Back To Rehearsal

Last week we gathered in the RSC’s hometown of Sonoma, California to finally return to Hamlet’s Big Adventure! (a prequel) since the last time we performed it back in 2019. Original cast members Doug Harvey, Austin Tichenor, and Chad Yarish talk about what it’s like to back on their feet; how they survived this “long intermission;” how it was time to retire from cracking nuts; the promise of a possible live RSC D&D one-shot; some important pandemic pivots; the importance of crystallizing our purpose; the (hopefully only temporary) end of an RSC tradition; and how the themes of Hamlet’s Big Adventure! (a prequel) have become surprisingly resonant and more comically powerful in the intervening two years. (Length 18:41)

Troubador Theater’s ‘Lizastrata’

Matt Walker is the founder and artistic director of the Troubador Theatre Company, the LA-based ensemble that combines classic texts with classic Top-40 songs to create such astonishing mashups as Much A-Doobie Brothers About Nothing, The Comedy of Aerosmith, Fleetwood MacBeth, Santa Claus is Coming to Motown, The Little Drummer Bowie, Julius Weezer, Abbamemnon, As U2 Like It, A Christmas Carole King, Hamlet – the Artist Formerly Known as Prince of Denmark, A Midsummer Saturday Night’s Fever Dream, and It’s a Stevie Wonderful Life. The Troubies’ most recent magnum opus, which just closed its sold-out run at LA’s Getty Villa, was Lizastrata, which combined Aristophanes bawdy political comedy with music associated with Liza Minnelli. Matt explains how “The Troubies”, after more than 18 months, finally made the show go on; hired a COVID Compliance Officer; got advice from classical scholars; received letters anyway from “concerned” patrons; held a funhouse mirror up to nature…and hung it over the bed; and were visited by royalty: the Divine Miss Liza with a Z herself. BONUS! Austin reveals how Kander & Ebb’s “New York, New York” became the official anthem of New York City. (Length 25:29)

Playing Historical Characters

Three members of the fantastic ensemble gathered together for the Goodman Theatre production of Theresa Rebeck’s Bernhardt/Hamlet – William Dick, Gregory Linington, and Larry Yando – gather to discuss the particular obligations that must be considered when playing real historical figures. Featuring extensive dramaturgical research, actual archival video, the wild imaginative leaps required to be able to portray a 19th-century critic as if he were human, tributes (or ripoffs?) from Trader Joe’s, the invention of merch, arguments about Hamlet’s age, similar pressures playing the famous historical figure Ebenzeer Scrooge, the ultimate dedication to the playwright’s text, and a play ostensibly about a diva that’s actually about an ensemble. (Length 22:43) (Pictured (l to r): William Dick, Larry Yando, and Gregory Linington in the Goodman Theatre production of Theresa Rebeck’s Bernhardt/Hamlet, directed by Donna Feore. Photos by Liz Lauren.)

Episode 383. Meet The Darwins

”Playwright Sara Gmitter talks about her new play In The Garden: A Darwinian Love Story (now getting its world premiere at the Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago), which explores the long and successful romance between Charles and Emma Darwin: A woman who believed in God and heaven and salvation — Read more…

Episode 340. Directing A Comedy

”We share thoughts about comedy with director William Brown, who talks about his Writers’ Theatre production of David Ives’ The Liar which is earning rave reviews this month in Chicago. Featuring the joys of being at the epicenter of the action, the advantages of actor investment, the truth about technique, the Read more…

Episode 330. Our April Fools

”The four gentlemen of the 2013 cast of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) — Gary Fannin, Matt Pearson, Matt Rippy, and Benjamin Stratton — share their backgrounds and expertise as they prepare for their twelve-week UK tour. Featuring a surprisingly fast sense of ensemble, the joys of doubling, the Read more…

Episode 254. Being An Understudy

”When Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor directed the non-RSC cast in the premiere of The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged), Kyle Stoner, Phil Ferrero, and Rafael Manzo were the understudies, and they talk about what it’s like to rehearse a script that’s still being written, and when improv works and when Read more…

Episode 194. Moments Of Glory

”We take a break from rehearsing The Complete World of Sports (abridged) to recall our various moments of sporting glory…and some moments of humiliation as well. Featuring last-minute victories, unexpected emotion, a special appearance from Modern Family‘s Eric Stonestreet, and a brief quote from Bill Cosby. (If you spot it, Read more…

Episode 175. Playwrights Who Direct

”Austin Tichenor and Reed Martin are writing The Complete World of Sports (abridged), which the Reduced Shakespeare Company will premiere in September 2010. But they’re in rehearsals now, directing a non-RSC production in California. They talk about this unusual process, and about the wisdom of playwrights directing their own work. Read more…