Sally Adams
Discussions about Creating Original Performances for a Live Audience!
Episode 48 - Be As Weird As You Are with Peyton Storz
Hi Friend! Here are the show notes for Episode 48 of Sally’s Performing Arts Lab Podcast. The Fabulous Peyton Storz of Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre joins me on this episode of SallyPAL. I’m Sally Adams. I talk to people on a podcast about creating original work for a live audience. Send an email anytime to Before the interview, I want to share a couple of thoughts. I love live performance. I love live music, dance, poetry, theatre, opera, you name it. But more than that, I love good story telling. I’m drawn to storytellers. Like the woman at the party who reveals an embarrassing moment for the sake of a laugh. Or the older gentleman who can pull you into his childhood with some well chosen details. My daughter, Emile, has 2 or 3 ‘go-to’ stories she calls her 'party stories'. They enable her to feel less awkward in new situations and they reveal to strangers that she's interesting. I firmly believe that every human has a story to tell. But so often I hear people say they’re boring or that nothing interesting happens to them. My mom used to tell me if I was bored it meant I was boring. But I think feeling boring has more to do with whether you are present in the moment. I’ve been working on reminding myself to pay attention to what’s happening right now. Like when I’m singing at the local brewery, I can easily veer off into thinking about my lyrics, what’s on tap, what song I want to do after this one I’m singing right now… But I do best when I am immersed in the moment of the song. It frees me to interact with the people who are actually listening. The other night I got lost in thought while performing and totally stopped the song because I just forgot where I was. This doesn’t generally happen (partly because I keep my lyrics handy). But the other night when I stopped, a lovely man came up and kindly reminded me of the lyric and began to tell me the story of the song I was singing. He mentioned how meaningful it was to him. Ordinarily, before an exchange like that I would be tempted to joke with my music partner or the audience about the music or my memory, but this person was so ‘in’ the moment of the song… and I was not. Rather than be upset with me for forgetting the lyrics to this special song, he helped me refocus. It was so generous. I think we have an opportunity as story tellers whether the audience is opera lovers at the Met or a couple of friends hearing you tell a party story. Be with the people who are listening. Listen to them as well. Being present is the ultimate compliment you can pay another creature. Past regrets and worries about the future are the enemies of the 'moment'. Be present in your life and I guarantee you will feel alive. And there’s almost nothing better than to be alive in front of an audience. You can even get a t-shirt that says exactly that! “Alive in Front of an Audience” at the SallyPAL shop! Check it out at In the ‘Amber Harrington - Work Hard and Don’t Be a Jerk’ episode I mentioned that I was toying with a YouTube channel. I’ve used it for live TOWN Stages interviews, creator encouragement and my own original music and covers. I’ve been working on a couple of different channels. "Brian and Sally" is a channel featuring my music partner and I rehearsing songs. And "SallyPAL" is a mish-mosh of live performance and storytelling stuff. In time, I hope to improve my technical skills and expand the offerings but there’s already content for anyone who’s curious.  Peyton Storz I’ve known Peyton for a while now and I have expected for quite some time that she would make her indelible mark on the world of live comedy. Before she realized she is a comedian, Peyton studied Shakespeare, Greek tragedy, and contemporary drama. But when she was taunted by a southwestern professor for being too 'weird', she switched programs and found her voice in Chicago. Peyton graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Comedy Writing and Performance. She trai
May 20, 2019
34 min
Episode 47 - Work Hard and Don't Be a Jerk with Amber Harrington
Welcome to the blog & show notes for Episode 47 of Sally’s Performing Arts Lab Podcast. In this episode, I interview my favorite drama teacher, Amber Harrington, from Edison High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I’m your SallyPAL podcast host, Sally Adams. I talk to people about creating original work for a live audience. Send an email anytime to I have an update on the SallyPAL empire. SallyPAL now has a STORE! You can buy t-shirts, totes and coffee mugs with vintage theatre photos and paintings. Each one has a caption or speech bubble that will make you chuckle (especially if you’ve ever been backstage). Click the link to go to and see for yourself. In addition to building the store, I’ve been toying with a YouTube channel. But I could use some advice. So far I’ve used it for live TOWN Stages