Theatrevoice archive, list of recordings 2008

4th February 2012

in Latest News

Recordings from January 2008

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 8

456 NEW YORK SPECIAL David Cromer, director of the lauded chamber musical The Adding Machine, based on the 1923 Elmer Rice expressionist drama, talks to Philip Fisher, prior to its arrival at the Minetta Lane Theater. “The play concerns itself with a man who on the 25th anniversary of his job… gets replaced by an adding machine.”Recording Date: 02-Jan-2008

457 NEW YORK SPECIAL Jill Paice, co-starring in the Kander and Ebb musical Curtains and soon to play Scarlett O’Hara in the musical of Gone With the Wind, talks to Philip Fisher in a dressing-room at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. “Playing Scarlett O’Hara? It’s very exciting, I’m ecstatic and it still hasn’t sunk in that I’m about to move to London.”Recording Date: 03-Jan-2008

458 ASIAN VOICES Jatinder Verma of Tara, Kristine Landon-Smith of Tamasha, Shobu Kapoor from Kali, and academic researcher Suman Bhuchar join Dominic Cavendish to talk about Asian theatre in the UK: past, present and future. “Right now everyone is in search of ‘the Muslim play’ – we’re trying to understand what’s going on.”Recording Date: 08-Jan-2008

459 ON CRITICISM Ronan McDonald, senior lecturer in Modern English Literature at Reading University and author of the provocatively titled The Death of the Critic (Continuum), talks to Aleks Sierz about recent trends in journalistic criticism – and in academic theory. Recorded at Dewynters, London. “It seems to me that culture works best when literary reviewing and academic criticism come together and crossover.”Recording Date: 11-Jan-2008

460 INTERVIEW: BUDDY DALTONThe alternative theatre impresario, who set up the New End fringe theatre in an abandoned morgue in 1974, talks to her grand-daughter Polly Pearson about the shows, finances and audiences of the 1970s. “My main aim was to create a really comfortable fringe theatre, and to do exceptional work – which we did.”Recording Date: 23-Jan-2008

461 INTERVIEW: BARBARA BAKER The author of Backstage Stories (Continuum) chats to Aleks Sierz about her new book of interviews, which is a behind-the-scenes look at the many different professions, from directors to wig-makers, that are needed in order to create a show. Recorded at Dewynters, London. “Most of these unsung heroes of the theatre were very keen to be interviewed and to tell their own stories.”Recording Date: 25-Jan-2008

462 ARTS COUNCIL DEBATE Josie Rourke, artistic director of the Bush theatre, and Sam Walters, artistic director of the Orange Tree theatre, join the critics Robert Hewison – also representing the National Student Drama Festival – and Fiona Mountford (Evening Standard) to discuss the funding threats facing the sector. Dominic Cavendish hosts. Recorded at Dewynters, London. “No one would reasonably dispute the Arts Council’s right to make choices and cuts – but it needs to be done properly.”Recording Date: 25-Jan-2008

463 INTERVIEW: DES MCANUFF The celebrated director of the London-bound Broadway hit, The Jersey Boys (Prince Edward Theatre), tells Philip Fisher about the show, as well as his time at the La Jolla Playhouse, the Shakespeare Festival at Stratford, Ontario, and Aaron Sorkin’s The Farnsworth Invention. Recording quality: variable. “When you have a big success, it comes to you in dribs and drabs – you never dare expect it will be a tremendous success.”Recording Date: 28-Jan-2008
Recordings from February 2008Total Number of Recordings from this month: 11

464 ARTS COUNCIL DEBATE Barbara Matthews, director of theatre strategy at Arts Council England, defends the controversial funding cuts, emphasises the good news in the recent review, and talks about new writing, peer review and excellence in British theatre. Aleks Sierz quizzes. “An awful lot of people were saying to us, ‘Hurray, thanks for doing this at last, but please don’t quote me.’”Recording Date: 05-Feb-2008

465 INTERVIEW: DOMINIC HILL The new artistic director of Edinburgh’s Traverse talks to Aleks Sierz about his revival of Thomas Babe’s 1978 psycho-thriller, A Prayer for My Daughter (Young Vic), and about his plans for new writing at the Traverse. “The cops are really deeply flawed human beings – they are as emotionally dysfunctional as the criminals.”Recording Date: 05-Feb-2008

466 INTERVIEW: LEANNE JONES The 22-year-old star of the hit musical, Hairspray (Shaftesbury Theatre), chats to Philip Fisher about her amazing leap into the limelight and about life behind the scenes of this surprising West End hit. “I got the phone call while I was working at the Halifax – in my lunch hour. I was sick and just started crying, with joy.”Recording Date: 05-Feb-2008

467 INTERVIEW: STEPHEN UNWIN The artistic director of the new Rose Theatre in Kingston-upon-Thames talks to Heather Neill about the opportunities and challenges of running this unique space with no public funding. “It’s a very good approximation of an Elizabethan playhouse, but it’s brand new and doesn’t have any olde worlde bits.”Recording Date: 05-Feb-2008

468 INTERVIEW: WILLY RUSSELL The legendary playwright talks to Dominic Cavendish about his rewritten classic Stags and Hens (Royal Court Liverpool), and mulls over thoughts about living in Liverpool, working-class experience, and his smash hit Blood Brothers. “I abhor theatre that panders to the lowest common denominator, but I equally abhor theatre that offers bad art.”Recording Date: 06-Feb-2008

