SallyPAL

SallyPAL header image 1

Episode 45 - Soulful Storytelling with Deborah Hunter

Deborah_Hunter.jpg
Hi Friend! Episode 45 of Sally’s Performing Arts Lab Podcast features poet, spoken word artist and actor and past winner of the prestigious Jingle Feldman Artist Award, Deborah J. Hunter. I’m your SallyPAL podcast host, Sally Adams. I talk to people about creating original work for a live audience. Send an email anytime to Sally@sallypal.com.

Thanks to everyone who joined me at New York’s Town Stages for my live feed Wednesday, August 8. My daughter, writer Emile Adams, joined me as well as several fellows from the Sokoloff Arts Fellowship program at Town Stages in New York City.

Nimrod, Curbside Review, This Land, and Another Sun in the UK have all published Deborah Hunter’s essays and poems. Deborah has made a lasting impact on her community in Tulsa, Oklahoma through her work as a certified behavioral health case manager and as an artist. Her impact is felt throughout the state. This year Deborah was honored with a Woman of the Year Pinnacle Award for women creating real, sustainable change in Oklahoma.

Over the summer Deborah worked with playwright Tara Brooke Watkins developing ideas through something called 'story circles'. Using the Mary E. Jones Parrish collection of photographs, Tara created a new work about the 1921 Greenwood Massacre in the Tulsa Greenwood District. Tara asked my guest, Deborah Hunter, to build a poem around the phrase “Dig It” or “So You Wanna Dig?” for the piece. Two poems by Deborah Hunter appear in the work, Tulsa ’21: Black Wall Street.

Deborah also worked this summer with Portico Dance Theatre on their SummerStage production simply titled, Wo. Her poetry is very much in demand these days. As a performing poet, she brings her formidable energy to the stage creating stories and characters of substance.

Deborah Hunter's life is filled with stories of struggle. Her grandmother was a survivor of the massacre on Greenwood. And her adult daughter is mentally ill. When Deborah’s daughter was diagnosed with schizophrenia, Deborah began a long journey relating to people with mental health diagnoses. She’s a mental health advocate, a voice for women of color, a caseworker with a deep understanding of homelessness, and a soulful storyteller.

During the interview, Deb and I cover a lot of ground in our shared hometown including OneOk Ball Park, Guthrie Green, the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness), and the Greenwood Cultural Center. We talked about Pablo Neruda, Henry Louis Gates, Hannibal Johnson, David Blakely and his play about the Osage Murders called Four Ways to Die Blakely based his play on David Grann’s book about the Murders, Killers of the Flower Moon. I also mentioned a book about race relations I read as a teacher at Holland Hall Preparatory School, titled Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum. I can recommend both books enthusiastically.

There is so much depth to Deborah’s way of looking at the world. She is strong and kind, formidable and nuanced, deep and funny. I know you’ll enjoy hearing Deborah’s point of view as both an activist and an artist. Be sure and listen until the end of the interview for Concise Advice from the Interview, and Words of Wisdom from George

Concise Advice from the Interview: 5 bits of advice from Poet-Activist, Deborah J. Hunter:
5 To perform a poem in 1st person that is not your personal story, become a character telling that story.
4 Nobody’s better than you are and you are no better than anyone else.
3 Racism is about education.
2 Speak out against micro aggressions.
1 Tell the truth.

Check out the blog, SallyPAL.com, for articles and podcast episodes. You, too, can be a SallyPAL. SallyPAL now has a YouTube channel. Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfL9LzVbidtRqCCZsOk-imw. When I get some subscribers, YouTube promised me I could have a more memorable link. So go ahead and subscribe while I figure out how to be a good YouTuber. Also, look for short bits of advice, past podcasts, and the edited version of the live feed. Right now you can watch the recorded live show uncut. But that won’t last long. I'll edit soon because my mom says the pants I’m wearing don’t work for TV. Until I figure out how to look like Cindy Crawford on my channel, you can catch 3 unedited hours of great interviews at Town Stages!

Thank you for following, sharing, subscribing, reviewing, joining, & thank you for listening. If you’re downloading and listening on your drive to work, or commenting and reviewing like my sister does, let me know you’re out there.