interviews, encouragement videos and my own original music and covers. But I’d like to know what you want to see. My son, my music partner and I are working on a new musical. Would you like to see the process and what that actually looks like? Do you want me to share videos of original performances from around the world? Do you want more video interviews? I have to admit, I’ve got a steep learning curve on this one. Just click this link to go to YouTube for the SallyPAL channel. Subscribe and comment on the channel and I can start sharing useful stuff! Before I tell you about one amazing drama teacher, I want to share about a little project at our Virginia cottage. Because I am constantly struggling to get better sound, George and I created a recording studio in an under-stair closet. Here’s a pic of my closet under the stairs Harry Potter space. You might even be inspired to try something like this in your own home. It required that we both give up items of clothing we know longer wear to free up the space, but that’s a good thing, right? Amber Harrington was never my drama teacher. She’s quite a bit younger than I am. But she taught all three of my kids. And as her peer, I’ve watched her work and been so impressed. Amber lives by her mantra, Work Hard and Don’t Be a Jerk. She’s been teaching theatre in Tulsa, Oklahoma for nearly 20 years. This very special artist has received numerous awards for her teaching. And her students regularly win awards for their performances and technical work. Every year she expands the theatre program that has changed so many lives including the lives of my three kids. Amber Harrington teaches nearly 250 students each year. This sometimes requires her to accommodate two classes at once. This would be tough enough for most teachers, but Amber’s organizational skills, work ethic (and Google Classroom) make it work. She learned what it means to be a drama teacher from her dad, Paul Harrington. He taught her about raising money, building sets and marketing the work of young local artists on a teacher’s small salary. Amber Harrington graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University with a theatre degree after learning every facet of theatre craft. As a teacher she created projects and performances that helped her students grow. And every year the Edison Eagle theatre program gets a little bigger. There are so many opportunities in Amber's department. Early in the school year there is a district-wide one-act competition that has often led her students to compete at the state level. The annual Halloween show, Creeps, has dance, music, spoken word and original writing. Fall Funnies features comedy scenes and monologues. She produces mainstage plays and musicals with the help of other interested teachers including history teacher Chris Burnham and now retired Folger Shakespeare Library Mentor Teacher, Paul Stevenson. When the teacher walk-out forced students to forego one of the annual productions, Amber created a summer Comedy Camp to make up for the lost stage time. During the school year she produces an audition-only stand-up comedy show that includes some very
Feb 10, 2019
33 min
Episode 46 - Irish Ideas with Chris O'Rourke
Fail, fail Again, fail better - Samuel Beckett Welcome to the show notes for Episode 46 of Sally’s Performing Arts Lab Podcast. Chris O’Rourke, playwright, director, Irishman and critic joins me from Dublin, Ireland on episode 46 of SallyPAL. To hear his authentic (and very appealing) Irish brogue, you need to find the episode on your favorite podcast platform. Just type in SallyPAL and look for Episode 46. I’m podcast host, Sally Adams. I talk to people about creating original work for a live audience. Send an email to me anytime by sending to Share your story with me and let me know about a creator you’d like me to interview. Copyright UpdateI want to do a little update on the copyright information I shared in the last blog and podcast when I told you all copyrighted material from 1923 would be entering the public domain this year after a 20 year wait for Federal term extensions. That actually happened at the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2019. Today, January 10, 2019, I heard an episode of the radio show 1A with host Joshua Johnson on WAMU (the show is on a lot of NPR stations as well as the Internet). Husband and wife copyright experts James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins spend an enlightening hour reviewing what the copyright laws mean for creative people. I highly recommend checking out Joshua Johnson’s January 10 episode of 1A concerning copyright law. I think it will clarify a lot of what we face as creators in the digital age from “fair use” to Creative Commons. They also discuss tools available to resolve the plagiarizing of protected works. Knowledge is power. Podcast Guest Chris O’RourkeChris O’Rourke is a playwright, director, drama coach and critic currently living in Dublin, Ireland. Until July, 2016 Chris was the National