469 SHAKESPEARE: DOMINIC DROMGOOLE The artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe tells Heather Neill about the 2008 season, directing Lear and why this unique theatre space needs to stage contemporary plays as well as classics.“I wanted to celebrate what a category-smasher Shakespeare was. Every time he sat down to write a play he reinvented himself.”Recording Date: 08-Feb-2008

470 INTERVIEW: TIM FOUNTAIN The playwright talks to Aleks Sierz about his latest book, So You Want To Be a Playwright? (Nick Hern), creative writing, literary management and his plays, from Resident Alien to Sex Addict. Recorded at the Soho Theatre. “The best stories are the ones we tell against ourselves – no one wants to hear about the great shag you had last week.”Recording Date: 12-Feb-2008

471 INTERVIEW: FIONA EVANSThe author of the controversial play, Scarborough (Royal Court), tells Philip Fisher about her background in community theatre in Newcastle, and about how her play, which was an Edinburgh hit, was developed. “We originally wanted to do Scarborough as a site-specific piece in a real b&b, but it would have cost an absolute fortune.”Recording Date: 14-Feb-2008

472 WEST END REVIEW Brief Encounter (Haymarket Cinema), The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other (National) and Speed the Plow (Old Vic) are assessed by Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune), John Nathan (Jewish Chronicle) and Andrew Haydon (Time Out). David Benedict hosts. Recorded at Dewynters, London. “Part of the strength of the ‘mucking about’ in Brief Encounter is the comic joie de vivre of Kneehigh’s method.”Recording Date: 22-Feb-2008

473 INTERNATIONAL THEATRE Penny Black, founder-member of the Middle East Dramatic Arts Forum, reports on its recent symposium, which included contributions from Lenin El-Ramly (Egypt), Sawsan Darwaza (Jordan), Ziad Adwan (Syria), Sulayman al-Bassam (Kuwait) and Grid Iron. Aleks Sierz quizzes. “The East-West situation is obviously explored a lot, and the feeling in Cairo and across the region is one of uncertainty.”Recording Date: 27-Feb-2008

474 INTERVIEW: DOROTA MASLOWSKA The cult 24-year-old Polish novelist, whose play A Couple of Poor, Polish-Speaking Romanians gets its UK premiere at Soho Theatre, chats to Dominic Cavendish. In Polish and English; Agnieszka Blonska translates. “It’s about modern man – who stops seeing other people as people and just sees the surface.”Recording Date: 29-Feb-2008

Recordings from March 2008

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 8

475 INTERVIEW: LEO BUTLER The playwright talks to Aleks Sierz about his powerful new work, I’ll Be the Devil (Tricycle), an RSC-commissioned response to Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and about the state of new writing in Britain today. “The first image I had was of a redcoat leaning over the shoulder of a woman in rags while all around a storm rages.”Recording Date: 04-Mar-2008

476 INTERVIEW: TERRENCE McNALLY The US playwright talks to Suman Bhuchar about A Perfect Ganesh, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 and now revived for a UK tour by Phizzical Productions. He also discusses other work including his controversial play about Christ, Corpus Christi.“Intuitively I was dealing with my own racism – it’s hard to grow up in society and be impervious to things like racism.”Recording Date: 13-Mar-2008

477 RIGHT TO REPLY The Soho Theatre’s Paul Sirett, co-translator of Dorota Maslowska’s A Couple of Poor, Polish-Speaking Romanians, defends the play against critical brick-bats, and asks why British reviewers have a problem with foreign writers. Aleks Sierz quizzes.“Are we still navel-gazing? When theatres do new work reviewers panic and don’t take the time to investigate anything outside their comfort zone.”Recording Date: 20-Mar-2008

478 INTERVIEW: SACHA WARES The director talks to Aleks Sierz about her production of debbie tucker green’s latest, Random (Royal Court), and about her other stagings of this innovative and provocative playwright’s work.“It’s very detailed, very funny, very observant writing – and you absolutely don’t expect the turn that the play takes.”Recording Date: 20-Mar-2008

479 INTERVEW: DAVID PUGH The top West End producer, who has been responsible for hits such as Art, The Play What I Wrote, Equus and now Yasmina Reza’s The God of Carnage (Gielgud), chats frankly to Philip Fisher about the art of being a theatre impresario. “A lot of producers are rich before they start – I wasn’t. And without being able to raise money, you can’t do the job.”Recording Date: 21-Mar-2008

480 WEST END REVIEW Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) asks David Benedict (Variety), Charles Spencer (Daily Telegraph) and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) to share their verdicts on God of Carnage (Gielgud), Never So Good (National) and Jersey Boys (Prince Edward). Recorded at Dewynters, London.“You could accuse Macmillan of being quite a lot of not very nice things – and Brenton doesn’t… I was terribly moved.”Recording Date: 27-Mar-2008

481 FOCUS ON YOUTH THEATRE (1/2) Heather Neill talks to Roy Williams, Dennis Kelly and Lin Coghlan about their plays – Baby Girl, DNA and The Miracle – which are currently running at the National, and originated in the NT Connections festival of work for young people.“I’ve always been interested in magical realism and fantasy, and in different realities happening at the same time.”Recording Date: 26-Mar-2008

482 FOCUS ON YOUTH THEATRE (2/2) Heather Neill continues her chat with Roy Williams, Dennis Kelly and Lin Coghlan about their plays for the National Theatre: Baby Girl, DNA and The Miracle.“There is a general youth-speak twang in the way they’re speaking – it’s a kind of Londonese, shared between different cultural groups.”Recording Date: 26-Mar-2008
Recordings from April 2008Total Number of Recordings from this month: 4

