The Context

A Podcast for the Dramaturgy of Everything Awesome

About the show

Wherever there's a relationship between a creator and an audience, there's a space for the artistry of the dramaturg. The Context examines these relationships, with their unique challenges, opportunities, quirkiness, and general awesomeness, whether they arise from the production of a play, the historical interpretation of a house museum, the design of a theme park, the narrative creation of a video game, the publication of a comic book, or the booking of a pro-wrestling show.

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  • Episode 10: Wake Up and Be Yourself with Roger Q. Mason

    January 20th, 2020  |  Season 2  |  1 hr 7 mins
    civil war, gender studies, history, lavender men, lgbtq, lincoln, los angeles, playwrights, queering dramaturgy

    Our first episode recorded in the Seattle studio! Playwright Roger Q. Mason joins us from his home in Los Angeles -- close enough to my old place that we totally could have recorded together in person if I just had a short-term time machine. And on the topic of time machines, we also had a slight technical glitch, which I think Andy patched so seamlessly that you won't even notice [your short trip to 1980]!

  • Episode 9: Season 2! Weaponized Ignorance with Anne Morgan

    January 6th, 2020  |  Season 2  |  1 hr 7 mins
    american shakespeare center, anne morgan, civil war, dramaturgy, repertory, shakespeare, shakespeare's new contemporaries, staunton, theater, theater history, theatre, theatre history, virginia

    We did it! We started Season 2! Holy Crap! Anne Morgan with the American Shakespeare Center talks Shakespeare's New Contemporaries, dramaturgy for new plays at a classical theatre, and what the deal is, if any, with Staunton's vomiting vultures.

  • Episode 8: Your Shameful Family with Jacqueline Goldfinger

    January 20th, 2019  |  46 mins 36 secs
    arts, bottle fly, dramaturgy, happy hour, new play, parenting, philadelphia, playwright, publishing, theatre, yale drama

    Playwright and dramaturg Jacqueline Lawton talks to Kate Langsdorf about new play development for publication vs. for production, about the Philadelphia theatrical landscape, and about all the reasons dramaturgs are better suited to happy hours than folks in other professions. Pour yourself a stiff drink and have a listen!

  • Episode 7: Cabaret's Poison Cookie with Sally Ollove

    December 12th, 2018  |  56 mins 30 secs
    cabaret, cabaret history, dramaturgy, experimental theatre, fringe, harlem cabaret, lgbtqia, literary management, philadelphia, queer theatre, seattle, theatre history, theatre theory

    Sally Ollove, Associate Artistic Director at Philadelphia's Bearded Ladies' Cabaret, gets into dramaturgy for cabaret (her specialty), how cabaret differs from burlesque (in more ways that I'd suspected), why cabaret is for the misfits of the misfits (hint: usual theatre kids are too usual), and why it's a poisonous cookie (in a good way).

  • Episode 6: The Fuñata and Spanglishisms with Bernardo Mazón Daher

    November 29th, 2018  |  1 hr 15 mins
    attractions, chula vista, disneyland, dramaturgy, immigration, indiana jones, language, mexico, performance studies, politics, race, san diego, the fuñata, theatre, themed entertainment, tuyo theatre, u.s. border

    Bernardo Mazón Daher talks to me about life as a theatre-maker living on the border, both in his So-So-SoCal Chula Vista upbringing and in the liminal spaces between English-language and Spanish-language art. We get into about our mutual (if limited) Anaheim roots, historical and cultural significance of the piñata and how to turn that knowledge into theatre, and our theories on the dramaturgy of the queue theming of the Indiana Jones attraction at Disneyland. Bernardo suggested we cut that bit, but it's the most on-brand conversation I think I've had on this podcast yet, so...

  • Episode 5: Winners and Losers with Jenna Rodgers

    November 16th, 2018  |  57 mins 46 secs

    Jenna Rodgers of Chromatic Theatre in Calgary discusses her theatre's adaptation of Winners and Losers

  • Episode 4: Magician, Mentalist, & Cultural Anthropologist Paul Draper

    October 31st, 2018  |  49 mins 2 secs
    audience engagement, cultural anthropology, dramaturgy, halloween, history, judaism, las vegas, magic, mentalism, paul draper, religious studies, salt lake city, sorcery, stagecraft, witchcraft

    Happy Halloween birthday to our first recorded guest, Paul Draper! He was kind enough to be my Context guinea pig back in August, and what with the birthday and all, today seemed like a great time to share his wisdom with the world. Paul is a stealth dramaturg, but he's best known for his work as a magician and mentalist. He's also a cultural anthropologist! So we talked about the historic role of magic in society and its evolution from religious practice to a form of entertainment and commerce! Because when you have magical anthropologist on-hand, you gotta ask all these questions.

  • Episode 3: "Sweat" in Baltimore with Lindsey Barr

    October 23rd, 2018  |  1 hr 4 mins
    baltimore, dramaturgy, elections, everyman, george w. bush, lynn nottage, midterms, opioid epidemic, pennsylvania, politics, rust belt, sweat, theater, theatre, vote

    Lindsay Barr is the production dramaturg for Everyman Theatre's production of Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama "Sweat." She's also our administrator and sole staff member at the Literary Managers & Dramaturgs of the Americas. She also has like 4000 more degrees than I remembered. She's also super insightful. We bumped this episode WAY up the queue. With "Sweat" opening this week and midterm elections just two weeks away, this content feels pressing AF. Hop aboard The Context train!

  • Episode 2: Tiki-Turgy with Karen Jean Martinson

    October 16th, 2018  |  1 hr 20 mins
    culture, politics, theatre, tiki

    Dr. Karen Jean Martinson takes a deep dive into tiki culture and the vintage racism (and progressivism!) of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "South Pacific."

  • Episode 1: Burletiquette with Natalie Ann Valentine

    October 6th, 2018  |  57 mins 38 secs
    burlesque, feminism, theatre history

    Playwright, dramaturg, and sexy trash-raccoon Natalie Ann Valentine talks about stumbling into the world of burlesque, the differences in engagement and expectations between burlesque audiences and your traditional theatre audiences, how she creates story and character in a 3-minute routine, and more.

  • Episode 0: Coming Attractions

    September 25th, 2018  |  3 mins 4 secs

    Coming in October! The Context with Kate Langsdorf explores dramaturgy, meaning-making, and world-building in all sorts of media and cultures, from magic to pro wrestling to tiki to burlesque.