Theatre Critic for He now reviews performances for The Arts Review. I think Chris has reviewed nearly every live play in Ireland. I get his reviews in my email box every week and read them not just because I’m interested in the Irish theatre scene (I wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for Chris). I read his reviews from because they are a master class in what makes a live show worth seeing. Anyone producing live theatre needs to read Chris’ insightful and intelligent journalism. You can do that by visiting the website. Chris reviews and writes for Check it out. Chris O’Rourke is also the artistic director of the award-winning Everything is Liminal and Unknown Theatre troupes specializing in originating works with young people from high risk backgrounds. Unknown Theatre’s groundbreaking production, “If Walls Could Talk” played at The 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival to rave reviews. I hope you’ll click the podcast link at the top of this blog entry to enjoy episode 46 with Chris O’Rourke. I also invite you to go to your favorite podcast provider and download past episodes. There are dozens of wonderful conversations with people creating original work in the world of performance right now. I interview choreographers, playwrights, musicians, scholars, designers, technicians and performers from stages all over the world. Every interview includes a section titled Concise Advice from the Interview that highlights the best nuggets of wisdom, as well as Words of Wisdom from George, a brief bit of insight from my husband, the coolest guy on the planet. Concise Advice from the Interview for Episode 46 includes five bits of advice from Critic and Playwright, Chris O’Rourke: 5 Be honest in your criticism. As long as there’s no vindictiveness you can be share what you see. 4 When working with young people, do work that is relevant to their lives. 3 It’s important to tell stories of people whose voices aren’t ordinarily heard. 2 If you’re working with young people, let them have fun, find their voices, and express themselves. 1 Respect your audience by keeping them engaged and entertained. Thank you for reading, following, sharing, subscr
Jan 10, 2019
30 min
Special Episode - SallyPAL Update and Public Domain with Will Inman
Hi Friend, Welcome to a special 2018 Christmas Eve Episode of Sally’s Performing Arts Lab Podcast. Today, we’re going to talk about my upcoming guests now that 2019 is right around the corner. I’m your SallyPAL podcast host, Sally Adams. I talk to people about creating original work for a live audience. Send an email anytime to Although I’ve been away from podcasting for a few months, I am still out here supporting new works wherever I see the opportunity. As 2018 draws to a close I wanted to share some thoughts before I kick into twice a month podcast uploads again. After producing over 50 episodes of SallyPAL, I took a break from podcasting. It was only supposed to last a month to make time for some other projects. But I got out of the habit of regularly editing and posting and after a few more weeks I was almost embarrassed to start again. It’s like that feeling you get when you forget to send a baby gift and then 2 years later you figure it’s probably too late to send that onesie you were maybe going to buy. But enough about me and my nieces… There are some things on the horizon that are really too exciting to ignore and I want to share them with my Sally PALS! So let me start by letting you know about the guests I have coming up in the next few months: Upcoming Guests Chris O’Rourke is a playwright, director, drama coach and critic with a Masters in Modern Drama. Chris was National Theatre Critic for com until July 2016 when ceased. During that time he extensively reviewed in Ireland and abroad. Chris is artistic director of Everything is Liminal and Unknown Theatre which specializes in originating works with young people from high risk backgrounds.  Peyton Storz performs with the groundbreaking comedy Splatter Theater in Chicago. Peyton graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Comedy Writing and Performance, and has trained at The Annoyance Theater and The Second City in Chicago. She hails from my hometown, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Amber Harrington teaches theatre at Edison Magnet School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. With nearly 18 years of experience she has been named Teacher of the Year, won countless awards with her students, and has created programs for her theatre kids that are imitated throughout the state. Her student playwriting program is the first of its kind in Oklahoma and has produced two national award-wining playwrights. Amber is also a Folger Shakespeare Teaching Artist. Reed Mathis is making fresh music in The Bay Area. Reed tours with his own band and works as a studio musician blending his love of classical music (Beethoven in particular) with his spectacular bass-playing skills. Reed is a former member of Tea Leaf Green. He’s also played bass with Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann. He has also played with the Steve Kimock Band, and was a founding member of Tulsa progressive jazz band Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. Stick close because I also have an interview promised with J.D. McPherson as soon as his touring schedule lets up.  