Episode 7 – Birthing the Crone

Birthing the Crone
You will often hear women (and men) bemoaning the lack of meaty roles for women in film, TV, and on stage. I agree, yet I do so with a caveat: Meaty roles for women written by women are different from the meaty women’s roles written by men. This is not to suggest in any way that men are unable to write for women. My son is a damned good playwright who writes women’s roles with great sensitivity and insight. Yet, much as an elevator stop in the sub basement, performing your own work written from your unique perspective reveals new mysteries.

A Writer Observes
Writing a play about someone else’s life experience seems like a tough job. It’s especially hard when writing for more than one character. Consequently, the writer’s own experience gets spread like peanut butter over every character. This character speaks from your high school  point of view. And this character says things you wanted to say to your grandmother but didn’t get the chance. And this character speaks from the feelings wrapped around a moment of deep embarrassment, or grief, or shock. The payoff comes because we improve our skills of observation. Lisa Wilson embodies this skill.

Birthing the Crone by University of Tulsa Professor Lisa Wilson is a one woman show exploring menopause, grief and loss, hilarious circumstances, and motherhood
Birthing the Crone by Lisa Wilson

Birthing the Crone 
I interview actor, director, playwright, and University of Tulsa Women’s Studies professor, Lisa Wilson. Lisa acts as playwright, performer, director, and producer of her own work. As a result, she shares her observations with a live audience. It sets her work apart from the performances of actors depicting lives written by other playwrights. Because Lisa so richly embodies the character based on her own life, you forget you’re watching a play.

Lisa Wilson – Old Crone with a New Voice
Furthermore, Lisa is a recipient of the prestigious Jingle Feldman Individual Artist Award for her original one-woman show, “Only Four People Know About This”. “Birthing the Crone” is the second play in a series titled, “The Crone Chronicles”. Lisa based the series on her experiences of aging and loss with some hilarious and vulnerable insights. Finally, we talk about women’s voices and the effect of life’s changes on the artistic process.

Episode 6 – Diversity in Casting

Diversity on Stage
SallyPAL this week features a fantastic conversation about diversity on stage with rising star, Weston Vrooman. I explored the topic of diversity with Wes (one of my favorite people). We share a lot of the same ideals for the theater. Wes and I both recognize the need to broaden casting choices with more Open Casting.

What is Diversity?
When the topic of “diversity” comes up it probably veers toward race. While a critical piece of the conversation, it provides only a part of something bigger and more exciting. We have a long way to go when it comes to diversifying the performing arts. This applies to play production in particular. Producers and directors do a fairly good job with age difference. They offer less diversity of race and sex. Gender seems somewhat complicated for many of us. Body type and physical barriers present the biggest elephants in the room.

Body Diversity in Theatre
When we attend a play, we usually see beautiful people on stage. In musical theatre, arguments get made that physical demands draw a particular (fit) body type. And theatre companies turn down actors time and again for not “looking the role”. What does it even mean to look the role of an “everyperson”?

Exclusion and Diversity
Beyond the argument for doing away with exclusionary practices in casting, we must look at adopting true otherness on stage. That is the easiest way to move forward in the art. Decades of excluding some of the most talented performers have left us with a rather bland array of professional actors. We must begin to encourage new voices, and embrace the “other”. When we highlight the need for the artists who have been relegated to the sidelines, we can begin an age of artistic expression and expansion that will impact society in ways we cannot fathom.

Incorporate Diversity
Do you know an artist? Are you an artist? That voice must count. We can all support the new wave of differentness and allow the arts to once again be at the forefront of social change. Enjoy this conversation with Weston Vrooman while you think about how to incorporate diversity into your production.

 

Rising star, Weston Vrooman, is a big guy. He shares some tips to help you get cast and offers some humble advice on diversity.
Weston Vrooman Talks about Diversity on Stage

Episode 5 – Hard Working Fun

Listen to Episode 5 – ATC History with Bob Odle

Fun Work
My son used to say, “Brushing your teeth is hard,” in the whiniest possible voice. And he might be right. Anything you don’t want to do is hard. Starting a theatre company is arguably one of the hardest things a group of people can do (never try it alone). But if everybody’s having a good time, the hard work is not a bad thing. In fact, the sense of ownership that comes with investing your whole self in the process gives the endeavor legs. When a group works together toward a common goal, the feeling of camaraderie, purpose, and fun are part of the deal. That’s what Bob Odle knows from working with Tulsa’s American Theatre Company for over 40 years. He shares it with his students, audiences, and fellow thespians. Enjoy Bob’s interview as well as two new segments and an Easter Egg on SallyPAL this week!
Listen to Episode 5 – ATC History with Bob Odle

Joyce Martel
Listen to Episode 5 – ATC History with Bob Odle

Monday Podcast!

June 27

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