483 THEATRE BOOK PRIZE 2007Ian Herbert, Chairman of the Society for Theatre Research, introduces Howard Loxton, creator of the prize, judges Jeffery Richards, Sian Phillips and Claire Allfree, plus presenter Donald Sinden.“Michael Billington’s State of the Nation was hugely ambitious and it had so much about the movements I’ve lived through.”Recording Date: 01-Apr-2008

484 INTERVIEW: PETER GILL (1/2) The veteran director and playwright speaks to Aleks Sierz about his own production of his 1976 play, Small Change (currently revived at the Donmar), and about his early career at the Royal Court in the late 1950s and 1960s.“The thing I noticed this time is that Gerard and Mrs Driscoll never meet – which must mean something…”Recording Date: 23-Apr-2008

485 INTERVIEW: PETER GILL (2/2) The veteran director and playwright speaks some more to Aleks Sierz about his own production of his 1976 play, Small Change (currently revived at the Donmar), and about his early career at the Royal Court in the late 1950s and 1960s.“Joan Littlewood’s Stratford East was the place to go to see things – there was never a dud show there ever.”Recording Date: 23-Apr-2008

486 WEST END REVIEW Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) asks David Benedict (Variety), Charles Spencer (Daily Telegraph) and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) to share their verdicts on Gone with the Wind (New London), Fram (National), Harper Regan (National) and Small Change (Donmar). Recorded at Dewynters, London.“Trevor Nunn has been responsible for some of the greatest evenings of my life – I cannot believe he did Gone with the Wind.”Recording Date: 25-Apr-2008
Recordings from May 2008Total Number of Recordings from this month: 11

487 SHAKESPEARE: THE HISTORY PLAYS (2/2) As the RSC’s monumental Histories cycle nears the end of its run at the Roundhouse in London, its master-planner talks to Heather Neill about the company’s awfully big adventure. Also: listen to the first part of this discussion: www.theatrevoice.com/listen_now/player/?audioID=480. “The sense of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts was of course at the heart of the project.”Recording Date: 01-May-2008

488 STATE OF PLAY (1/2) Guardian critic Michael Billington considers plays today, with a panel of industry insiders: Almeida artistic director Michael Attenborough, producer Sonia Friedman, director and writer Peter Gill, director Edward Hall and playwright Roy Williams. Part of Society of London Theatre’s Celebrate the Play initiative, marking SOLT’s 100th anniversary. Recorded at the Royal Court.“The stars will only do 10 or 12 weeks now. It doesn’t take a lot to work out that you have to be pretty much a sell-out to just break even.”Recording Date: 07-May-2008

489 STATE OF PLAY (2/2) Q&A: Guardian critic Michael Billington considers plays today, with a panel of industry insiders: Almeida artistic director Michael Attenborough, producer Sonia Friedman, director and writer Peter Gill, director Edward Hall and playwright Roy Williams. Part of Society of London Theatre’s Celebrate the Play initiative, marking SOLT’s 100th anniversary. Recorded at the Royal Court.“The process of involving young people in the theatre is quite a sophisticated one – you can’t just herd them off coaches.”Recording Date: 07-May-2008

490 INTERVIEW: ROXANA SILBERT The artistic director of Paines Plough new writing combo talks to Philip Fisher about Mark Ravenhill’s epic 16-play cycle, Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat, and about the challenges and opportunities of running a touring company.“We took a complete risk because we had no idea about what Mark would write – but the work is of a consistently high quality.”Recording Date: 14-May-2008

491 INTERVIEW: DAVID FARR The artistic director of the Lyric, Hammersmith, talks to Dominic Cavendish about his staging of the fiftieth anniversary production of Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party, and about the play’s personal significance for its author.“I was beautifully aware of the irony of the fact that a play that had been deemed an utter failure is now a classic.”Recording Date: 21-May-2008

492 INTERVIEW: JAMES MACDONALD (1/2) The director talks to Aleks Sierz about Peter Handke’s 1992 classic The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other (National), a 100-minute play in which not a word is spoken.“For a theatre audience, silence is difficult, really quite disturbing, but the piece itself is very easy.”Recording Date: 23-May-2008

493 INTERVIEW: JAMES MACDONALD (2/2) The director talks to Aleks Sierz about Sarah Kane’s posthumous 4.48 Psychosis (Royal Court) and about his recent production of Caryl Churchill’s Drunk Enough To Say I Love You. Excerpt.“Having just one actor felt totally wrong for the first production, when we were making the case for this being a play.”Recording Date: 23-May-2008

494 HOWARD BARKER SPECIAL An illuminating symposium on the playwright’s work, chaired by critic Mark Brown, with contributions from Howard Barker, Hugh Hodgart (Head of Acting, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama) and Liam Brennan (actor and co-director, with Hodgart, of a revival of Wounds to the Face). Recorded at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow. Excerpt, recording made by www.zawrapp.co.uk.“You cannot begin to fully understand the meaning of Howard’s plays until they are being spoken on stage.”Recording Date: 24-May-2008

495 WEST END REVIEW Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) invites his guests Kate Bassett (Independent on Sunday), David Benedict (Variety) and Charles Spencer (Telegraph) to cast a critical eye over The Pitmen Painters (National), That Face (Duke of York’s), The Deep Blue Sea (Vaudeville), Good Soul of Szechuan (Young Vic) and Rosmersholm (Almeida). Recorded at Dewynters, London.“I would hesitate to send my worst enemy to Deep Blue Sea, because to me this is a really shoddily cast, poorly directed production.”Recording Date: 27-May-2008

