Robert Askins

Offscript: Top 10 and Puppet Sex with Rob Askins

In this week’s episode, we welcome Robert Askins, author of “Hand to God,” aka the most-produced play in America! Plus, we invite some critics to discuss the play and whether it deserves to be on top.

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

We’ve got a special, extra-long edition of Offscript for you, with three guests!

First, editors Rob Weinert-Kendt, Suzy Evans, Russell Dembin, and Diep Tran discuss the late, great Edward Albee. Then we parse through our Top 10 Most-Produced Play and Top 20 Most-Produced Playwrights lists for 2016-17.

Next we welcome playwright Robert Askins, of Hand to God fame, to the office. We tell him that he has the most-produced play in America and gauge his reactions (“Whoooo!”). He also discusses the time he went on himself in the role of Tyrone, the demonic sock puppet, and why he wants to start his own church.

Finally, we bring in two critics via Skype: Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal and Wei-Huan Chen of The Houston Chronicle. They discuss productions of Hand to God they’ve seen, whether it deserves the No. 1 spot, and the intricacies of puppet sex.

Download the episode here. Subscribe via iTunes or RSS.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Diep is in the midst of enjoying Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, which she describes as equal parts concert, ritual, performance art, and audience-participatory extravaganza. Currently playing at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn (through Oct. 8), but it may come to a theatre near you.

Russ seconds Suzy’s earlier recommendation of The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe, currently playing Off-Broadway at the Playwrights Realm in Manhattan, about friendships and rivalries on a girls’ high school soccer team. Goooooooooooal!

Suzy is a fan of the new monthly SuperCinema party at the McKittrick Hotel in Manhattan (home to Sleep No More). Once a month, attendees can dress up as characters from cult films (this month was Clue), take in live performances, and sample from an open bar.

Finally, Rob recommends one of his favorite Albee tributes (besides ours, of course): Mac Rogers’s essay for Slate, “Edward Albee’s Teaching Emotion.” If there was anything Albee loved, it was inspiring uncomfortable emotions in his audience.

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