Storytelling through performance is the most important thing we do as a culture. That’s why I encourage you to share your stories because you’re the only one with your particular point of view. And SallyPAL is here with resources, encouragement, and a growing community of storytellers. All the stories ever expressed once lived only in someone’s imagination… Now… Tell your truth!

00:0000:00

SallyPAL at TOWN STAGES!

Sally_and_Em_at_Sheridan_Lanes.jpg
I've been getting ready for a live video feed for my podcast SallyPAL this Wednesday, August 8 starting at 2pm EST at New York's Town Stages: https://youtu.be/_lXNAtZiIvM I hope you'll join me and watch even a portion of the live feed. It's like a live television show on the Internet! You can access it by clicking the link, and there you are. You'll have to wait for the actual day and time before anything happens because it's LIVE: https://youtu.be/_lXNAtZiIvM

The SallyPAL Live show is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. and may go as late as 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. If you live in California, that’s 11 a.m. to around 3 p.m. if you live in Oklahoma, it starts at 1 p.m.

My youngest daughter, Emile, will be helping with the technical aspects interviews. I'll be talking with a number of New York artists doing some really exciting new projects.  Some of the guests will be from previous episodes including Robin Sokoloff and Iyvon Edebiri! We'll even have a call-in guest or two.

If you have an interest in creating new performance work for a live audience, or if you know someone who might enjoy being part of the conversation, encourage them to watch the August 8 live feed starting at 2pm EST here: https://youtu.be/_lXNAtZiIvM. If you want to get in on the YouTube chat you will need to sign in with your Google account. Otherwise, you can simply enjoy watching the show! 

Want to know more about SallyPAL? Here are the ways you can be part of this performing arts community:

"Like" SallyPAL on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sallypalpod/ or: @sallypalpod

Join the SallyPAL.com community: https://sallypal.com/join/

Listen to past episodes of SallyPAL: https://sallypal.podbean.com/

You can also download a podcast platform application onto your mobile device (phone, watch or tablet)  and easily listen to past and future episodes of SallyPAL:

ITunes/Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/sallypal/id1244793589?mt=2

GooglePlay: Download the app and search for “SallyPAL” in the podcasts section

Podbean: https://sallypal.podbean.com/ or https://sallypal.podbean.com/feed.xml

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/sallypal

Player FM: https://player.fm/series/2360844

Radio Public: https://radiopublic.com/sallypal-6N9JMo

TuneIn.com: https://tunein.com/podcasts/Interviews/SallyPAL-Performing-Arts-Lab-Podcast-p1025535/

Review SallyPAL on your favorite podcast platform: Just like music, movies, and TV shows, you can rate SallyPAL on iTunes from your iPhone or iPad. First, download and use Apple's Podcast app, but once you have it, it's easy to do!

How to leave an iTunes rating or review for a podcast from your iPhone or iPad (from https://www.imore.com/how-rate-or-review-podcast-your-iphone-or-ipad):

  1. Launch Apple's Podcast app (Apple devices only).

  2. Tap the Search tab.

  3. Enter the name of the podcast you want to rate or review.

  4. Tap the blue Search key at the bottom right.

  5. Tap the album art for the podcast.

  6. Tap the Reviews tab.

  7. Tap Write a Review at the bottom.

  8. Enter your iTunes password to login.

  9. Tap the Stars to leave a rating.

  10. Enter title text and content to leave a review.

  11. Tap Send.

Whatever you do, be sure to join me and Emile Wednesday, August 8 starting at 2pm EST and going until 5 or 6pm at New York's Town Stages (did I mention its live): https://youtu.be/_lXNAtZiIvM. Ask questions, learn about exciting emerging artists, and just have fun!

We can’t wait!

00:0000:00

Episode 44 - Real Dance in a Virtual Reality with Charly Wenzel

Charly_Wenzel.jpg

Charly Wenzel is a dancer, choreographer and virtual reality filmmaker. You may be able to tell from her accent that she’s originally from Germany. She moved to New York nearly 15 years ago to continue to study dance. It was there at the Alvin Ailey School that Charly met Teresa Fellion who you may remember from Episode 25.