496 INTERVIEW: NEIL LABUTE The top American playwright and director talks to Philip Fisher about his controversial new play, Fat Pig (Trafalgar Studios), his career in film, the joys and perils of New York theatre, and his upcoming Reasons To Be Pretty on Broadway.“I go where the wind blows me: when I have a story that I’m happy with, I write it and hope it will be a good night out.”Recording Date: 28-May-2008

497 SHAKESPEARE: THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR Director Christopher Luscombe talks to Heather Neill about staging Shakespeare’s bourgeois comedy at the Globe – and the play’s affinities with British sitcoms such as Fawlty Towers. “The play is often called a sitcom – that can be a glib comment – but I think there’s nothing to be ashamed of in that comparison.”Recording Date: 29-May-2008
Recordings from June 2008

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 9

498 INTERVIEW: STEVE WATERS (1/2) The playwright tells Aleks Sierz about his new play, Fast Labour (Hampstead/West Yorks Playhouse), which is about Victor, a migrant worker from the Ukraine. “If the play is seen as being just about East Europeans in Britain, it’s failed – it’s about how we now live and work.”Recording Date: 03-Jun-2008

499 INTERVIEW: STEVE WATERS (2/2) The playwright tells Aleks Sierz about his running of the MPhil in Playwriting at Birmingham University, and discusses the state of new writing in Britain today.“There is an eclecticism and diversity, and a real desire to tell quite big stories, which I find particularly refreshing.”Recording Date: 03-Jun-2008

500 INTERVIEW: CATHERINE JOHNSON The mega-successful playwright/ creative force behind the international smash-hit Abba musical Mamma Mia! talks to Philip Fisher ahead of the show’s big-screen release.“As I read along with the lyrics I could feel the story somehow coming to life – if it hadn’t been for the lyrics, the story wouldn’t have that shape.”Recording Date: 05-Jun-2008

501 INTERVIEW: ANDY ARNOLD The artistic director of the Tron, in Glasgow, talks to Mark Brown about his ambitions for the theatre, his long stewardship of The Arches and thoughts on the Scottish theatre scene.“It’s not ‘out of the woods’ in terms of there being a more secure base for the development of Scottish arts. It’s got a long way to go.”Recording Date: 09-Jun-2008

502 SHAKESPEARE: TROILUS AND CRESSIDA Declan Donnellan, the artistic director of Cheek by Jowl, talks to Heather Neill in detail about his production of Troilus and Cressida – presented as part of his company’s residency programme at the Barbican.“There’s a marvellous essay by Nuttall in a book called Shakespeare the Thinker, where he makes the brilliant observation that Hamlet wrote Troilus and Cressida.”Recording Date: 12-Jun-2008

503 INTERVIEW: MELLY STILL The award-winning director and designer talks to Heather Neill in detail about Thomas Middleton’s The Revenger’s Tragedy, currently being revived at the National Theatre with Rory Kinnear as Vindice.“He is satirising male-assumed supremacy. You get the feeling with Middleton that he thinks justice is a woman.”Recording Date: 13-Jun-2008

504 INTERVIEW: MIKE ALFREDS (1/2) The legendary director talks to Aleks Sierz about his new book on acting, Different Every Night (Nick Hern), and remembers his experiences of heading Shared Experience from 1975 until 1988.“Without actors, there is no theatre – the actors are what give theatre life, and my big thing is that theatre is live.”Recording Date: 27-Jun-2008

505 INTERVIEW: MIKE ALFREDS (2/2) The legendary director talks to Aleks Sierz about his new book on acting, Different Every Night (Nick Hern), and remembers his experiences of heading Shared Experience from 1975 until 1988. “In rehearsal, instead of asking, what is that actor doing?, you should ask, what is that character doing?”Recording Date: 27-Jun-2008

506 WEST END REVIEW Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) invites his guests Charles Spencer (Telegraph), David Benedict (Variety) and John Nathan (Jewish Chronicle) to assess The Revenger’s Tragedy (National), Afterlife (National), The Chalk Garden (Donmar Warehouse) and Black Watch (Barbican). Recorded at Dewynters, London.“Michael Grandage is now our best director it seems to me – he so rarely puts a foot wrong. Will The Chalk Garden transfer? If it doesn’t there’s something really sick in the West End.”Recording Date: 27-Jun-2008

Recordings from July 2008

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 14

507 INTERVIEW: GREGORY BURKE The playwright talks to Philip Fisher about his mega-hit Black Watch (National Theatre of Scotland, 2006), which has just marched triumphantly into London’s Barbican theatre, on its world tour.“The show has been to some unconventional venues, such as an old industrial shed in Pitlochry and a school gym in Aberdeen.”Recording Date: 01-Jul-2008

508 FOCUS ON PUBLISHING (1/2) Theatre book publisher Nick Hern, whose company celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, talks to Aleks Sierz about the highs and lows of the business. “In 1993, I set up in my back bedroom, classic small publishing stuff, and with the help of a loan from a friend.”Recording Date: 04-Jul-2008

509 FOCUS ON PUBLISHING (2/2) Theatre book publisher Nick Hern, whose company celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, talks to Aleks Sierz about the highs and lows of the business.“There is a nexus of plays that do very well – they are all about issues and are greatly liked by schools because they have no sex or violence.”Recording Date: 04-Jul-2008

