Hi Friend, Welcome to my blog with show notes for Episode 26 of Sally’s Performing Arts Lab Podcast. Every week I talk to people about making original work for a live audience. This week on the podcast, you’ll hear an uplifting conversation about getting your artistic 2nd wind. Lager & Tea is the poetry+music pair from Tulsa Oklahoma that features my friend Frank Gallagher and his daughter Mercy Teague.
Many people listening in Tulsa might know Frank as a regular theatre director for Heller Theatre and Clark Youth Theatre among others. He’s changed direction as he and his daughter, award-winning published poet, Mercy Teague, have joined forces to create new works for live audiences. I’ve included YouTube links in the show notes. These early performances give a peek inside the fantastic family collaboration that people in Tulsa are talking about. The poetry alone is worth your time. And Frank’s guitar counterpart is beautifully realized. The best part for me is that Frank is so eloquent about the artistic 2nd wind he’s having through making performance art with his accomplished progeny.
If you like what Frank and Mercy are putting out there on YouTube, subscribe to their channel. It doesn’t cost you a dime and it lets artists like Lager & Tea know what they’re doing is reaching people. When your work goes up, we’ll post a link so you can share with the SallyPAL community. Be inspired and be willing to inspire others to start fresh or get an artistic 2nd wind.
CONCISE ADVICE FROM THE INTERVIEW
10 Don’t be afraid to try something new.
9 Try something you always wanted to do that you never did.
8 Don’t sit and watch TV in your retirement.
7 Pick up the instrument you played in High School.
6 You are made to be a creator.
5 Art is not as satisfying unless you can give it your best (not someone else’s best).
4 Doing something new at 65 is exciting.
3 Your art is a gift you can give to others.
2 Seek out opportunities to share your original work.
1 Find something to do!
Listen until the end for Concise Advice from the Interview, and Words of Wisdom from George. This week, George’s wisdom is a quote attributed to everyone from Gabi Peralez to Paulo Coelho to John Lennon to Ed Sheeran. Suffice it to say, the quote is almost certainly folk wisdom that bears repeating. “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”
Leave comments. Give a review. Or send an email to Sally@sallypal.com. Your ideas keep great conversations coming every Monday evening. Thanks for sharing the podcast and the blog. (If you haven’t had a chance to share, the share buttons are over there ⇐ to the left of the post. There’s also a free 20-page theatre resource. You get this amazing, funny, original, really useful, and well-organized resource by sharing your first name and email. That’s it! Nothing to it. Name, email, and no sharing. I never share emails because I find it so completely annoying when other people share my email. The free glossary of live performance support is something you will want. You can punch holes in it and slip it inside your creator’s notebook binder. The rest of your production team will be so jealous.
Sign up for a FREE Creator’s Notebook insert at SallyPAL.com/join. And now there’s an iTunes link in the sidebar⇒ to my CD that has the song Stop for a Minute. You hear pieces of the song during the podcast. Now you can listen to the whole thing. The album is available for download on CDBaby.
Thank you for sharing, subscribing, reviewing, joining, & thank you for listening. I want you to pursue your dream to have original work on the stage in front of a live audience. It’s scary, but I’m here with resources, encouragement, and a growing community of people like us. I’m Sally and this is SallyPAL (the P-A-L in PAL stands for: Performing Arts Lab).
If you’re downloading the podcast and listening on your drive to work, or falling asleep to my hoop-dee-doo like my sister does, let me know you’re out there. I want to help you create original shows for a live audience. All the performances you’ve seen on stage once lived only in someone’s imagination… Now… Find something to do!
Episode 25 of Sally’s Performing Arts Lab Podcast features Teresa Fellion whose new show, rose walk green ice, at Danspace Project, 131 E. 10th Street, NY, premieres this week! December 7-9, 2017 at 8pm. Tickets are $22 in advance ($25 at the door)
Just commit and get the tickets now. They’re available at danspaceproject.org, or by calling TheaterMania/OvationTix at (866) 811-4111.
Teresa’s new work, rose walk green ice, is the culmination of work begun with Home and Agawam that explores self-awareness within communal bonds. During the show, audience members will find they each become more aware and appreciative of their complete self and the people around them.
Performances with Teresa’s very well reviewed, highly physical company of dancers include immersive humor and emotion, and live musicians. Teresa’s resume is too long to include here. But she’s taught for The Ross School, The Ailey school, and many others, and choreographed for dozens of organizations and events around the world. Teresa and her company are on the leading edge of performing arts creation and I think you’re going to enjoy hearing what she says on the podcast about the creative process.
Concise Advice from the Interview
5 No one style of dance is inherently better than another
4 Bring collaborators into the process as soon as you can
3 Listen to yourself and don’t over define your style
2 Give your audience a shared experience
1 Be brave
Sign up for a FREE Creator’s Notebook insert at SallyPAL.com/join. And for the person who asked, there’s an iTunes link in the sidebar to my CD with the song, Stop for a Minute, that you hear during the podcast.