Charly danced for Teresa in the early days of Teresa’s company. After a few years exploring other creative venues including film, Charly joined forces with Teresa once again. Charly recognizes both her and Teresa’s styles have evolved over time making their collaborative efforts richer and more exciting. She currently works as the rehearsal director for Body Stories: Teresa Fellion Dance.

Charly Wenzel is a big fan of immersive art. She currently performs in Third Rail Projects' immersive dance theatre piece, Then She Fell. The long-running performance piece moves the audience from room to room to meet different characters in the story. Then She Fell is based on the writings and life of Lewis Carroll and his interactions with Alice Liddell.

Charly Wenzel just started working on a new piece for Body Stories set to premier in December at Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn, New York. Starting a dance piece from scratch begins with experimenting in the studio where the artists must imagine audience reactions while creating movement that tells a story. According to Charly, an immersive show gives performers an intimate experience with the audience.

Charly believes audience intimacy helped her develop her skills directing dancers because anything can happen. An audience member who interacts with storytellers becomes part of the performance rather than passively watching a show. Cynthia Hennon Marino talked about this as well in Episode 41.

In addition to live performance, Charly experiments with the storytelling possibilities of film. Her independent dance films use location, angles, and the ability to move in and out with a lens. Charly collaborates with a film director to create clear story focus. In filmmaking, as in theatre, each artist brings a skill set to the medium that makes it more exciting. Her film projection designs for Body Stories created a conversation between the live performers onstage and the images on screen.

Currently, Charly is working on an immersive virtual reality dance piece on film. According to Charly, film festivals focusing on virtual reality films are creating a demand for experiential viewing. In virtual reality filming, the camera shoots 360 degrees. It creates some challenges as the 360 view can reveal crew members, equipment, and things you might ordinarily be able to avoid. The compelling part of virtual reality filming is that it creates choice for the audience. A 360 director must account for audience choice while shooting.

Concise Advice from the Interview:

9 Keep your overall vision for a performance clear

8 Good ideas are like a ingredients that you can come back to or choose not to use

7 Every project helps you grow as an artist

6 Surround yourself with people you can learn from

5 Find people who want to work together to achieve a common goal

4 Keep an open mind

3 Find your own voice by immersing yourself in your art

2 Don’t worry about what you think people want to see

1 Stay true to your voice

Check out the blog, SallyPAL.com, for articles and podcast episodes. You, too, can be a Sally PAL! Don’t forget, Emile and I will be at New York’s Town Stages with a live feed on Wednesday, August 8 starting at 2pm EST. Join me and Emile to celebrate one year of SallyPAL and performing arts “in the greatest city in the world!” The link for the August 8 live feed is: https://youtu.be/_lXNAtZiIvM.

Thank you for following, sharing, subscribing, reviewing, joining, & thank you for listening. If you’re downloading and listening on your drive to work, or falling asleep to my live feed like my sister will, let me know you’re out there. Storytelling through performance is the most important thing we do as a culture. That’s why I encourage you to share your stories because you’re the only one with your particular point of view. And SallyPAL is here with resources, encouragement, and a growing community of storytellers. All the stories ever expressed once lived only in someone’s imagination… Now… Stay true to your voice!

00:0000:00

SallyPAL Town Stages promo

Hi Friend! Mark your calendar for August 8 at 2pm when my daughter I will be doing a live feed on YouTube Live! We'll be interviewing fellows from Town Stages as well as some other amazing artists! We're still hashing out the details but I can't wait to share this very special event with you from 2pm to 5 or 6pm Eastern Time on YouTube Live! I'll share the link as soon as we have it set up. I hope you'll join us. All you have to do is click on the link and you can even help me and Emile with our interviews by posting your own questions!  

 

To see the video for the podcast you just heard, go to: https://youtu.be/NYK1N7LFqto 

00:0000:00

Episode 43 - The Parsnip Ship with Iyvon Edebiri

Hi Friend! Welcome to the blog and show notes for Episode 43 of Sally’s Performing Arts Lab Podcast. The Parsnip Ship Artistic Director And Host, Iyvon Edebiri, joins me on this episode. I’m SallyPAL podcast host, Sally Adams. I talk to people about creating original work for a live audience. Send an email anytime to Sally@sallypal.com. I started last summer doing a weekly podcast but this summer my responsibilities have kept me from delivering every week. For now, I’ll be delivering a new show every week and a half to two weeks until Thanksgiving unless I can start staying up later. Big News: I’ll be at New York’s Town Stages with a live feed on Wednesday, August 8. More details are forthcoming but it will definitely be a day filled with interviews and fun. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the performing arts in New York City. Check out sallypal.com/join for The Creator’s Notebook. Also, you can be a Sally pal just by joining.