510 EDINBURGH FESTIVAL 2008 Vicky Featherstone, artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland, talks to Mark Brown about one of the highlights of the International Festival, the premiere of David Harrower’s 365, about the journey of vulnerable and damaged young people out of the care system.“The really extraordinary thing about these children is that they often don’t know what their own truth is.”Recording Date: 08-Jul-2008

511 INTERVIEW: ROGER ALLAM The actor who plays German impressario Max Reinhardt in Michael Frayn’s Afterlife (National Theatre) talks to Philip Fisher about the role, and about his career, in which he has played other historical figures, from Adolf Hitler to Willy Brandt.“Playing a real person does have its challenges – we only have other people’s accounts of what Reinhardt was like.”Recording Date: 09-Jul-2008

512 INTERVIEW: CHRIS GRADY The founder of Musical Theatre Matters (MTM: UK), which champions new musicals in Britain, talks to Peter Huntley about the state of new work in the UK, and about the George Square Theatre, a venue dedicated to musicals at the Edinburgh Festival.“I think it is very sad that there are so many projects involving US writers, and so few still for UK writers of new musicals.”Recording Date: 17-Jul-2008

513 INTERVIEW: JOSIE ROURKE The artistic director of the Bush theatre chats to Dominic Cavendish about the multi-authored Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover, which hits London after wowing festivalgoers in Suffolk. Recorded at the Latitude festival. “It’s about loving and losing – or loving and repelling. Lots of dumping by text, which we are generally against – are we not people?”Recording Date: 18-Jul-2008

514 INTERVIEW: REBECCA LENKIEWICZ The playwright talks to Philip Fisher about her history-making debut at the National’s Oliver theatre with Her Naked Skin, a new history play all about the Suffragettes.“The acting fed into the writing – it felt like a very natural progression of working with words.”Recording Date: 23-Jul-2008

515 BLACK VOICES: MICHAEL BHIM (1/2) Steven Luckie talks to the rising playwright about his development and work. He talks about the influence of Continental European literature on his outlook. Expletives not deleted. “When I went into theatre I was after trying to capture life and bottle it – to make tangible what’s intangible.”Recording Date: 23-Jul-2008

516 BLACK VOICES: MICHAEL BHIM (2/2)Steven Luckie talks to the rising playwright about his development and work, including Pure Gold, which was staged at Soho Theatre. Expletives not deleted.“’Black’ is dead – the concept of what it stands for doesn’t really help me in any way. I can’t stand black theatre – with a passion.”Recording Date: 23-Jul-2008

517 BLACK VOICES: OLA ANIMASHAWUN The Associate Director of the Royal Court (Diversity) and former head of the venue’s hugely successful Young Writers Programme talks to Steven Luckie about his career and vision for theatre today. “Within various communities, most people think you still have to dress up – and you won’t feel comfortable being in a theatre.”Recording Date: 24-Jul-2008

518 ASIAN VOICES: ANUPAMA CHANDRASEKHAR AND LOLITA CHAKRABARTI The playwright and the actor talk to Suman Bhuchar about the taboo-busting play, Free Outgoing (Royal Court), which is now touring to the Traverse, Edinburgh.“When a lot of the audience was Indian, the response has been more vocal – they immediately get the shocking nature of the material.”Recording Date: 25-Jul-2008

519 INTERVIEW: DAVID ELDRIDGE (1/2) The playwright talks to Heather Neill about the West End revival of his 2000 drama, Under the Blue Sky (Duke of York’s), and about his background and career.“By the time I’d finished writing the play, I had different interests and wanted to write about middle-class experiences.”Recording Date: 30-Jul-2008

520 INTERVIEW: DAVID ELDRIDGE (2/2) The playwright talks to Heather Neill about the West End revival of his 2000 drama, Under the Blue Sky (Duke of York’s), and about what’s wrong with the new writing scene in Britain today.“Whether you are writing naturalistically or non-naturalistically, you are always trying to write at the speed of an actor’s thought.”Recording Date: 30-Jul-2008
Recordings from August 2008

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 10
521 CLEAN BREAK SPECIAL Playwright Chloe Moss, author of This Wide Night (Soho and tour), and its director Lucy Morrison, head of new writing at Clean Break, talk to Aleks Sierz about their work with women prisoners.“I wasn’t quite prepared for that feeling of claustrophobia you get when the prison door closes behind you.”Recording Date: 01-Aug-2008

522 FOCUS ON ACTING (1/2) Actor and teacher Bella Merlin, author of The Complete Stanislavski Toolkit (Nick Hern, 2007), talks to Aleks Sierz about the importance of the ideas of Konstantin Stanislavski for performance today. Recorded at Dewynters, London.“In the studios around the Moscow Art Theatre, there were a lot of yogic practices and spiritual things.”Recording Date: 08-Aug-2008

523 FOCUS ON ACTING (2/2) Actor and teacher Bella Merlin, author of The Complete Stanislavski Toolkit (Nick Hern, 2007), talks to Aleks Sierz about how to recognise honest acting both on stage and on film. Recorded at Dewynters, London.“You can watch an hour-long play and if the actors aren’t listening to each other it will feel like three hours.”Recording Date: 08-Aug-2008

524 EDINBURGH FRINGE 2008 Mark Watson, who is appearing on the Fringe with All the Thoughts I’ve Had Since I Was Born at the Pleasance, talks to Philip Fisher about his life in comedy.“I am quite a twitchy hyperactive personality – it would be impossible to lose that without ceasing to be creative, but I’m trying to balance that with not having a heart attack.”Recording Date: 08-Aug-2008

