Eric Samuelsen bids farewell to the #SeasonOfEric

Eric Samuelsen has written for Plan-B Theatre Company for a decade where, in addition to the #SeasonOfEric, his plays MIASMA, AMERIGO and BORDERLANDS also received their world premieres. It’s very rare for a fully professional American theatre company to devote time and resources to new work by local playwrights. It’s exponentially rarer for companies to do entire seasons devoted to the work of a single playwright. I expect, rarest of all, would be for companies to market that season using the playwright’s first name. So: the Season of Eric. And I’m Eric; apparently sufficiently known (or at least notorious) to warrant not just a season of my work, but a marketing campaign based on my first name. It’s immensely flattering and a tremendous honor. Obviously, the greatest five events in my life were when I married Annette, and when each of our four children were born. I’m not kidding when I say this: The Season of Eric comes sixth. We started off with GHOSTS. My PhD dissertation was on Henrik Ibsen, most of my scholarly publications were on Ibsen; I’m an Ibsen guy. And I can say this unequivocally; I love GHOSTS. And of course the ending of the play is powerfully and movingly tragic. But I’ve seen GHOSTS in production many times, and I’ve always felt there was something essential missing. Humor. Dour old Ibsen, the stuffy Victorian moralist. As I translated the play, I kept cracking up; I loved Ibsen’s subversive satirical wit. In our Script-In-Hand Series production, we only had a few days to rehearse, but it was so thrilling to hear laughs in the house....

Jay Perry on performing in RADIO HOUR

Jay Perry is the only actor to have performed in all 8 episodes of Plan-B’s RADIO HOUR. If there was ever was gift from theatre gods I never saw coming it was a near-decade of radio drama. It’s hard to believe this is the 8th RADIO HOUR and that I’ve been able to be a part of each of these wonderful productions. I remember the first one, RADIO POE, and how nervous I was to go on the air live that day – that’s when we performed it in KUER’s RadioWest studio without an audience. I remember how cool Tony Larimer seemed to be and how calmly and adeptly he voiced his role. Carl Nelson were amazing as well and it was such a pleasure to sit accross from Doug Fabrizio and the incredible view from his studio at KUER for the very first time. Still, I was a wreck; To play a complete character and try to get every moment perfect, live. Aaaagh! Well, the nerves still come, but the process and the performace of live radio has since become my favorite acting genre. And of course, the best part of it all has been the people I’ve had the good fortune to share it with. In every incarnation of RADIO HOUR, the amazing foley artists have created such real, visceral worlds in my mind that I’ve been able to see, feel and nearly touch them. What a joy it’s been to live characters in such detailed imaginary places!  Worlds that are still emblazoned in my memory . . . I’ll never forget the dark London streets of SHERLOCK...

Cheryl Cluff on her love of radio (audio) drama as she preps for RADIO HOUR EPISODE 8: FAIRYANA

Cheryl Cluff co-founded Plan-B in 1991 and is the company’s Managing Director.  She has directed all of Plan-B’s RADIO HOURs, MESA VERDE, THE SCARLET LETTER and SUFFRAGE and has  designed sound for nearly every Plan-B production since 2000. As we prepare for RADIO HOUR EPISODE 8: FAIRYANA next week, I’m delighted to see a bit of a surge in the popularity of radio drama, or audio drama, as people are calling it now, with the cult-like popularity of podcasts like Welcome to Night Vale. The internet has made radio drama much more accessible and easier to produce and that’s a great thing. I found an interesting article recently, “Internet Saved the Radio Star: The Rise of Podcast Drama” by Sean Bell. This quote caught my attention: “Whether we’re driving to work, eating dinner, lying in bed in the darkness . . . we can surround ourselves with stories, and thrill to hear voices even when no one’s there.” However, very few theatres are doing live radio drama with a “studio audience” and also broadcasting live at the same time. There’s a certain magic that happens when you put those two elements (live audience and live broadcast) together. Support from KUER and Doug Fabrizio has been critical and I’m so thankful RadioWest has been our partner on RADIO HOUR since 2005. I love that RADIO HOUR has remained so popular over the years and that people value coming to see the live performance. Listening at home is fun, but being a part of the “live studio audience” is a blast because you get to see how the live sound effects are...