17-01-05-parsnip-ship.png

The Parsnip Ship Artistic Director And Host Iyvon Edebiri was born in Nigeria. Iyvon immigrated at age three to Brooklyn where she grew up. She attended LaGuardia High School for the Arts, where she studied classical vocal music. She graduated from Boston’s Brandeis University in 2013. Iyvon was then awarded a Fulbright Graduate Scholarship that took her to Italy. She later worked at Primary Stages, Sundance Institute Theatre Program and The Public Theater. Iyvon recently received a Future of Audio Fellowship from The DO School in Berlin, Germany. She also got an MA in Arts Administration from Baruch College of the City of New York (CUNY).

When Iyvon founded Parsnip Ship with a partner in 2015, she focused on the artistic curatorial elements and building a team.  The Parsnip Ship management team now includes Todd Kirkland - Managing Director, Katy Donnelly - Producing Director, and artistic associates Blayze Teicher and Ry Szelong. Iyvon and her team set out to disrupt the long standing model for page-to-stage. Parsnip Ship provides producers with a way to hear emerging playwrights’ works through the convenience of a podcast. The Parsnip Ship gives listeners the chance to hear playwrights in their actual voices with their actual intentions.

There are a number of tasks to be accomplished in pushing the Parsnip Ship venture forward. Iyvon asserts many millennials have to make mental health a priority when the obstacle is time. But Iyvon created time constraints as a way of life including her personal challenge to visit 30 countries by the age of 30. (By the way, she’s already been to 27 of them.) And Parsnip Ship is not Iyvon’s day job. She produces the podcast in her "free" time. Each Parsnip Ship episode is also an interview and play reading in front of a live audience.

When producing a live event that is also recorded as a podcast, good audio becomes a priority. The recording provides an asset for the playwright and reaches producers in a way that a typed script cannot. To get it right, Iyvon makes sure that episodes are individually produced. This also insures a great experience for the live audience. Parsnip Ship productions are free to the public due in part to the generosity of Brooklyn’s Mark O'Donnell Theater at The Actors Fund Arts Center. Iyvon and her team focus on work by artists from a variety of backgrounds including LGBTQIA, artists with disabilities, immigrants and playwrights of color who are the focus of the 2018-2019 season. The podcast relies on donations, free space, and volunteers. Parsnip Ship has so far been very successful. Iyvon’s focus on equity, diversity, inclusion, access, and opportunity are central to the mission of Parsnip Ship. If you are inspired to lend a hand, listen to Parsnip Ship and tell others. There are so many different plays by so many different types of playwrights. You can even have a Parsnip Ship listening party. And, definitely, sign up for the eblast at www.parsnipship.com.

During the podcast you’ll hear Iyvon Edebiri and I talk about CreateNYC, Nicole Zimmerer (a playwright with Cerebral Palsy), This is America by Childish Gambino, Daniella DeJesus’ The Columbus PlayLin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights, and the need for women of color in administrative leadership roles in American Theatre.

Here is advice from Parsnip Ship Captain, Iyvon Edebiri from Episode 43’s Concise Advice from the Interview:

6 If you are a woman of color, explore arts leadership. The American Theatre needs people of color, especially women of color

5 Be grateful for stories of truth because the truth is our most valuable resource

4 Do what you can to promote good stories

3 Ask yourself, “What would the world be missing if it didn’t have my play?”

2 Being an artist is not the only way you can be part of the arts world

1 Tell stories: Storytelling is the underrated form of resistance

Check out the blog, SallyPAL.com, for articles and podcast episodes. You, too, can be a SallyPAL. Thank you for following, sharing, subscribing, reviewing, joining, & thank you for listening. If you’re downloading and listening on your drive to work, or falling asleep to my wacky wisdom like my sister does, let me know you’re out there. Storytelling through plays, dances, opera, and other types of performances is the most important thing we do as a culture. That’s why I encourage you to share your stories because you’re the only one with your particular point of view. And SallyPAL is here with resources, encouragement, and a growing community of storytellers. All the stories ever expressed once lived only in someone’s imagination. Now… Go tell some stories!