Thank you for sharing, subscribing, reviewing, joining, & thank you for listening. I want you to pursue your dream to have original work on the stage in front of a live audience. It’s scary, but I’m here with resources, encouragement, and a growing community of people like us.
My name is Sally Adams. Every Monday evening I talk to people about making original work for a live audience. We talk about lots of other things as well. For instance, director Julie Tattershall and I talk about creative flow, emotional vulnerability, and theatre as therapy.
Leave comments. Give me a review. Or send an email to Sally@sallypal.com. Your ideas keep the flow going every Monday evening. Thanks so much for sharing the podcast and the blog.
Don’t forget about the FREEBIES on sallypal.com/join. You can still get your 20-page FREE theatre resource. It’s a glossary of live performance support you need for show flow. It’s useful, entertaining, and you can copy the pages and trade with your friends!
Today’s episode features play director, performer, and playwright Julie Tattershall. Julie is a forever friend with a long resume.
Julie worked with theater companies in Chicago before settling down in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In Tulsa she became the Artistic Director of Clark and Heller Theatres logging nearly 30 years of non-stop directing flow. In addition to directing over 100 productions, Julie founded the long-running Laughing Matter improvisation group. With her husband, Tony Batchelder, she co-founded the Tulsa Area Community Theatre Alliance. Julie has toured nationally with “Where the Red Fern Grows”. She also participated in the Oklahoma Artist in Residence program. Julie still works as an artist in the schools performing original works that resonate with a message of acceptance and healing. She has a Masters degree in Psychology and uses that knowledge to create live-performance flow. Julie visited me and George in our new home on the Potomac river in Virginia.
Concise Advice from the Interview(a short version of tips from theatre guru, Julie Tattershall.)
7 – Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable on stage.
6 – Decide where the character holds stress and build that into the character.
5 – Take advantage of seeing things from another point of view.
4 – Open yourself up to the flow to be in the now.
3 – Approach any play script as if you are approaching a brand new play.
2 – Create a safe environment for rehearsal.
1 – And Julie Tattershall’s number one piece of advice? Don’t feel like you have to know it all, and don’t pretend to.
Next week, download my conversation with former Broadway stage manager, Liza Vest.
Check out the blog, SallyPAL.com, for articles and podcast episodes. And sign up for a FREE Creator’s Notebook insert at SallyPAL.com/join.
Thank you for sharing, subscribing, reviewing, joining, and thank you for listening. I want you to pursue your dream to have original work on the stage in front of a live audience. It’s scary, but I’m here with resources, encouragement, and a growing community of people like us.
If you like SallyPAL, a new show goes out every Monday evening! Download and listen on your drive to work, or fall asleep to my alien transmissions like my sister does. And let me know you’re out there. I want to help you create original shows for a live audience.
All the performances you’ve seen on stage once lived only in someone’s imagination… Now it’s your turn!
Episode 19 features artist and art teacher, Jan Butler. Jan is a former collaborator and my forever friend. Jan’s background is in 2D, and 3D art, as well as puppeteering. She works with students in stop motion animation, graphic novels, pottery, mask making AND she teaches kids all about monarch butterfly migration and supports the butterfly population in Northeastern Oklahoma. On top of all that, Jan is a member of the Tulsa Oratorio Chorus and a consummate gardener.
Be sure to listen until the end of the interview for Concise Advice from the Interview, and Words of Wisdom from George.
If you haven’t signed up for the SallyPAL freebies like theatre comics, super helpful links and articles, and the awesome cool sections of your Creator’s Notebook, you can sign up on SallyPAL.com/join to get your 20-page free theatre resource. It’s useful, entertaining, and you can do your pop quizzes right out of these pages. We’ll keep building on it every month.
Concise Advice from the Interview:
Here are 10 bits of advice from visual artist Jan Butler for all artists.
10 Layer your learning to build on what you already know
9 Think bigger than the moment you’re doing your art
8 Focus on the story you want to tell
7 Feed and nurture your inner artist
6 For children to feel they can express something in different ways is really important
5 Getting to experience something through different senses before it becomes academic really makes learning stick
4 The opportunity to work at something and fail without being judged for it is really important
3 As a teacher, you can be creative and free to be an artist for you instead of for people who purchase your work
2 Be open and search for new experience for both you and your students to keep it fresh
Episode 17 of the SallyPAL podcast features Steve Barker, beer and booze professional, and a terrific actor who originated the role of Drover in the musical, Hank the Cowdogby David Blakely (based on the books by John R. Erickson) and produced by Tulsa Repertory Musicals.
Steve is currently performing in a new play by Bruce Dean Willis titled Time for Chocolate. The play opens October 6, 2017 and you can purchase your tickets to this exciting original work at www.hellertheatreco.com. The play has metaphysical debates, fight scenes, historical riddles, bawdy rhymes, and of course, mushroom laced hallucinogenic chocolate (no beer and booze) and it all takes place among the Aztecs. Heller Theatre is working in conjunction with Tulsa Latino Theater.
