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Play Ground

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Play Ground

Nancy Netherwood & Sam Webber

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A fortnightly theatre bookclub hosted by Nancy Netherwood and Sam Webber. Every other Thursday we take a deep dive into a different play from a range of genres, writers, times and places - join in the conversation over on Twitter, @playgroundpoddy
 
Created and hosted by Ian Rickson, one of British theatre’s most celebrated directors, What I Love is a series of intimate conversations with actors, writers, comedians, and producers, conducted on the empty stages of some of Britain’s most iconic theatres, shut down due to the pandemic. Against this backdrop of isolation and loss, guests explore what matters most to them through sharing three cultural highlights: a cherished piece of writing, a memorable song and a favourite film. Guests in ...
 
The Arthur Miller Society Podcast was set up in the summer of 2020 by Dr. Ciarán Leinster and Dr. Ambika Singh. Intended to be a resource for school teachers, academics, casual theatregoers, and everyone in between, we'll be featuring interviews with scholars and educators; discussions of Miller productions and Miller-related media; and tell some of the less well-known stories from the life of one of America's greatest writers.
 
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The Hothouse (so called because the house is...hot?) is a 1980 play by Harold Pinter which was actually written in 1958, but still has his signature style of heightened language, biting edge and yes, lots of famous pauses. It's been a while since we did one of these, so there's lots of catching up to do on theatre and genre-based theatre, as well a…
 
Over the last six months Ciarán and Ambika have been busy correcting essays, finding new jobs, getting vaccinated, and trying to read Gravity's Rainbow, and suddenly all that time passed without a new episode! To mark the beginning of the new semester, we spoke with Prof. Ann C Hall about the relationship between Arthur Miller and Harold Pinter. Tw…
 
Six Characters is a modern classic. Or maybe just a classic. It's hard to know where the age boundaries for those things are. Either way in this play Pirandello brings an early example of going full meta in theatre, introducing a rehearsal room full of actors (and maybe the real director, stage manager and technician) to a group of fictional charac…
 
The Woods is poetry on the stage. Okay, so all plays are poetry on the stage, but this one even more so. Inhabiting an American woodland and also a British kitchen, our protagonist 'The Woman' is continually haunted by 'The Wolf,' an evil figure who may be her son that was, or an abusive partner, or her inner psyche, or the outside world, or probab…
 
This is the second in McCraney's 'Brother Sister Plays' trilogy, though is the first one he wrote. Drawing on Yoruba cosmology transposed into present day Louisiana, The Brothers Size is a poetic yet brutally grounded story of two brothers trying to reconnect after one returns from a stint in prison. Emotions abound. Have some feedback? A play you'…
 
This 2000 play is a landmark text in verbatim theatre. Documenting the aftermath of the 1998 murder of Laramie, Wyoming resident Matthew Shepard, The Laramie Project is a collation of almost 2 years of interviews with Laramie residents. All at once it is a portrait of a town, a stark warning, an examination of everyday human hypocrisy, an advocatio…
 
This 1930s play is about two single women who run a girls' school together, and how their lives are brought crashing down when a student accuses them of lesbianism. We discuss the play's treatment of queer issues, its place (or not) on today's stage, and the eerily accurate depiction of lockdown life in Act 3. Have some feedback? A play you'd like …
 
Part 2 of an Oresteia double bill, this time we take a look at Robert Icke's totally new adaptation of last episode's classic. We talk altering plot points, phycological complexity, and the time period-fluid setting of Icke's plays. Have some feedback? A play you'd like us to cover? Visit the official podcast twitter @playgroundpoddy Chat to host N…
 
First part of an Oresteia double bill, this time we take a look at a straight translation of the original. We talk gender representation, off-stage gore, and the complexities of justice (which is funner than it sounds) Have some feedback? A play you'd like us to cover? Visit the official podcast twitter @playgroundpoddy Chat to host Nancy @N_Nether…
 
March is Women's History Month in the UK, the US, and Australia, and so we've dedicated this episode of the Arthur Miller Society Podcast to discussing Arthur Miller's female characters. We spoke with senior Miller scholar Prof. Jane K. Dominik about what critics and scholars may have missed when discussing Miller's female characters, the impact of…
 