00:0000:00

Episode 42 – Mermaids and New Plays with Author Jenny Kokai

Welcome to Episode 42 of Sally’s Performing Arts Lab Podcast. I’m podcast host, Sally Adams. And every week I talk about creating original work for a live audience. I interview guests from all over who are doing just that! Send an email anytime to Sally@sallypal.com. Your ideas keep great conversations coming every week.

Check out sallypal.com/join for a free Creator’s Notebook. It's a great resource for people producing original work. Also, you can be a Sally PAL just by joining. There are lots of other good reasons to join. SallyPAL has free theatre cartoons and inside scoop on fresh productions. And I want your help building a creator community I've named "The Clearing".

Jenny_Kokai.jpgToday, my awesome guest is Professor and Playwright, Jenny Kokai. Her book, “Swim Pretty”, explores mermaid culture. She looks at feminism through shows like the Weeki Wachee Mermaids in Spring Hill, Florida. We talk about that and a whole lot more in Episode 42.

Swim_Pretty.jpgJenny Kokai is a theatre professor at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. For anyone paying attention to pop culture, mermaids are a thing. They're moving past the traditional pretty white female. You'll see them in TV, movies, and comicons. Interpretations include transgender, disabled, and racially diverse mermaids. The reinvention of culture isn’t limited to aquatic life. According to my guest, there are ways in which theatre of all kinds is making an impact on the way people view 'difference'.

Jenny Kokai and her eleven-year-old son, Oliver, recently co-wrote a play called "Zombie Thoughts". It explores a child’s anxiety disorder through gaming. Jenny and Ollie recently received National Endowment for the Arts funding enabling the show to tour.

In addition, Kokai explores ways her students can take ownership of their learning. I know you’ll enjoy hearing this interview with well-regarded scholar, professor, and playwright; Jenny Kokai. Be sure and listen until the end of the interview for Concise Advice from the Interview, and Words of Wisdom from George.

Concise Advice from the Interview is where I share bits of advice from my podcast guest. On Episode 42, that's professor, author, and playwright, Jenny Kokai:
  11 Develop rapport before you go into rehearsing an      ensemble show.
  10 Create a space where people are respectful of each other’s boundaries.
  9 Create a space where people feel free to share their ideas and opinions.
  8 It’s always better when a whole team works well together.
  7 We do a disservice when we cut people with disabilities out of the creative process because of commercial pressure.
  6 A lot more playwrights with disabilities need to be writing from their perspective.
  5 When developing a new play, do not get attached to portions of the script.
  4 When auditioning for a sexy role, be the sexiest person in the room regardless of your size or disability.
  3 Find trustworthy collaborators who have a similar vision… and make stuff!
  2 If you have something to say, you should say it!
  1 Your voice matters!

Check out the blog, SallyPAL.com, for articles and podcast episodes. You, too, can be a Sally PAL. And you can sign up for a Creator’s Notebook insert at SallyPAL.com/join. Thank you for following, sharing, subscribing, reviewing, and joining. Most of all, thank you for listening.

You can download and listen to SallyPAL on your drive to work. Or if you're falling asleep to my nattering narratives like my sister does, let me know you’re out there. Storytelling through performance is the most important thing we do as a culture.

Finally, I encourage you to share your stories because you’re the only one with your particular point of view. And SallyPAL is here with resources, encouragement, and a growing community of storytellers. I want you to tell your stories. All the stories ever expressed once lived only in someone’s imagination. Now, If you have something to say, you should say it!

00:0000:00

I’M ON VACATION!

Hi Friend! I've been on a short vacation. While you're waiting for next Monday's show, I hope you'll check out to "Twins Talk Theatre" where I was interviewed by theatre tech twins, Cynthia Hennon Marino (NYC) and Stacy Hennon Stone (LONG BEACH, CA). We had a great convo about producing new work, collaboration, and cheerleading for the arts!