Big news in public domain works and what it means for creatives: If you’re not sure exactly what the term public domain means, according to Google’s online dictionary, “public domain is the state of belonging or being available to the public as a whole, and therefore not subject to copyright.” This is a pretty big deal for creatives in general. But especially for arts teachers. Many of you may remember being admonished by your choir teacher or your drama director to get rid of your photocopies after a performance because the works were copyrighted and you did not have permission to keep those copies. In just a few days that will no longer be true for works published in 1923. Works published in 1922 and before have been available for 20 years. I know this because in 2013 I wrote a musical for my students that borrowed songs from 1922 and earlier including the well-known, “Be It Ever So Humble, There’s No Place Li
Dec 24, 2018
40 min
Episode 45 - Soulful Storytelling with Deborah Hunter
Hi Friend! Episode 45 of Sally’s Performing Arts Lab Podcast features poet, spoken word artist and actor and past winner of the prestigious Jingle Feldman Artist Award, Deborah J. Hunter. I’m your SallyPAL podcast host, Sally Adams. I talk to people about creating original work for a live audience. Send an email anytime to Thanks to everyone who joined me at New York’s Town Stages for my live feed Wednesday, August 8. My daughter, writer Emile Adams, joined me as well as several fellows from the Sokoloff Arts Fellowship program at Town Stages in New York City. Nimrod, Curbside Review, This Land, and Another Sun in the UK have all published Deborah Hunter’s essays and poems. Deborah has made a lasting impact on her community in Tulsa, Oklahoma through her work as a certified behavioral health case manager and as an artist. Her impact is felt throughout the state. This year Deborah was honored with a Woman of the Year Pinnacle Award for women creating real, sustainable change in Oklahoma. Over the summer Deborah worked with playwright Tara Brooke Watkins developing ideas through something called 'story circles'. Using the Mary E. Jones Parrish collection of photographs, Tara created a new work about the 1921 Greenwood Massacre in the Tulsa Greenwood District. Tara asked my guest, Deborah Hunter, to build a poem around the phrase “Dig It” or “So You Wanna Dig?” for the piece. Two poems by Deborah Hunter appear in the work, Tulsa ’21: Black Wall Street. Deborah also worked this summer with Portico Dance Theatre on their SummerStage production simply titled, Wo. Her poetry is very much in demand these days. As a performing poet, she brings her formidable energy to the stage creating stories and characters of substance. Deborah Hunter's life is filled with stories of struggle. Her grandmother was a survivor of the massacre on Greenwood. And her adult daughter is mentally ill. When Deborah’s daughter was diagnosed with schizophrenia, Deborah began a long journey relating to people with mental health diagnoses. She’s a mental health advocate, a voice for women of color, a caseworker with a deep understanding of homelessness, and a soulful storyteller. During the interview, Deb and I cover a lot of ground in our shared hometown including OneOk Ball Park, Guthrie Green, the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness), and the Greenwood Cultural Center. We talked about Pablo Neruda, Henry Louis Gates, Hannibal Johnson, David Blakely and his play about the Osage Murders called Four Ways to Die.  Blakely based his play on David Grann’s book about the Murders, Killers of the Flower Moon. I also mentioned a book about race relations I read as a teacher at Holland Hall Preparatory School, titled Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum. I can recommend both books enthusiastically. There is so much depth to Deborah’s way of looking at the world. She is strong and kind, formidable and nuanced, deep and funny. I know you’ll enjoy hearing Deborah’s point of view as both an activist and an artist. Be sure and listen until the end of the interview for Concise Advice from the Interview, and Words of Wisdom from George.  Concise Advice from the Interview: 5 bits of advice from Poet-Activist, Deborah J. Hunter:5 To perform a poem in 1st person that is not your personal story, become a character telling that story.4 Nobody’s better than you are and you are no better than anyone else.3 Racism is about education.2 Speak out against micro aggressions.1 Tell the truth. Check out the blog,, for articles and podcast episodes. You, too, can be a SallyPAL. SallyPAL now has a YouTube channel. Check it out at When I get some subscribers, YouTube promised me I could have a more memorable link. So go ahead and subscribe while I figure out how to be a good YouTuber. Also, look f
