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Chuck Cooper, James A. Williams, Jason Dirden, and Brandon J. Dirden in "The Piano Lesson" at Signature Theatre in 2012. (Photo by Joan Marcus)
Chuck Cooper, James A. Williams, Jason Dirden, and Brandon J. Dirden in "The Piano Lesson" at Signature Theatre in 2012. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Offscript: Brotherhood with Brandon J. Dirden and Jason Dirden

This week’s guest are actors, and brothers, Jason Dirden and Brandon J. Dirden. They discuss August Wilson, acting together, and how they never audition for the same role. Plus, the editors discuss brownface in Chicago, and the late Zelda Fichandler.

Every other week, the editors of American Theatre curate a free-ranging discussion about the lively arts in our Offscript podcast.

This week, editors Rob Weinert-Kendt, Suzy Evans, and Diep Tran discuss the brownface controversy with In the Heights in Chicago. What can we say about it that we haven’t already? A lot more, it seems! We also discuss the death of Zelda Fichandler, one of the founding mothers of the regional theatre movement.

This week’s guests are actors and brothers Brandon J. Dirden and Jason Dirden, who are both playing the same character, Levee in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, but in separate productions on opposite coasts: Jason at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles (directed by Phylicia Rashad), and Brandon at Two River Theatre in Red Bank, N.J. (directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson). Over Skype with Suzy, they discuss their first August Wilson plays, acting together, and how they try to never go out for the same roles.

Download the episode here. Subscribe via iTunes or RSS.

Recommendations:

Fans of plays about women playing sports might look out for The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe, which will be at the Playwrights Realm in New York City, Aug. 29-Sept. 24, directed by Lila Neugebauer.

Fans of form-breaking new plays should check out the video archive of (nearly) the entire ouevre of playwright Young Jean Lee. (Diep recommends We’re Gonna Die as a great soundtrack for doing chores.)

And fans of reinvented classics should read Noah Millman’s essay in The New Republic in which he praises recent reimaginings of American classics (including those of Ivo van Hove) but muses about what they may lose in the way of historical background.

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