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Three on the Aisle: Uncomfortable Conversations

On this podcast, the critics discuss sexual harassment in the theatre and the powerful theatre artists accused, and debate talkbacks.

Every month (and starting in February, twice a month!) on the Three on the Aisle podcast, critics Terry Teachout (The Wall Street Journal), Elisabeth Vincentelli (The New York Times, The Village Voice, and The New Yorker), and Peter Marks (The Washington Post) get together to address and argue about the latest onstage. This week Marks joins the conversation from Washington, D.C.

The hosts had discussed sexual harassment in theatre on our third episode, but driven by recent news, they circle back to the matter in this fifth installment. For Teachout, the firing of Long Wharf Theater artistic director Gordon Edelstein hit close to home: Edelstein had directed productions of Teachout’s play Satchmo at the Waldorf and was slated to direct it again at Houston’s Alley Theatre (which has problems of its own, with artistic director Gregory Boyd retiring abruptly days before allegations of harassment, sexual and otherwise, surfaced publicly). Marks, Teachout, and Vincentelli bring up interconnected issues, including the perennial lack of female directors and playwrights in the Alley’s slate; the need for proper channels to handle grievances; and whether it’s possible to continue admiring the art of a tainted man.

On a lighter note, the podcast’s second segment tackles talkbacks. David Mamet, notoriously opposed to them, contractually forbids companies from holding them after performances of his plays. Marks is not convinced talkbacks are necessary, but Teachout, who has experience moderating them for Broadway’s Present Laughter and The Band’s Visit, finds that they can be enjoyable. So what makes a good talkback?

To round up the podcast, Marks, Teachout, and Vincentelli discuss recent productions they’ve enjoyed.

You can hear all this, and more, on Three on the Aisle.

Download the episode here. Subscribe via the RSS feediTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher.

Have comments or requests for what the critics should talk about? Email them at, or follow them @threeontheaisle on Twitter.


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