Aug 16, 2018
32 min
I've been getting ready for a live video feed for my podcast SallyPAL this Wednesday, August 8 starting at 2pm EST at New York's Town Stages: I hope you'll join me and watch even a portion of the live feed. It's like a live television show on the Internet! You can access it by clicking the link, and there you are. You'll have to wait for the actual day and time before anything happens because it's LIVE: The SallyPAL Live show is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. and may go as late as 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. If you live in California, that’s 11 a.m. to around 3 p.m. if you live in Oklahoma, it starts at 1 p.m. My youngest daughter, Emile, will be helping with the technical aspects interviews. I'll be talking with a number of New York artists doing some really exciting new projects.  Some of the guests will be from previous episodes including Robin Sokoloff and Iyvon Edebiri! We'll even have a call-in guest or two. If you have an interest in creating new performance work for a live audience, or if you know someone who might enjoy being part of the conversation, encourage them to watch the August 8 live feed starting at 2pm EST here: If you want to get in on the YouTube chat you will need to sign in with your Google account. Otherwise, you can simply enjoy watching the show!  Want to know more about SallyPAL? Here are the ways you can be part of this performing arts community:"Like" SallyPAL on Facebook: or: @sallypalpod Join the community: Listen to past episodes of SallyPAL: You can also download a podcast platform application onto your mobile device (phone, watch or tablet)  and easily listen to past and future episodes of SallyPAL: ITunes/Apple Music: GooglePlay: Download the app and search for “SallyPAL” in the podcasts section Podbean: or Stitcher: Player FM: Radio Public: Review SallyPAL on your favorite podcast platform: Just like music, movies, and TV shows, you can rate SallyPAL on iTunes from your iPhone or iPad. First, download and use Apple's Podcast app, but once you have it, it's easy to do! How to leave an iTunes rating or review for a podcast from your iPhone or iPad (from Launch Apple's Podcast app (Apple devices only). Tap the Search tab. Enter the name of the podcast you want to rate or review. Tap the blue Search key at the bottom right. Tap the album art for the podcast. Tap the Reviews tab. Tap Write a Review at the bottom. Enter your iTunes password to login. Tap the Stars to leave a rating. Enter title text and content to leave a review. Tap Send. Whatever you do, be sure to join me and Emile Wednesday, August 8 starting at 2pm EST and going until 5 or 6pm at New York's Town Stages (did I mention its live): Ask questions, learn about exciting emerging artists, and just have fun! We can’t wait!
Aug 7, 2018
1 min
Episode 44 - Real Dance in a Virtual Reality with Charly Wenzel
Charly Wenzel is a dancer, choreographer and virtual reality filmmaker. You may be able to tell from her accent that she’s originally from Germany. She moved to New York nearly 15 years ago to continue to study dance. It was there at the Alvin Ailey School that Charly met Teresa Fellion who you may remember from Episode 25. Charly danced for Teresa in the early days of Teresa’s company. After a few years exploring other creative venues including film, Charly joined forces with Teresa once again. Charly recognizes both her and Teresa’s styles have evolved over time making their collaborative efforts richer and more exciting. She currently works as the rehearsal director for Body Stories: Teresa Fellion Dance. Charly Wenzel is a big fan of immersive art. She currently performs in Third Rail Projects' immersive dance theatre piece, Then She Fell. The long-running performance piece moves the audience from room to room to meet different characters in the story. Then She Fell is based on the writings and life of Lewis Carroll and his interactions with Alice Liddell. Charly Wenzel just started working on a new piece for Body Stories set to premier in December at Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn, New York. Starting a dance piece from scratch begins with experimenting in the studio where the artists must imagine audience reactions while creating movement that tells a story. According to Charly, an immersive show gives performers an intimate experience with the audience. Charly believes audience intimacy helped her develop her skills directing dancers because anything can happen. An audience member who interacts with storytellers becomes part of the performance rather than passively watching a show. Cynthia Hennon Marino talked about this as well in Episode 41. In addition to live performance, Charly experiments with the storytelling possibilities of film. Her independent dance films