Eric Samuelsen on writing about children's television for radio – RADIO HOUR EPISODE 8: FAIRYANA

Eric Samuelsen has been writing for Plan-B for a decade: seven SLAM plays, two Ibsen translations presented as part of the Script-In-Hand Series (A DOLL HOUSE and GHOSTS) and four world premieres (MIASMA, AMERIGO, BORDERLANDS and NOTHING PERSONAL).  The 2013/14 #SeasonOfEric is fully dedicated to his work. I am a life-long fan of hard-boiled detective fiction: cynical, world-weary cops and private eyes scratching out a living in a tough-as-nails urban environment.  Carroll John Daly started the genre in the 20’s, handed it over to Dashiell Hammett, and on to Raymond Chandler.  But I first encountered it in two writers who I couldn’t get enough of, growing up: Elmore Leonard and Donald E. Westlake.  And Westlake was my favorite of the two. I especially loved Westlake’s Dortmunder novels.  Over the course of fourteen novels, I followed the adventures of John Dortmunder, a small-town New York crook, who was a brilliant planner of capers, but plagued with bad luck.  His gang always included Kelp (who got the stuff they needed) and Murch (the driver), and often included a motley group of sidekicks, including strong man Tiny Bulcher, Judson (the Kid) Blint (utility infielder), Arnie Albright (the fence), and Rollo the Bartender, who ran the OJ Bar just off Amsterdam Avenue, with the back room where all their jobs were planned.  The Dortmunder gang never got caught, but they never made much money either, mostly coming away with about the same scratch they would have had if they’d had honest jobs. I loved everything about these novels.  I loved the wry and cynical commentary on New York life, the amoral world of...

Jerry Rapier on selecting The Season of Eric.

Jerry Rapier has been Producing Director of Plan-B Theatre Company since 2000.  Plan-B, his son Oscar and his husband Kirt are the joys of his life. I have had two of the most rewarding experiences of my creative life directing Eric Samuelsen’s AMERIGO (2010) and BORDERLANDS (2011) for Plan-B.  Eric writes with an enviable ease about Big Ideas – he can be Truthful with a Capital T and Intellectual with a Capital I, yet still guide his audience to a soulful place, a place of passion, a place where a true marriage of truth and intellect is possible – a place where you have no choice but to take pause, reexamine and choose how best to move forward. He has an uncanny ability to identify the gaps in the recorded history of historical figures and address the “What if?” without resorting to straightforward biography. Simply put, he makes the historical personal. So when it came time to select the 2013/14 season, I did what I had been considering for quite some time – I invited Eric to be a resident playwright. And then I did something else I had been considering for quite some time – I asked if Plan-B could stage an entire season of his work. I wanted to celebrate his range as a playwright and let some of that been-under-a-bushel-far-too-long work see the light of day. From there, I asked him what mattered most to him of the dozen or so plays/ideas he had in various stages of completion. Together, we settled on (click on each title for details): NOTHING PERSONAL, RADIO HOUR EPISODE 8: FAIRYANA,...

Radio Hour Episode 8: Fairyana

Radio Hour Episode 8: FairyanaBios A world premiere by Eric Samuelsen December 3, 2013  |  7pm Jeanne Wagner Theatre @ Rose Wagner 138 W 300 S, SLC No late seating Running time 60 minutes, no intermission Click here for 2013/14 Mini Season Subscriptions and/or Single Tickets Click the RadioWest logo below to stream the recording! A holiday show about a holiday show (performed as a radio show) about the writers of a children’s television show possessed by their own characters.  Also broadcast live on KUER’s RadioWest. You are the live studio audience! Featuring Jay Perry, Teresa Sanderson and Jason Tatom.  Original (live) music by Dave Evanoff with (live) foley by Michael Johnson.  Sound engineer Eric Robinette.  Directed by Cheryl Ann Cluff. #SeasonOfEric REVIEWS Salt Lake Magazine  |  Selective Echo  |  SLCene    PRESS Blog Entries  |  Broadway World  |  Cast & Creative Bios & Playwright’s Statement  |  City Weekly  |  Gavin’s Underground  |  KUER  |  Salt Lake Magazine  |  Selective Echo  |  SLcene  |  SLUG Magazine’s Soundwaves from the Underground (podcast – start at 16:21)  |  Standard-Examiner  |  The Salt Lake Tribune  |  UtahTheatreBloggers Who’s Who  |  Playwright’s Statement PLAYWRIGHT ERIC SAMUELSEN has written for Plan-B since 2004, where his plays MIASMA, AMERIGO, BORDERLANDS and NOTHING PERSONAL  received their world premieres.  He has had twenty-five plays produced across the country (most of them in Utah, but also in New York, Louisiana, Idaho and California).  A three-time recipient of the Association for Mormon Letters award for best play, several of his plays have been published by Plan-B and Sunstone.  His Ibsen translations have been produced in Utah, California and elsewhere (including A DOLL...

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