Theaterology: A.C.T.'s New Podcast

Thursday, January 26, 2017

By Shannon Stockwell

Did you know that A.C.T. has a new episodic podcast called Theaterology?

Hosted by Resident Dramaturg Michael Paller and created by me, Publications Associate Shannon Stockwell, each episode of Theaterology dives deep into the plays on our stages. Some episodes are interviews with artists and actors; some are This American Life–style documentaries; some are informative and engaging discussions of historical and contextual topics explored in the plays.

Artwork for Episode 5 of Theaterology. By Shannon Stockwell.
The first season of Theaterology began with our first show of the season, King Charles III. The hit play was about the newly crowned King Charles III fighting against Parliament to keep the press free in the United Kingdom, despite the rampant injuries caused by the tabloid press. The episode, therefore, was an enlightening explanation of the history of press freedom in the United Kingdom, going all the way back to the birth of the printing press.

One of my favorite episodes so far was “A Mask I Do Not Fit,” about the work that the Education & Community Programs Department has done with Downtown High School. A Mask I Do Not Fit was the name of a play created by the DHS students along with A.C.T. and 826 Valencia. The students grappled with the complicated subjects of gender and sexuality and presented a powerful final performance. Along with attending their final performance and talkback, I also spoke with A.C.T. Education & Community Programs Fellow Stephanie Wilborn about the work that the students had done and her hopes for their futures.

Equally exciting has been the opportunity to interview some artists I truly admire, like Brenda Meaney (who played Hilary in Tom Stoppard’s The Hard Problem) and Bill Irwin (whose On Beckett just closed at The Strand Theater). I find that actors are intimately connected with the plays in which they perform because they have committed the words to memory; whenever someone does something over and over again, they are bound to make new and fascinating discoveries about it. This was definitely true of Meaney and Irwin.

Coming up next is my interview with Khaled Hosseini, author of A Thousand Splendid Suns, the stage adaptation of which (written by Ursula Rani Sarma) will premiere on the Geary stage in February. I’m a huge fan of Hosseini’s writing and philanthropy, and it was truly a privilege to hear him talk about his life, his work, and his hopes for this production. Look for it in early February.

A.C.T. is devoted to engaging our audience before and after productions, and Theaterology—perfect for listening to on your commute or while you do dishes —is our newest way to invite you in.

Visit and subscribe to our Soundcloud to listen to Theaterology, as well as recordings of Prologue and Symposium discussions!
 
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