use location, angles, and the ability to move in and out with a lens. Charly collaborates with a film director to create clear story focus. In filmmaking, as in theatre, each artist brings a skill set to the medium that makes it more exciting. Her film projection designs for Body Stories created a conversation between the live performers onstage and the images on screen. Currently, Charly is working on an immersive virtual reality dance piece on film. According to Charly, film festivals focusing on virtual reality films are creating a demand for experiential viewing. In virtual reality filming, the camera shoots 360 degrees. It creates some challenges as the 360 view can reveal crew members, equipment, and things you might ordinarily be able to avoid. The compelling part of virtual reality filming is that it creates choice for the audience. A 360 director must account for audience choice while shooting. Concise Advice from the Interview: 9 Keep your overall vision for a performance clear 8 Good ideas are like a ingredients that you can come back to or choose not to use 7 Every project helps you grow as an artist 6 Surround yourself with people you can learn from 5 Find people who want to work together to achieve a common goal 4 Keep an open mind 3 Find your own voice by immersing yourself in your art 2 Don’t worry about what you think people want to see 1 Stay true to your voice Check out the blog,, for articles and podcast episodes. You, too, can be a Sally PAL! Don’t forget, Emile and I will be at New York’s Town Stages with a live feed on Wednesday, August 8 starting at 2pm EST. Join me and Emile to celebrate one year of SallyPAL and performing arts “in the greatest city in the world!” The link for the August 8 live feed is: Thank you for following, sharing, subscribing, reviewing, joining, & thank you for listening. If you’re downloading and listening on your drive to work, or falling asleep to my live feed like my sister will, let me know you’re out there. Storytelling through performance is the most i
Jul 31, 2018
29 min
Episode 43 - The Parsnip Ship with Iyvon Edebiri
Hi Friend! Welcome to the blog and show notes for Episode 43 of Sally’s Performing Arts Lab Podcast. The Parsnip Ship Artistic Director And Host, Iyvon Edebiri, joins me on this episode. I’m SallyPAL podcast host, Sally Adams. I talk to people about creating original work for a live audience. Send an email anytime to I started last summer doing a weekly podcast but this summer my responsibilities have kept me from delivering every week. For now, I’ll be delivering a new show every week and a half to two weeks until Thanksgiving unless I can start staying up later. Big News: I’ll be at New York’s Town Stages with a live feed on Wednesday, August 8. More details are forthcoming but it will definitely be a day filled with interviews and fun. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the performing arts in New York City. Check out for The Creator’s Notebook. Also, you can be a Sally pal just by joining. The Parsnip Ship Artistic Director And Host Iyvon Edebiri was born in Nigeria. Iyvon immigrated at age three to Brooklyn where she grew up. She attended LaGuardia High School for the Arts, where she studied classical vocal music. She graduated from Boston’s Brandeis University in 2013. Iyvon was then awarded a Fulbright Graduate Scholarship that took her to Italy. She later worked at Primary Stages, Sundance Institute Theatre Program and The Public Theater. Iyvon recently received a Future of Audio Fellowship from The DO School in Berlin, Germany. She also got an MA in Arts Administration from Baruch College of the City of New York (CUNY). When Iyvon founded Parsnip Ship with a partner in 2015, she focused on the artistic curatorial elements and building a team.  The Parsnip Ship management team now includes Todd Kirkland - Managing Director, Katy Donnelly - Producing Director, and artistic associates Blayze Teicher and Ry Szelong. Iyvon and her team set out to disrupt the long standing model for page-to-stage. Parsnip Ship provides producers with a way to hear emerging playwrights’ works through the convenience of a podcast. The Parsnip Ship gives listeners the chance to hear playwrights in their actual voices with their actual intentions. There are a number of tasks to be accomplished in pushing the Parsnip Ship venture forward. Iyvon asserts many millennials have to make mental health a priority when the obstacle is time. But Iyvon created time constraints as a way of life including her personal challenge to visit 30 countries by the age of 30. (By the way, she’s already been to 27 of them.) And Parsnip Ship is not Iyvon’s day job. She produces the podcast in her "free" time. Each Parsnip Ship episode is also an interview and play reading in front of a live audience. When producing a live event that is also recorded as a podcast, good audio becomes a priority. The recording provides an asset for the playwright and reaches producers in a way that a typed script