I'll be back with regular episodes on Monday. You can look forward to my interviews with "Swim Pretty" author Jenny Kokai on June 25. She writes about mermaid culture and pretty white women who smile like pageant winners while making difficult athletic performances under water look like fun. We also talk about writing for people with disabilities, teaching with "Topsy Turvy Day" and finding your place in the world of storytelling.

Swim_Pretty.jpg

On Monday, July 2, you'll hear the founder of the Parsnip Ship podcast, Iyvon Edebiri, whose brave idea to post live performances of new plays in a New York theatre is taking off in a big way. She talks about accidentally featuring plays with LGBTQ themes and her quest to honor a variety of writing styles and diverse voices. Her goal to promote playwrights of color is coming alive in the upcoming season of Parsip Ship.

17-01-05-parsnip-ship.png

July 9 you'll hear poet and social activist Deborah Hunter on what drives her art. Deborah's work with the homeless has led to several moving original live performances. Her work garnered a Jingle Feldman award and led to an Oklahoma Poet Laureate nomination. Deborah is a well regarded spoken word performance artist whose poetry has been included in several literary journals and anthologies. She's also a powerful advocate for the mentally ill.

Deborah_J_Hunter.jpg

On July 16 you get to hear choreographer, filmmaker, dancer, and director Charly Wenzel. Charly works with Teresa Fellion's Body Stories in New York. Her work combining dance and virtual reality filming is groundbreaking. She has a lot to say about telling stories using dance and the human form. Her interest in high and low tech fusion gives her work a sense of urgency that must be experienced to be appreciated.

Charly_Wenzel.jpg

Thanks for your enthusiasm for the upcoming episodes. I look forward to sharing all this and more over the coming weeks. Thanks for being my PAL in this storytelling adventure!

 

A. Rey Pamatmat and an Opportunity to Lead

Hi Friend, I decided to take an episode of SallyPAL, the podcast I created, to share some thoughts about creating original work for a live audience and why it’s important. I’m your SallyPAL podcast host, Sally Adams. Every week I talk about creating original work for a live audience. Send an email anytime to Sally@sallypal.com. Your ideas keep great conversations coming.

Check out sallypal.com/join for a cool free theatre resource. You can be a Sally pal just by joining. There are other good reasons to join like theatre cartoons, inside scoop on fresh productions, and being part of a larger creator community.

A_Rey_Pamatmat.jpg

I read a great article this morning that was a transcription of a speech by Playwright A. Rey Pamatmat. I include a link to the speech in my blog and show notes. In it Pamatmat describes his experience as an excluded person based on a number of things. He is part Asian, homosexual, and an artist. During his speech to a Humana Festival audience he says, “the things other people believed were limiting me—my ethnicity, my queerness, my open lack of shame about both—were actually the things that liberated me and made my artistic life possible.” That phrase alone speaks to why I started making my podcast.

As a long time arts teacher in K-12 schools, I found the kids who gravitated toward my classes had something to say. I believe everyone has something to say, but there are those (and this is strictly anecdotal) who have things they need to say. Furthermore, when it comes to people who are excluded from various parts of society, these kids have things to say that the rest of us need to hear. It’s why I continue my own drumbeat to create fresh work that sees the light of day. Because, as A. Rey Pamatmat says quite eloquently, teachers can, subject… students to bigoted systems, possibly for the first time in their lives or… teach them about bigoted systems and how to handle them. The former shows them (and their peers witnessing their treatment) how to perpetuate bigotry when they’re leaders in the field themselves, while the latter gives them and their peers strategies for navigating and maybe even eliminating these challenges.”

This profound message comes in a time when many of us who regularly and thoughtlessly experience privilege see the conversations for equality on social media and wring our hands. We don’t know how to respond. And I’m not just talking about responding to LGBTQIA or issues of racial inequality. It’s not even a conversation about women versus men; or, the uphill battle people with disabilities face every day whether you use a wheelchair and can’t sit close enough to the stage to see the actors or you have an invisible disability that forces you to sit quietly while mental illness is misrepresented on stage. And we rarely even consider the frustration fat people feel when they can find few representatives in the theatre who aren’t punchlines.