525 EDINBURGH FRINGE 2008 Playwright and performer Owen O’Neill talks to Philip Fisher about his Fringe hit in the making – Absolution at the Assembly Rooms on George Street; a monologue about paedophilia, the priesthood and vigilante vengeance.“It’s about the psychological journey of a man who has had a terrible experience when he was a child.”Recording Date: 08-Aug-2008

526 RIGHT TO REPLY Director Katie Mitchell answers criticisms of her current multimedia work, …some trace of her (National) and Waves (National/Broadway), as well as of her 2006 production of Chekhov’s The Seagull (National), and explains her working methods to Aleks Sierz. Recorded at the National Theatre.“I began to wonder whether a neat linear narrative is the best way of communicating the experience of life.”Recording Date: 12-Aug-2008

527 EDINBURGH 2008 Jonathan Mills, the director of the Edinburgh International Festival, talks to Philip Fisher about this year’s programme and especially its embrace of Europe’s expanded frontiers, including the Polish revival of Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis.“It’s a very exciting time to live in Europe, it’s a challenging time – but it’s certainly a time worth focusing on in the programme.”Recording Date: 16-Aug-2008

528 EDINBURGH 2008 REVIEW Philip Fisher joins guests Dominic Cavendish and Mark Fisher to weigh up the highs and lows of the Edinburgh Fringe (and International festival) towards the end of the final week.“The understated quality of Charlie Victor Romeo is reflected in the other stand-out verbatim pieces.”Recording Date: 19-Aug-2008

529 SHAKESPEARE: HAMLET Gregory Doran, who directs David Tennant in Hamlet at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon now and in London this autumn, talks to Heather Neill about the play and his production.“David Tennant has charisma – you want a Hamlet you’re glad to see when he comes back on the stage.”Recording Date: 19-Aug-2008

530 EDINBURGH FRINGE 2008 Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood, co-directors of the Underbelly venues, give their overview of 2008′s underperforming Fringe – and outline what needs to be done to improve the state of play. Dominic Cavendish quizzes.“No one ever says ‘sorry’ any more – there’s a lot of anger out there… the Fringe was very nearly a disaster.”Recording Date: 22-Aug-2008
Recordings from September 2008Total Number of Recordings from this month: 8

531 INTERVIEW: GLYN MAXWELL The poet and novelist talks to Heather Neill about his latest play, Liberty (Shakespeare’s Globe), a verse adaptation of Anatole France’s 1912 novel Les Dieux Ont Soif (The Gods Are Thirsty), set during the Terror in the French Revolution.“I was shocked after 9/11 by the reflex knee-jerk anti-Americanism, because that can easily turn into tacit support for what was attacking western civilisation.”Recording Date: 08-Sep-2008

532 PETER NICHOLS SPECIAL (1/2) The playwright interviewed by Jamie Andrews and Alec Patton at the British Library conference, The Golden Generation? New Light on British Theatre between 1945 and 1968, held on 8-9 September 2008. Part of the AHRC-sponsored Theatre Archive Project, a collaboration between the British Library and the University of Sheffield. Recorded live. “I’m largely an autobiographical writer, and I say, This is more or less me. But my plays are also very much a collage.”Recording Date: 09-Sep-2008

533 PETER NICHOLS SPECIAL (2/2) Q&A. The playwright answers questions from the audience at the British Library conference, The Golden Generation? New Light on British Theatre between 1945 and 1968, held on 8-9 September 2008. Part of the AHRC-sponsored Theatre Archive Project, a collaboration between the British Library and the University of Sheffield. Recorded live. “In the 1950s, the curtain rose on middle-class rooms with French windows – any variation on that was considered avant-garde.”Recording Date: 09-Sep-2008

534 INTERVIEW: IDINA MENZEL The American Tony Award-winning actress, singer and songwriter, and star of Wicked and Rent, is on the way to becoming a pop diva. She talks to Philip Fisher about her career to date.“I used to be so ambitious and meticulous about every choice – as you get older you realise you’ve got to let go.”Recording Date: 24-Sep-2008

535 INTERVIEW: ALECKY BLYTHE The theatre-maker talks to Aleks Sierz about her current verbatim piece, The Girlfriend Experience (Royal Court), which is set in a seaside brothel, and about how her company, Recorded Delivery, developed its unique techniques.“The woman who owned the parlour said, Yeah, put our story out – we’re sick of being seen as junkies or Belle de Jour types.”Recording Date: 25-Sep-2008

536 WEST END REVIEW Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) invites guests Charles Spencer (Telegraph), David Benedict (Variety) and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) to chew over London’s big autumnal productions: Ivanov (Wyndham’s), Six Characters in Search of an Author (Gielgud), Now or Later (Royal Court), Riflemind (Trafalgar Studios), Rain Man (Apollo) and in-i (National Theatre). Recorded at Dewynters, London.“Without Pirandello we wouldn’t have had Pinter or Beckett, all sorts of people. This is the missing link play.”Recording Date: 26-Sep-2008

537 GOLDEN GENERATION SPECIAL (1/2) The British Library’s Jamie Andrews, Head of Modern Literary Manuscripts, and co-curator Alec Patton discuss their current exhibition, The Golden Generation: British Theatre 1945-1968, with Aleks Sierz. Recorded at the British Library.“In those days, very few plays were published, so the copies in the Lord Chamberlain’s archive are sometimes unique.”Recording Date: 29-Sep-2008