cannot. To get it right, Iyvon makes sure that episodes are individually produced. This also insures a great experience for the live audience. Parsnip Ship productions are free to the public due in part to the generosity of Brooklyn’s Mark O'Donnell Theater at The Actors Fund Arts Center. Iyvon and her team focus on work by artists from a variety of backgrounds including LGBTQIA, artists with disabilities, immigrants and playwrights of color who are the focus of the 2018-2019 season. The podcast relies on donations, free space, and volunteers. Parsnip Ship has so far been very successful. Iyvon’s focus on equity, diversity, inclusion, access, and opportunity are central to the mission of Parsnip Ship. If you are inspired to lend a hand, listen to Parsnip Ship and tell others. There are so many different plays by so many different types of playwrights. You can even have a Parsnip Ship listening party. And, definitely, sign up for the eblast at During the podcast you’ll hear Iyvon Edebiri and I talk about Cre
Jul 11, 2018
36 min
Episode 42 – Mermaids and New Plays with Author Jenny Kokai
Welcome to Episode 42 of Sally’s Performing Arts Lab Podcast. I’m podcast host, Sally Adams. And every week I talk about creating original work for a live audience. I interview guests from all over who are doing just that! Send an email anytime to Your ideas keep great conversations coming every week. Check out for a free Creator’s Notebook. It's a great resource for people producing original work. Also, you can be a Sally PAL just by joining. There are lots of other good reasons to join. SallyPAL has free theatre cartoons and inside scoop on fresh productions. And I want your help building a creator community I've named "The Clearing". Today, my awesome guest is Professor and Playwright, Jenny Kokai. Her book, “Swim Pretty”, explores mermaid culture. She looks at feminism through shows like the Weeki Wachee Mermaids in Spring Hill, Florida. We talk about that and a whole lot more in Episode 42. Jenny Kokai is a theatre professor at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. For anyone paying attention to pop culture, mermaids are a thing. They're moving past the traditional pretty white female. You'll see them in TV, movies, and comicons. Interpretations include transgender, disabled, and racially diverse mermaids. The reinvention of culture isn’t limited to aquatic life. According to my guest, there are ways in which theatre of all kinds is making an impact on the way people view 'difference'. Jenny Kokai and her eleven-year-old son, Oliver, recently co-wrote a play called "Zombie Thoughts". It explores a child’s anxiety disorder through gaming. Jenny and Ollie recently received National Endowment for the Arts funding enabling the show to tour. In addition, Kokai explores ways her students can take ownership of their learning. I know you’ll enjoy hearing this interview with well-regarded scholar, professor, and playwright; Jenny Kokai. Be sure and listen until the end of the interview for Concise Advice from the Interview, and Words of Wisdom from George. Concise Advice from the Interview is where I share bits of advice from my podcast guest. On Episode 42, that's professor, author, and playwright, Jenny Kokai:  11 Develop rapport before you go into rehearsing an      ensemble show.  10 Create a space where people are respectful of each other’s boundaries.  9 Create a space where people feel free to share their ideas and opinions.  8 It’s always better when a whole team works well together.  7 We do a disservice when we cut people with disabilities out of the creative process because of commercial pressure.  6 A lot more playwrights with disabilities need to be writing from their perspective.  5 When developing a new play, do not get attached to portions of the script.  4 When auditioning for a sexy role, be the sexiest person in the room regardless of your size or disability.  3 Find trustworthy collaborators who have a similar vision… and make stuff!  2 If you have something to say, you should say it!  1 Your voice matters! Check out the blog,, for articles and podcast episodes. You, too, can be a Sally PAL. And you can sign up for a Creator’s Notebook insert at Thank you for following, sharing, subscribing, reviewing, and joining. Most of all, thank you for listening. You can download and listen to SallyPAL on your drive to work. Or if you're falling asleep to my nattering narratives like my sister does, let me know you’re out there. Storytelling through performance is the most important thing we do as a culture. Finally, I encourage you to share your stories because you’re the only one with your particular point of view. And SallyPAL is here with resources, encouragement, and a growing community of storytellers. I want you to tell your stories. All the stories ever expressed once lived only in someone’s imagination. Now, If you have something to say, you should say it!
Jun 25, 2018
29 min
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