From Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, New York, Out of the Rehearsal Hall takes a deep dive into the theatrical process, even while we start the season still creating work from the rehearsal halls in our own homes. This season might find you listening to audio plays, streaming a solo performance online, and attending the theatre in a new socially-distant manner, and in this podcast, we’ll explore it all. Hosted by Literary Director Jenni Werner.
In our first podcast episode of 2021, we’re thrilled to feature a conversation with playwright/director/producer, Chay Yew. Geva audiences will have an opportunity to see his work as a director this winter, with his direction of Brian Quijada’s Where Did We Sit on the Bus? And long-time Geva audiences may remember the production of Naomi Iizuka’s 36 Views, which Chay also directed. Associate Artistic Director Pirronne Yousefzadeh joins Jenni Werner for this inspirational conversation that focuses on the ways in which we can all open doors for others to follow us, and create opportunities for the next generation to grow and succeed.
In this episode, Esther Winter, creative producer for Recognition Radio, and Jenni Werner talk with sound designers David K. Samba and Justin Ellington about jazz music, the nature of collaboration, sound design and composition as an out of body experience, and how we’re all sound designers at heart, even if we don’t know it yet.
Recognition Radio's Creative Producer Esther Winter joins Jenni Werner for a conversation with sound designers Christie Chiles Twillie and Larry Fowler. Join us for a great conversation about how sound designers build worlds onstage, and how their work has become even more pivotal with more and more theatrical work living only online. And, a special bonus, a handful of dogs make accidental guest appearances, which a sound designer might have placed slightly differently!
In this episode, playwrights Christina Anderson and Harrison David Rivers join Pirronne Yousefzadeh and Jenni Werner for a joyful conversation about listening to the voices in your head, finding inspiration in poetry, novels and raunchy rap lyrics, making space for imagination and representation onstage. And of course, the conversation features their plays in Geva's Recognition Radio Festival.
In this episode, playwrights Kirsten Greenidge and Chisa Hutchinson join Fran Da Silveira and Jenni Werner for an impassioned conversation about their work and inspirations, how August Wilson impacted them both as young people, and the renaissance of the Black horror genre. And of course, a conversation about their work featured in Geva's Recognition Radio Festival. Note: the conversation includes a couple of swear words.
In the first episode of season two, Jenni Werner is joined by co-host Esther Winter, creative producer for Geva's Recognition Radio Festival - an audio play festival celebrating Black stories - to talk about the festival and Esther's many roles in the Rochester-area arts community. And then guest Professor Sonja D. Williams, author of Word Warrior: Richard Durham, Radio and Freedom to talk about the pioneering writer and producer of radio's first Black radio dramas. Join us for a conversation about radio history, Durham's script writing (the good and the bad), innovative artistic choices, missed deadlines and incredible impact.
In Episode Ten of Out of the Rehearsal Hall, Geva's Assistant Literary Director Fran Da Silveira joins Jenni Werner once again for an invigorating conversation with director Mikael Burke. They talk about the impact of music and silence on our understanding of language, and about creating a personal artistic mission, and envision a bold new theatre coming out of this pandemic. Oh, and Fran reveals the connection between stalking and dramaturgical research...
In Episode Nine of Out of the Rehearsal Hall, Geva’s Wardrobe and Wig Supervisor Karin Eckert joins Jenni Werner to talk about her journey from Rochester to the West End, and around the U.S. (with a stop at “The Price is Right”), and back to Rochester; and then they talk with costume designer and crafts teacher Christina Selian about the difference between clothing and costumes; her journey to costume design; Christina’s deep admiration for actors and the collaborative nature of theatre; and the peace that comes from creating work by hand.
Fran Da Silveira and Jenni Werner talk with fight and intimacy director Rocío Mendez. The conversation starts with an acknowledgment of the moment the U.S. is in as a country, after the deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and more, and what some of our responsibilities in this moment might be. The conversation explores Rocío's inspiration to enter a field that is dominated by white men (and her success at doing so!), her work on last year's production of The Royale by Marco Ramirez (a Kitchen Theatre production presented at Geva), the importance of intimacy choreography, and the brilliance and confidence of RuPaul's Drag Race.
In this episode, Jenni is joined by Geva's former stage operations manager Carolyn Pike for a conversation with actor Madeleine Lambert. Carolyn and Jenni talk about just what a stage operations manager does, and a particularly memorable - and unexpected - onstage appearance. And then Madeleine joins us and we discuss her favorite running shoe, how marathons and performance are related, what it is like to play Susan B. Anthony, and the power of good stories.
In this episode, Pirronne Yousefzadeh and I catch up with Steven Sapp and Mildred Ruiz, the co-founders of the performance ensemble, Universes. It's a really wonderful conversation about their inspirations, about the Geva-commissioned piece AFRICANTIC and the blues, and the ways that the theatre has and hasn't changed since the ensemble's founding 25 years ago. Oh, and Pirronne and Mildred have a little dust-up about the word "devised."
This episode features Jen Cody, truly one of the funniest actors around. We talk about how fate played a role in her becoming a professional actor, how she discovered her gift for comedy, how Actors Equity Association is working to address the current crisis, and how much joy there is to be found in online workout videos. (Also, Jen tells her late father's favorite joke.) Geva's executive director Chris Mannelli co-hosts, and we illustrate the importance of timing.
In this episode, playwright and TV writer Dipika Guha (Yoga Play) talks about her international childhood, how learning you are a playwright might be "bad news," the snacks in a TV writers room, and women who've changed the world. Fran Da Silveira, Geva's assistant literary director and a playwright herself, co-hosts, and we talk about two people who changed our lives.
We talk with poet-playwright-composer-performer Brian Quijada about how looping has impacted his life and work, snooping parents and teenage love letters, and the happy accident of choosing a college program that puts your career on an exciting path. Brian shares with us a mashup he created, and we talk about what's on the horizon. Geva's company manager Angela Giuseppetti co-hosts, and talks about how working for the wardrobe department prepares one to become a company manager and shares what happened when Geva made the decision to cancel shows and postpone rehearsals.
We talk with Looks Like Pretty playwright Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder about being a Southern storyteller, bourbon happy hours, her 105-year old grandmother, and her next project. Geva's Associate Director of Education, Lara Rhyner, co-hosts, and shares what the education department has in store for students and educators this spring and summer.
In this inaugural episode of Out of the Rehearsal Hall, Geva's Literary Director Jenni Werner and Associate Artistic Director/Director of Community Engagement talk to Shelley Butler about her work as a director in non-profit and commercial theatre, working in Japan, a surprising RV trip across the country, and finding hope for what comes next.