The message for all of us working in performing arts is this: We have an opportunity to lead. We can lead each other in respectful conversations about our differences and what we each have to contribute to human culture. We can lead our audiences to a deeper understanding of humanity and oneness. We can lead our students and young artists to develop tools to handle and combat bigotry and perhaps even to eliminate it. And we should all be leading each other toward an understanding that each of us deserves dignity, respect and love.

For those of us who already enjoy access to audiences and opportunity, we have a responsibility to do some homework. Research ideas. Talk to people who struggle with your characters’ obstacles. Create work that celebrates difference. See shows about otherness and be open to conversations for equality.

This is probably where I should chastise my fellow artists who experience privilege and don’t participate in the battle to eliminate intolerance. But I am not a fan of the double negative. Fighting a “not” as in, “I hate the haters” is not nearly as powerful as living in the daily possibility for fairness. Mother Theresa once said, “I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there.” 

I am not suggesting that we all stop speaking out against prejudice. What I am suggesting is that we, as artists, begin to see our role as leaders. We should never gloss over the shameful behavior we see. But within that moment when you, as an artist, flip on the light and expose malice, injustice, hatred, and their subtler cousins you can make a difference. Lead your audience through the difficulties humans face through your storytelling ability. Create empathy in your audience members for the characters on stage.

I really encourage you to either read or watch Pamatmat’s speech because he is saying things we need to hear with the fluency of an artist. But more than needing to hear these things, we need to seek out these messages for the artistic growth they inspire. And finally, we need these messages for the social revolution they encourage that will ultimately bring peace and make us all better people.

Think of the exclusion of people who are different this way: Let’s say you’ve got this bank account and people pay you with direct deposit. You get paid mostly in American dollars. But every once in a while someone pays you with money from another country, Canadian dollars, Euros, or even Yen. Even though your bank accepts all of these denominations, you decide you don’t want to be paid that way so you tell all of these customers to pay American or forget it. We have lost a great number of important ideas because we don’t want to accept different denominations of currency. We are poorer for it.

There are a couple of things I often say on this podcast. One is that the audience is your last collaborator, the other is that stories create culture. If we, as artists, are not happy with the current state of the culture in which we live, then, by God, we have the most powerful tools ever created to change it. We tell stories. Stories create culture. Culture makes us who we are. 

Check out the blog, SallyPAL.com, for articles and podcast episodes. You, too, can be a SallyPAL. Sign up for a FREE Creator’s Notebook insert at SallyPAL.com/join. Next week come back to the podcast to hear my interview with Jenny Kokai, author of Swim Pretty: Aquatic Spectacles and the Performance of Race, Gender, and Nature. 

Thank you for following, sharing, subscribing, reviewing, joining, & thank you for listening. If you’re downloading and listening on your drive to work, or falling asleep to my whining and opining like my sister does, let me know you’re out there.

Storytelling through plays, dance performances, opera, concerts and other types of expression is the most important thing we do as a culture. That’s why I encourage you to share your stories because you’re the only one with your particular point of view. And SallyPAL is here with resources, encouragement, and a growing community of storytellers. I want to help you tell your stories… All the stories ever expressed once lived only in someone’s imagination. Now, go create, collaborate and elevate the culture! 

 

 

 

00:0000:00

Episode 41 – Stage Managing Immersive Opera with Cynthia Hennon Marino

Hi Friend, welcome to the blog and show notes for Episode 41 of Sally’s Performing Arts Lab Podcast. On Episode 41, my awesome guest is Stage Manager Cynthia Hennon Marino

Cynthia_Hennon_Marino.png

Her work with the ground-breaking immersive-devised opera, The Wreck, is just one of the things we discuss.

 

I’m your SallyPAL podcast host, Sally Adams. And every week I talk to people about creating original work for a live audience. Send an email anytime to Sally@sallypal.com. Because your ideas keep great conversations coming every week.

 

Check out sallypal.com/join for a cool free theatre resource called the Creator’s Notebook. You can also be a Sally ‘pal’ just by joining. There are other good reasons to join. Members get theatre cartoons, inside scoop on fresh productions, and entry into a larger creator community.

 

Stage Manager Cynthia Hennon Marino hit the ground running after getting an MFA in Stage Management from the College-Conservatory of Music. She went to New York and got hired almost immediately. She became a production assistant on the Broadway production of Equus starring Richard Griffiths and Daniel Radcliffe in 2008.

