Every other week, the editors of American Theatre curate a free-ranging discussion about the lively arts in our Offscript podcast.
This week, we’re shaking up our usual format. At the top of the show, editor Diep Tran is joined by Erin Salvi, publishing associate of TCG Books, and Lily Janiak, theatre critic for the San Francisco Chronicle. They touch on the white supremacists protests at Charlottesville, Va., and how theatre can be a healing force in divisive times. Then they discuss the recent copyright battle around The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adly Guirgis. The Shelton Theatre in San Francisco recently mounted the play but drastically cut the script and eliminated characters without Guirgis’ permission. The show was eventually shut down by the playwright. Who was in the right? And how do playwright copyrights even work? (Note: After we recorded, the Dramatists Guild shared a letter they sent to KQED, in response to a column by John Wilkins that raised questions about playwrights’ rights.)
Then, in keeping with the theme of our documentary theatre issue, editor Rob Weinert-Kendt talks to Tectonic Theatre Project members Anushka Paris-Carter and Andy Paris about their new show Uncommon Sense, which they based on extensive interviews over several years with individuals on the autism spectrum. The show runs at the Sheen Center New York City, Oct. 25–Nov. 26. They discuss the inspiration for the work and how they represent the experience of autism theatrically.
Erin recommends “Fleabag,” a dramedy from Amazon Studios, which is created by and stars Phoebe Waller-Bridge, a playwright who based the show on her one-woman play of the same name. “Fleabag” follows a woman in London and her “hilarious, brash, not-safe-for-work” adventures.
Lily recommends black odyssey by Marcus Gardley, currently running at California Shakespeare Theater through Sept. 3. She says it’s a refreshing spin on Homer’s epic, showcasing black performers as gods and goddesses (a rare treat).
If you feel like laughing and crying at the same time, Diep recommends the Tumblr Cast and Loose, a compendium of offensive, cringe-worthy casting notices. Sample: “[DIANA / SUPPORTING ] 20-28; She is a bright girl with beautiful personality even though she is a blind girl.” To quote Lily: “We’re doomed.”