Monday, January 14, 2013

The Question, January 14, 2013

(Pod) Casting Theatre
by Estelle Rosen

Sarah Mahoney is an international theatre practitioner involved in creating theatre on four continents. She has five years of professional experience directing, teaching and producing theatre in Australia, Canada, Holland, Tanzania and the UK. She particularly likes plays that challenge audiences to re-evaluate their opinions. She is the founder of C'est La Vie Theatre, a company that specializes in producing original audio podcasts of plays. She studied clown with Philippe Gaulier and currently spends most of her free time clowning around with her one year old daughter.

CHARPO: As you assess the first season of C’est La Vie Theatre, include some background why you wanted to present radio plays via podcast; were the lessons learned from this experience based on audience reaction, and will there be a second season?
MAHONEY: I started C’est La Vie Theatre because I love listening to podcasts, and I love theatre. When I started listening to podcasts I wanted to be listening to plays, but I was unable to find any. Instead I found myself listening to the BBC’s The Archers, which is a radio drama, and CBC’s The Vinyl Café. I was also a young director obsessed with trying to consume as much theatre as possible. I wanted to read, listen, watch, think and dream theatre. I found that what I was able to get on iTunes was not what I was looking for. I didn’t want to be listening to long running radio dramas or short stories. I wanted to be listening to plays that I could conceivably produce. I wanted to hear what playwrights were working on. So for years I listened to podcasts, and periodically looked for podcasts of new plays. During this time I was travelling, and starting to record anything seemed like a daunting task. When I returned to Montreal in 2010, I was looking for a new project, so C’est La Vie was born.

We got a lot of positive feedback from our first season, and it was a really enjoyable learning experience. The most encouraging moment was getting the MECCA Revelation award; it made it clear that Montreal was listening.
An unexpected part of this process has been being reviewed. I have directed many theatre productions in the past; however, the press I have received has always been more about getting an audience to the theatre instead of having someone critically engage with the work. I really enjoyed having reviewers at CharPo analyze what we had done. I often found myself nodding my head while reading both the criticism and the praise.
What we would most like in our second season is more audience feedback. For me what makes theatre different from TV or movies is the audience interaction. With CLV we want there to be audience interaction. We would like our audience to feel that they can engage vocally with the work— tell us what they think, critique, praise and question.
To encourage this we are introducing a community corner to try to build more interaction with our audience. This will be a space where we will have photography, playwriting and fan-fiction contests as well as discussions with C’est La Vie actors and contributors.
Our second season will launch January 15th. We have 5 shows lined up this season airing every third Tuesday on the website and on iTunes. In alternate weeks we will present interviews with the writers and reviews if we get them. With the second season almost ready to go, the real question I am asking myself is will there be a third season. That will depend a lot on if I am able to get enough scripts. We have a fantastic second season lined up but so far it will be a season of five plays instead of last season’s seven. I am starting to get the hang of prepping and producing the plays, and this season I have taken a back seat on directing; all of the plays in season two are guest directed. Having a third season will really depend on finding more collaborators. Since I am still relatively new here, I am constantly looking for new collaborators, from writers, to directors to actors.

C'est la vie's website

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