Crazy stage directions? Form-breaking? Super long and in depth but somehow still entertaining discussions on female empowerment and the male role in society? YES PLEASE! Discussion includes: Scripts that don't tell you everything, gender-reversed acting, and the benefits of snacks on stage. Have some feedback? A play you'd like us to cover? Visit t…
 
It's time for some children's theatre! In this delightful, dark, funny, fantastic, terrifying tale for all ages, Kneehigh theatre does what they do best with collaborative and innovative re-telling of a classic story. Discussion includes collaboration in art, the power of children's theatre, and the joy of little chicken puppets. Have some feedback…
 
To mark the 60th anniversary of the release of Arthur Miller's first screenplay, The Misfits, we spoke to Dr. Kate Egerton about the film, the short story it was based on, the stories around filming, and the influence it had on Miller's life and work. Directed by John Huston, written by one of the world's foremost playwrights, and starring Marilyn …
 
This episode Nancy & Sam discuss the shocking and powerful play drama Yen by Anna Jordan. The audio of the first half got mangled by the internet, so this one jumps in partway through - in this epic half-discussion, however, is covered themes of nature vs. nurture, the harsh choices around family life, and the depiction of intimate acts on the stag…
 
This episode Nancy & Sam are joined by co-director of Coast to Coast Theatre Company and producer from the Norwich Fringe, Molly Farley, to discuss the intense and thought-provoking drama Gloria by Branden Jacob's Jenkins. Not only is it an absolute belter of a play, but Molly is fantastic as our first guest. Topics include: Workplace trauma, selfi…
 
Nancy and Sam smash the patriarchy (or at least try to understand just how massive and far-reaching it is) with a look at this form-smashing play. Okay, so we don't smash the patriarchy, and 50 minutes is no time at all to cover everything, but we think this play is fantastic and had a blast diving deep into all the intense and challenging themes i…
 
For the first episode of the New Year, we interviewed Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, Producing Artistic Directors of A Noise Within, based in California. This week, they are performing a live read of Arthur Miller's 1968 play The Price, with a live talkback on Sunday evening. Details below. We talked about the company's origins, their f…
 
In a first for the podcast, we look at a play that involves some heavy audience interaction and can change wildly from night to night depending on what the audience does. How do you script something like this? We're about to find out. (Also, this is sadly probably our last sci-fi themed play for a while as we've exhausted those we know so early on …
 
Another episode of the eternal journey to read and analyse every play ever (or at least a few good ones, as our time on this earth is limited). This time we take a look at something neither of us have read before - a strangely structured magical realist play from 1997, Crazyhorse packs a real punch (even if we still can't fully understand the title…
 
Oh go on then, have a little Christmas treat on us! Nancy & Sam drop their usual policy of finding the best in things for this bonus festive episode - they bring to you their top 10 list of the worst theatre-related things one could receive this Christmas. Want to see the horrendous items for yourself? Have something you think is worse? Visit the o…
 
Another episode of the eternal journey to read and analyse every play ever (or at least a few good ones, as our time on this earth is limited). This time we take a dive into our first of the great Naturalistic plays of the 1800s - featuring sordid affairs, pretend inventions and, of course, one very wild duck. Ibsen proves to us this episode that j…
 
In the second episode of the Arthur Miller Society Podcast, I was joined by my co-host Dr. Ambika Singh from Jaipur, India. We spoke with Prof. Jan Balakian of Kean University about her life in teaching. Prof. Balakian has taught for several decades, and been a prolific scholar, with works on Arthur Miller, Wendy Wasserstein, and Tennessee Williams…
 
Celebrated actress Jessie Buckley meets with Ian Rickson on the stage of her local theatre, the Hackney Empire in East London, to discuss her fascinating cultural inspirations: a stunning rendition of the contemporary Georgian Christmas song ’Tsiskris Alilo’ by vocal group Ensemble Basiani, which Jessie stumbled across on social media; Leox Carax’s…
 
