how Amazon is really not convenient and is probably doing more harm than good. (Length 21:39)

Episode 478. Reading Stage Directions

”Are you the kind of actor or director who boasts, “I don’t read stage directions”? Playwrights Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor have some thoughts for you about the value of stage directions, plus helpful tips, lessons for playwrights too, favorite stage directions, the importance of “business” and using your time Read more…

Episode 437. Back Room Shakespeare

”Chicago actor and now author Samuel Taylor chronicles the origins of the Back Room Shakespeare Project in his new book My Life With The Shakespeare Cult. Part cri de coeur, part call to arms, Sam’s book is a brief and inspiring manifesto about restoring life to Shakespeare performance. Featuring the Read more…

Episode 435. Nerd Noir Novelist

”Ian Tregillis has quite possibly created a new genre with his recent novel Something More Than Night, a murder mystery detective novel with an angel protagonist set in Thomas Aquinas’ vision of Heaven. Ian talks about his supportive writers group (featuring a promising newcomer named George R. R. Martin), the struggle of describing Read more…

Episode 414. Bob Mondello Talkback

” National Public Radio film critic Bob Mondello joined us onstage at the Reston Center Stage on the final night of our ten-day seven-show Complete Works of the Reduced Shakespeare Company (abridged) Extravaganza. Appropriately enough, our closing performance was Completely Hollywood (abridged), and Bob squandered some of his credibility by discussing Read more…

Episode 385. Unknown Dan Rice

”Author David Carlyon talks about his book Dan Rice: The Most Famous Man You’ve Never Heard Of and its subject, one of the richest entertainers of the 19th century and the Jon Stewart of his day. Featuring “Hits on the Times”, an examination of 19th century performance and politics, the Read more…

Episode 379. The Fiasco Theatre

”RSC alum and founding member of the Fiasco Theatre Noah Brody takes a break between shows at the New Victory Theatre to discuss his company’s extraordinary work and its (not coincidentally) extraordinary success. Featuring the origins of Fiasco (both the company and the name), the advantage of shared aesthetics, the Read more…

Lakewood Colorado

That’s right – Lakewood Co gets its very own blurb. Why? Because that’s where the RSC has its only scheduled performance of All the Great Books (abridged) for the rest of the year. So if you’re looking for A Little Dickens or a Short Longfellow, then we’ll see you in Colorado on October Read more…

Episode 315. Our New E-Book

“Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor discuss their new e-book How The Bible Changed Our Lives (Mostly For The Better), their irreverent comic memoir (originally published in paperback as The Greatest Story Ever Sold by Westminster/John Knox Press) and talk about how, while writing their whimsical look at the Bible, they find their friendship Read more…

Episode 280. Fantasy Sports Explained

”Sportswriter, columnist, and nerd’s nerd AJ Mass returns to talk about his book How Fantasy Sports Explains The World: What Pujols and Peyton Can Teach Us About Wookiees and Wall Street. Featuring wisdom from the likes of Neil Degrasse Tyson and Jane Espenson, the importance of shared metaphors, illusions of Read more…

Episode 248. Matson V. Croke

”It’s He Said/He Said as our good friends Matt Croke and Bill Matson testify about what happened to Bill’s pristine first-edition copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Featuring photographic evidence, conflicting testimony, medically-suspicious eye-rolling, and the value of stories, literature, and books. Even destroyed ones. (Length 20:04)

Play

Episode 231. A Hearty Bookfest

”We made our second straight appearance at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, reading from Reduced Shakespeare: The Complete Guide for the Attention-Impaired (abridged), All The Great Books (abridged), Completely Hollywood (abridged), and The Complete World of Sports (abridged). Featuring crazy live laughter, ambient traffic noise, a special appearance Read more…

Episode 178. The Ballet Book

Kay Tichenor (Austin’s mom!) talks about her 1976 book Ballet (Troubador Press/Price Stern Sloan) and how a casual family interest became an activity and reference book that’s still in print after thirty-five years. Featuring a reduced history of this ‘history of the dance’, advice for aspiring writers, the power of movement, and a special appearance by a man of a certain age. (UPDATE: Kay passed away on May 29, 2010, less than a month after this was recorded. She is and will be missed.) (MP3. Length 20:47)

Episode 177. Festival Of Books

”LIVE! From the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, we read excerpts from Reduced Shakespeare: The Complete Guide For The Attention-Impaired (abridged), The Complete History of America (abridged), The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged), and All The Great Books (abridged). Featuring RSC bits as you’ve never heard them, a Read more…

Episode 157. Wisconsin Loves Us!

”Well, most of Wisconsin. We remember the many cities we’ve played in the Cheesehead state, and also talk to high school drama teacher Kate Schultz, whose principal forbade her from staging a production of All The Great Books (abridged). Featuring insight into what rural conservatives find shocking these days, tales Read more…

Episode 107. Charles Dickens Unplugged

”It’s the most wonderful Dickens time of the year! Founding RSC member Adam Long talks about his Charles Dickens musical Dickens Unplugged, and we showcase all RSC things Dickens. Featuring excerpts from Dickens Unplugged, All The Great Books (abridged), The Reduced Shakespeare Company Christmas, as well as special background info Read more…

Episode 99. Book Group Expo

”Excerpts from The Ghostlight Forum – a lively discussion about literature with Susanne Pari (author and program director of Book Group Expo), Kirsten Brandt (Associate Artistic Director of San Jose Rep) and our very own Austin Tichenor. They discuss All The Great Books, fear of classics, the joys of malapropisms, Read more…

Episode 84. Opening Night Crowds

”The classic opening night audience is dissected and examined, and several actual audience members are pinned to the wall and forced to speak. Featuring sweeping generalizations, very strong if completely uninformed opinions, feedback from podcast listeners, and a classic theatre story! Plus, a special guest appearance from Peter Overby from Read more…

Episode 81. Great Books (abridged)

”Co-authors Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor reveal the birth pangs (and leg pains) of the RSC’s fifth stage show All The Great Books (abridged). Featuring excerpts from live performances, adaptation tips, performance advice, semi-obscure Curt Schilling references, a special and scornful appearance from Scott Simon of National Public Radio, and Read more…

Episode 61. New Old Shows

”What’s it like performing Complete History of America (abridged) and All The Great Books (abridged) after a year of performing mostly Hollywood and Bible? Confusing and nausea-inducing. Featuring an interview with our latest backstage goddess Alli Bostedt, the perils of remembering new line changes, a special appearance from Fox-TV’s Beth Read more…

Episode 41. The Irish Guys

”A lively LIVE interview with Noah Brody, Ryan Dietz, and Dustin Sullivan, who’ll be performing All The Great Books (abridged) in Ireland starting Sept. 22. Featuring alternative audition techniques, commercial gigs both lost and found, a reduced Tolkien debate, and dozens of screaming girls! Plus, a special appearance by the Read more…

Episode 30. Summer Reading Lists

”This week: Random meanderings about books! How film and TV inspires our reading habits, and how reading choices reflect character….or in our case, lack of character. Plus, which books cure insomnia, the eerie similarities between Alan Ayckbourn and Curt Flood, and a classy excerpt from All The Great Books (abridged). Read more…