 

Cindy's journey started when she and her identical twin, Stacy Hennon Stone, did props for the musical Anything Goes their freshmen year of high school. The two now host a podcast called Twins Talk Theatre. The show is a series of great convos about working backstage.

 

Twin_Theatre_Geeks_Cindy_and_Stacy.pngSister Stacy is a professional technical director in Long Beach, California. But neither twin planned on becoming a theatre professional. Cindy started by pursuing a degree in math. Stacy started in the business school. But theatre has powerful magnetic pull.

 

Each Hennon sister graduated from a different college with a theatre degree. Cindy’s sister headed to Southern California. Cindy followed when she found work with Palos Verdes Performing Arts.

 

Cindy and I talk about Long Beach Opera, the opera, Nixon in China, the LA opera, Hopscotch, and Portland Opera. She currently stage manages the opera, Faust, with the Oregon company. This latest venture features 3-D projections based on the work of sculptor John Frame.

 

The projections and projection mapping are a collaboration among designers Frame, Vita Tzykun, David Adam Moore, and Duane Schuler. It’s received a lot of attention from a previous reveal with Lyric opera in Chicago. Opera Wire called this production “a visual feast for the ages.”

 

But Portland’s production isn’t the most progressive thing Cindy’s done this year. In March, she and a small contingent with Opera Omaha embarked on a rare journey. The work they created is unique.

 

The_Wreck_Opera_Omaha_Spring_2018.jpgThe Wreck is an immersive devised opera created in only 10 days. The Wreck borrows music and other bits from Slavik mythology and mermaid folklore. It features the writings of Anne Sexton, Alice Walker, and Adrienne Rich. It also floats on the music of Donizetti, Schubert, and Von Bingen. Ukrainian composer Mariana Sadovska adds new music creating an eclectic, otherwordly piece set in Omaha… sort of.

 

I know you’re going to enjoy what Cynthia has to say about stage managing and opera. There’s plenty of fresh ideas in the world of live opera performance. I can’t wait to see what she does next. Be sure and listen until the end of the interview for Concise Advice from the Interview, and Words of Wisdom from George.

 

Concise Advice from the Interview

7) Stage manage a show as opposed to a genre of theatre

6) Help the designers make a safe working environment for the performers

5) Focus on the show and focus on the people and everything else will fall into place

4) Go see opera!

3) Use physical cues to show you are open to a conversation

2) Experiment and have fun!

1) Think outside of the box

 

Thank you for following, sharing, subscribing, reviewing and joining. And thank you for listening. Download the SallyPAL podcast and listen on your drive to work. Or fall asleep to my recitatives like my sister does. Just be sure to let me know you’re out there.

 

Storytelling through plays, dances, opera, and other types of performances is the most important thing we do as a culture. That’s why I encourage you to share your stories. You’re the only one with your particular point of view. And SallyPAL is here with resources, encouragement, and a growing community of storytellers.

 

I want to help you tell your stories. All the stories ever expressed once lived only in someone’s imagination. Now… Think outside the box!

00:0000:00

Show UpDate and a Chance to Contribute

Hi Friend!

Darian Silvers is a multi-talented young man on a mission to change performing arts. He has been accepted to a summer Julliard program for young adults who plan to use art and collaborative skills to contribute to their home communities. The problem is funding. We can work together to fulfill Darian's goal to bring theatre arts to rural communities. Please join me in funding Darian Silvers' goal! https://www.gofundme.com/get-darian-to-juliard

DarianJoyful.jpeg 

Here’s Darian’s message:

 

Hello lovely supporters, thank you so much for visiting my page.

I was one of 50 applicants across the nation to be accepted into the Artist as Citizen Conference at Julliard this June.  All I need is a little financial help for the conference and the plane ticket! If you know me, you know I'm a local director, artist, and fashion designer working in Houston.  

The AAC Conference teaches lessons on artistry, entrepreneurship, and activism. I've often considered myself a multi-faceted artist who hasn't quite found his niche, but this conference gives me the opportunity to marry my love of telling stories with my passion for helping people who need it . Any amount is a huge help!

 

https://sallypal.podbean.com/mf/web/syumuk/Darian_Silvers.pdf

00:0000:00