538 GOLDEN GENERATION SPECIAL (2/2) The British Library’s Jamie Andrews, Head of Modern Literary Manuscripts, and co-curator Alec Patton continue their discussion of The Golden Generation: British Theatre 1945-1968, with Aleks Sierz. Recorded at the British Library.“Pinter’s first play, The Room, was put on in a disused squash court – which is still there – at Bristol University.”Recording Date: 29-Sep-2008
Recordings from October 2008

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 9

539 ASIAN VOICES: PAUL BHATTACHARJEE The actor, currently appearing in a restaging of Complicite’s 2007 play, A Disappearing Number (Barbican), inspired by the collaboration between Indian autodidact Srinivasa Ramanujan and Cambridge professor GH Hardy, talks to Suman Bhuchar.“The play doesn’t feel in any way old to us – it is still vibrant and it really is still improving.”Recording Date: 09-Oct-2008
540 INTERVIEW: PETER NICHOLS The veteran playwright, now 81, chats to Dominic Cavendish about the autobiographical basis for Privates on Parade, revived by Ian Brown at West Yorkshire Playhouse and Birmingham Rep, and reminisces about comedians Kenneth Williams and Stanley Baxter, with whom he served in the Combined Services Entertainment concert party in Singapore in 1947.“I all the time felt with television that I wanted input from the audience – what are we doing talking to each other when we could be talking to them?”Recording Date: 13-Oct-2008
541 INTERVIEW: FIN KENNEDY (1/2) The playwright discusses his 2007 award-winning play, How To Disappear Completely and Never Be Found (currently at the Southwark), and the research behind his ideas. Aleks Sierz asks the questions. Recorded at Dewynters, London. “The protagonist is alive and dead at the same time so reality is split into two: the last 48 hours of his life alongside him waking up in the morgue.”Recording Date: 16-Oct-2008
542 INTERVIEW: FIN KENNEDY (2/2) The playwright discusses the new writing scene, as well as his work with young people, especially Mehndi Night (Mulberry School) and Locked In (Half Moon). Aleks Sierz asks the questions. Recorded at Dewynters, London. “The education sector creates a lot of new work, most of which is invisible, and so it is one of the largest employers of creative artists.”Recording Date: 16-Oct-2008
543 INTERVIEW: SIMON STEPHENS (1/2) The playwright talks to Aleks Sierz about his latest play, Pornography, which was a major hit at this year’s Edinburgh Festival, but had its first production in Germany, directed by Sebastian Nubling.“Surrounding me was a culture that was struggling to sustain itself – and people were transgressing. There was a tear in the fabric.”Recording Date: 20-Oct-2008
544 INTERVIEW: SIMON STEPHENS (2/2) The playwright talks to Aleks Sierz about the genesis, theme and form of his other 2008 play, Harper Regan (National), which was directed by Marianne Elliott and starred Lesley Sharp.“It’s a deliberately grey area: whether the photographs he took in the park of children were made with sexual intent.”Recording Date: 20-Oct-2008
545 INTERVIEW: MICHAEL ATTENBOROUGH (1/2) The artistic director of the Almeida Theatre in north London talks to Aleks Sierz about directing Neil LaBute’s latest, In a Dark Dark House, which opens in November, as well as about the importance of American drama.“Neil is fearless: he writes with a piercing frankness and directness, and I find his plays very accurate and believable.”Recording Date: 21-Oct-2008
546 INTERVIEW: MICHAEL ATTENBOROUGH (2/2) The artistic director of the Almeida Theatre in north London talks to Aleks Sierz about the running of the theatre and previews its upcoming 2009 season, which features a mix of rarely performed classics, better-known plays and new work.“The Almeida is very much an actor’s space – it makes them look good, so I’m constantly looking for plays that are written fabulously for actors.”Recording Date: 21-Oct-2008
547 SOAP BOX DEBATE: Artists Should Elect Their Own Parliament. David Farr, artistic director of the Lyric Hammersmith, and National Theatre associate director Tom Morris propose the motion; Richard Noble, lecturer in Fine Art at Goldsmith’s College, and playwright and satirist Alistair Beaton oppose. Journalist Patrick Marmion chairs. Recorded at the Young Vic. Sound quality: variable.“How are they to select people who are capable of professional peer review? Why not reform the process within the existing structure?”Recording Date: 22-Oct-2008
Recordings from November 2008