Steve and I didn’t just talk about beer and booze. I did, however, ask him to name what beer and booze went with what playwright. We
Steve has a lot of talent packed into his 6’5″ frame. Most of the time he has to work around his job schedule to be an actor. He is the evening manager of a high end liquor store where he gives advice and offers suggestions on beer and booze. In fact, Steve started a YouTube channel where he talks about beer. He combines his wonderful way of describing the brews he reviews with years of experience in the field. The videos are fun and informative. ThinkinBoutDrinkin is worth a look.
Steve and I also talked about Heller Theatre Company in Tulsa. After 30 years on the scene, Heller Theatre announced this year that is is committing to producing all original work. The group has also hired a resident playwright. That’s where Hank the Cowdog creator David Blakely steps in. This is a thrilling leap of faith for Heller. As Steve and I discussed, producing new work is exciting, but it’s a tough sell. Many theatre goers would prefer to see something they know about or that has a recognizable title. For new works, this doesn’t always happen.
I encourage you to go see all kinds of live performances. But I especially want to encourage the support of new work. New work doesn’t mean it’s set in the modern world, either. The new show this month at Heller by Bruce Dean Willis takes place in ancient Mexico among the Aztecs. There are new works by dance companies, choirs, symphonies, local bands, and, yes, theatre companies. The cool thing about seeing a world premier is that you are the first audience to be part of that work. The final collaborator of a new work is still a collaborator. You influence the work just by being there. I encourage everyone reading SallyPAL.com the blog and listening to SallyPAL the podcast to go see something new. Be the first. If you like it, tell everyone to go see it. You are not simply seeing a show, you are supporting the creation of new work.
Be sure to listen until the end of the interview for Concise Advice from the Interview, and Words of Wisdom from George.
Episode 11 is an interview with Florida choreographer and dance teacher, Nicole Perry.
Nicole holds degrees in Dance and Music and is currently pursuing a PhD in Spirituality and the Arts. Nicole has choreographed for Miami Children’s Theatre, Center City Opera Theater, and was the resident choreographer with Hedgerow Theatre in Philadelphia for 2 seasons before becoming a full-time dance teacher in Florida. Learn more about Nicole at her website: http://nicoleperry.org, where you can also learn about audition coaching when you add “/audition-coaching” to nicoleperry.org.
Be sure to listen until the end for Concise Advice from the Interview, and Words of Wisdom from George.
Physical Difference Diversity is something performing arts can address in creative ways. There are examples of diversity stories on Broadway from the tragic transgender rock opera, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, and the complex family story, “FunHome”, to the racially diverse, “Hamilton”, and the Deaf West Theatre company’s production of “Spring Awakenings”. Diversity has come to mean racial diversity. There’s no doubt we need more people of color on stage. But maybe that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Playwriting for physical difference is one way to chip away at the diversity problem.
Actors in Wheelchairs
One thing we don’t see on stage is actors who use wheelchairs off stage. This year was the Broadway debut of a wheelchair bound performer. Ali Stoker won her role with a killer audition. Her physical difference didn’t deter producers from casting her. And yet there are very few areas of diversity so overlooked. There are characters with physical differences; “Wicked”, “The Glass Menagerie”, “Children of a Lesser God”. Yet, as “New York Times” critic Neil Genzlinger notes, “it remains a rare occurrence, and as a result Broadway remains unrepresentative of the full range of humanity.” The problem with Ali Stoker’s debut is not that she is singing, dancing, and ASL signing lyrics from a wheelchair. The problem is that it happened just this year. After over 150 years of Broadway performances, producers finally decided it was time for wheelchair bound actors to play wheelchair bound characters.
While many call Stoker’s wheelchair debut “inspirational”, all the artist with a disability really wants is an equal opportunity. As audience members, we must support shows that feature a wide range of physical difference. Diversity on stage is both reflective and cutting edge. Over 20% of Americans has a disability. So why are we uncomfortable with disability on stage? Diversity is our strength. If hiding our differences makes us weak, it seems like embracing our physical differences makes us strong.
Nicole Z Nicole Zimmerer is a playwright, and actor. In addition, she’s an advocate for casting people with physical differences. Nicole has been writing and producing plays most of her life. She recently graduated from the University of Houston Playwriting and Dramaturgy program and will study playwriting as a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon in the fall. Nicole and I talk about her beginnings, the Kennedy Center performance of her one act play, “Falling with Grace”, and her recent full-length play, “Thicker Than Honey”. Finally, we discuss her fight to represent artists in wheelchairs through playwriting. As a result of living with Cerebral Palsy, Nicole understands how it feels to speak up for her rights. Finally, she’s being heard.
Extras on SallyPAL
Be sure to listen until the end for Concise Advice from the Interview. I have 5 great bits of advice from the beautiful, funny, fiery, and talented, Nicole Z. Don’t miss Words of Wisdom from George.
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
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.
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.
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