Welcome back for another episode of Play Ground! This week we discuss the experimental diptych of short plays 'Heart's Desire' and 'Blue Kettle' by Caryl Churchill. Formally stranger but with a solid emotional core, Churchill proves again (despite Sam's initial hesitance) why she is our greatest living playwright. Have some feedback? A play you'd l…
 
On the stage of the Hackney Empire in East London, Ian Rickson and folk musician and actor Johnny Flynn discuss the cultural highlights that bring Johnny inspiration: D. A. Pennebaker’s seminal documentary ‘Don't Look Back’, which charts Bob Dylan’s 1965 concert tour of England; Alice Oswald’s epic poem ‘Dart’, which tells the sprawling stories of …
 
Comedian, actor and, latterly, life-guru Russell Brand meets with host Ian Rickson on the stage of his local arts centre, Norden Farm Centre for the Arts in Maidenhead. Russell's cultural choices include the film of seminal stand-up Bill Hicks’ blistering stage show ‘Revelations’; Oscar Wilde’s 19th century fable ‘The Selfish Giant’, which offers u…
 
Welcome back, listeners! For our first episode post-launch, we revisit the sci-fi genre (it won't all be sci-fi, we promise) with Anne Washburn's fantastic adaptation of The Twilight Zone. For a change both Nancy AND Sam have seen this play. For not a change, they both love it. Have some feedback? A play you'd like us to cover? Visit the official p…
 
Bafta-winning and Oscar-nominated actor Chiwetel Ejiofor meets Ian Rickson on the empty locked-down stage of the Young Vic theatre in London in July 2020. They discuss the deep resonance of Michael Kiwanuka’s soulful song ‘Love & Hate’; Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1970 expressionist political drama ‘Il Conformista’, a film which profoundly altered Chiwet…
 
Sat on the set of the lockdown-paused production of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ in London’s West End, Ian Rickson meets with international theatre producer, Sonia Friedman in September 2020. After discussing the devastation and uncertainty the pandemic has wrought on the theatre world, including the premature closure of their production of …
 
The Young Vic theatre, London, August 2020. On the stage where she was due to take on the role of Hamlet before lockdown intervened, actress Cush Jumbo discusses her three cultural highlights with host Ian Rickson. These include the transcendent nature - and the producer’s health and safety headache - of classic musical ‘Singin’ in the Rain’; the c…
 
On the darkened stage of the locked-down Harold Pinter Theatre in London’s West End, Ian Rickson meets with Bafta and Golden Globe-winning actor Ben Whishaw, in July 2020. They discuss pioneering American independent director John Cassavetes’ 1984 film ‘Love Streams’; Joy Williams’ moving and mysterious short story ‘Chaunt’; and the solace offered …
 
Celebrated poet, spoken word performer, writer and recording artist, Kae Tempest – winner of the Ted Hughes Award, and double Mercury Prize nominee – meets with Ian Rickson on the stage of the locked down Harold Pinter Theatre in London’s West End in July 2020. Kae’s choices include the sports documentary series charting Michael Jordan’s tenure wit…
 
Welcome back, listeners! For part 2 of our double launch, we dive deep into the play Edward II by Christopher Marlowe - Nancy has seen the play, Sam has not, but - spoiler alert - they both love it. Have some feedback? A play you'd like us to cover? Visit the official podcast twitter @playgroundpoddy Chat to host Nancy @N_Netherwood Chat to host Sa…
 
Welcome, listeners! For out first episode, we take a look at the incredible sci-fi mind-bending mother-daughter-relationship play X by Alistair McDowall. Whether you've read the play or not, this should give you an insight into how we'll be running things around here, and we reckon you'll have a pretty good time. Have some feedback? A play you'd li…
 
For the first episode of the Arthur Miller Society Podcast, I was delighted to chat to American Drama scholar, ukulele player, and fan of Liverpool Football Club, Professor Sue Abbotson. Prof. Abbotson has published multiple books and articles on Arthur Miller, and during our conversation, we discussed the source of her interest in Miller's work, t…
 
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