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 10

548 INTERVIEW: PETER GILL The playwright and director talks to Heather Neill about Apprenticeship (Oberon), a new book reflecting on a long-lost diary that documented the RSC’s pioneering 1962 production of Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle – in which Gill acted.“To have just a ‘directorial theatre’ is boring. I keep seeing things where the production gets in your way.”Recording Date: 01-Nov-2008
549 INTERVIEW: ENDA WALSH (1/2) The playwright talks to Aleks Sierz about his scintillating 2006 play for Druid, The Walworth Farce (now at the National), and about the mechanics of keeping a farce moving. Expletives not deleted.“When it’s blood, and your family history, sometimes you hear a version of a story that’s completely not the way you saw it.”Recording Date: 03-Nov-2008
550 INTERVIEW: ENDA WALSH (2/2) The playwright talks to Aleks Sierz about his career, from the classic Disco Pigs (Corcadorca, 1996) through to his current film, Hunger (Steve McQueen) and his Dostoyevsky adaptation for Theatre O, Delirium (Barbican, 2008). Expletives not deleted.“I’m interested in very small, claustrophobic situations and the effects that the outside world has on them.”Recording Date: 03-Nov-2008
551 INTERVEW: ALEXIS ZEGERMAN The actor and playwright chats to Aleks Sierz about her full-length debut, Lucky Seven (Hampstead), which was inspired by the 1963 Seven Up! television documentary series, as well as about working as a theatre and film actor with director Mike Leigh.“I do think that we have this weird fetish for looking at celebrities, and at ordinary people in general, on reality TV.”Recording Date: 06-Nov-2008
552 INTERVIEW: SAMUEL WEST Heather Neill talks to the actor and director about his career, his passion for verse drama and his approach to playing the part of Harry in The Family Reunion, the centrepiece of the Donmar Warehouse’s current TS Eliot festival.“What is fascinating and difficult for a non-believer is to trust the idea of redemption that lies behind this play – because that’s what Eliot adds to the Greek story.”Recording Date: 11-Nov-2008
553 INTERVIEW: CAROLINE CLEGG The director and producer talks on the telephone to Aleks Sierz about Eloquent Protest, an annual Remembrance Sunday event that both commemorates the victims of war and protests against conflict, and her work with Feelgood site-specific company in Manchester. Sound quality: variable. “We finished off with ‘Let the Sun Shine in’ from Hair, on its 40th anniversary, and as our message of hope to Obama.”Recording Date: 11-Nov-2008
554 INTERVIEW: BETH TRACHTENBERG The tyro producer tells Philip Fisher how she raised £4.5million to put on a new West End musical, Imagine This (New London Theatre), set in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942, and why she thinks it is an important show.“I believe that this is a show that screams to be exposed to the public – and I don’t see it as a holocaust musical.”Recording Date: 12-Nov-2008
555 INTERVIEW: SCOTT GRAHAM AND STEVEN HOGGETT The joint-artistic directors of Frantic Assembly, talk to Philip Fisher about their radical new vision of Shakespeare’s Othello (currently playing at the Lyric, Hammersmith), and about the path from dance theatre that has led them to it.“He said, ‘It’s full of violence, revenge, hatred, nastiness and sexual intrigue, jealousy. It’s all the things that you’re obsessed with.’”Recording Date: 14-Nov-2008
556 INTERVIEW: ADRIANO SHAPLIN The American playwright and director talks about his first commission for the Royal Shakespeare Company: The Tragedy of Thomas Hobbes (currently at Wilton’s Music Hall). Mark Brown quizzes.“I make the claim that 85 per cent of the play is true. When you make art you shouldn’t write about what you know, but about what you don’t know.”Recording Date: 23-Nov-2008
557 INTERVIEW: TRACY LETTS The American writer and actor talks to Philip Fisher about the inspiration behind his multi-award-winning Broadway hit, August: Osage County, now at the National, and his career in the theatre.“We became aware that we’ve tapped into a need on the audience’s part and when you do that it’s very gratifying.”Recording Date: 28-Nov-2008

Recordings from December 2008

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 6
558 WEST END REVIEW (1/2) Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) and guests David Benedict (Variety), Charles Spencer (Telegraph) and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) consider Ralph Fiennes in Oedipus (National), TS Eliot’s The Family Reunion (Donmar Warehouse) and Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County (National).“August: Osage County is a fantastically assured, confident pastiche but with utterly convincing actors from the Steppenwolf company.”Recording Date: 05-Dec-2008
559 WEST END REVIEW (2/2) Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) and guests David Benedict (Variety), Charles Spencer (Telegraph) and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) consider Neil LaBute’s In a Dark Dark House (Almeida), David Hare’s Gethsemane (National) and Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, revived by Trevor Nunn at the Menier Chocolate Factory. “Gethsemane doesn’t really know what it’s about… It’s hardly the great state-of-the-nation play it probably thinks it is.”Recording Date: 05-Dec-2008

560 INTERVIEW: TOM MORRIS and FELIX BARRETT The associate director of the National Theatre and Punchdrunk director chat during rehearsals for Tom Stoppard’s Every Good Boy Deserves Favour about their co-directed National Theatre revival – and how they met. Dominic Cavendish quizzes. Excerpt. “The received wisdom is that if you want to do any work with classically trained musicians, you just run into a brick wall of custom and practise.”Recording Date: 18-Dec-2008

561 ON CRITICISM (1/2) Whinger Andrew and Whinger Phil, authors of the West End Whingers blog, talk to Aleks Sierz about about how they got started, the state of London theatre seating and the shock of negative feedback. Recorded at the Soho Theatre. “We’ve both got full-time jobs, so it’s much easier to put something provocative on the blog and let other people do the work.”Recording Date: 20-Dec-2008

562 ON CRITICISM (2/2) Whinger Andrew and Whinger Phil, authors of the West End Whingers blog, talk to Aleks Sierz about the future of the blogosphere, reviewing conventions, editorial control and the satisfying taste of bitterness. Recorded at the Soho Theatre. “What was interesting about the Royal Court debate was how the whole issue kept getting sucked towards the question of who pays critics’ salaries.”Recording Date: 20-Dec-2008

563 INTERVIEW: ADAM GARCIA Philip Fisher catches up with the Australian Saturday Night Fever heartthrob in Paris, where he is starring in director Jude Kelly’s 2005 ENO revival of Leonard Bernstein’s On the Town (Theatre du Chatelet).“It was the first musical that the ENO was performing and so there was the hype and the controversy that came with that.”Recording Date: 27-Dec-2008

Leave a Comment