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Monday, April 11, 2011

The Upstage Interview: Sarah Mahoney

It’s all about breaking down barriers

Upstage Host Eric Sukhu spoke with Sarah Mahoney, Artistic Director of C’est La Vie Theatre. Below is an abridged version of the interview transcribed by Estelle Rosen, CharPo Editor-in-Chief.

Sukhu asked Mahoney about the origins of C’est La Vie Theatre.

It’s been something I’ve been wanting to do for several years which is what prompted it. I always like to have something to listen to; preferably spoken word rather than music. Putting theatre into your iPod gives you a chance to listen while you’re on the go.

If you want to listen to Shakespeare no problem, but if you want to listen to new plays, there’s nothing available. I’m a theatre director and producer, so always want to be finding more plays. Blending iPod and theatre is my solution for myself. At the same time there are a lot of others in the same situation.

Going to theatre can be a bit daunting; especially new works can be scary. This is trying to break down those barriers. You could listen for 5 minutes on your iPod. If you don’t like it, tune in next week, you might like that one. It’s all about breaking down barriers. Making theatre more accessible.

...we’re not shying away from any topics; racism, gender identity, love stories...

Sukhu asked whether she finds there are people who are not interested in theatre.

Yes I still find there are a lot of people not going to the theatre. I’m hoping this will help open ways for those people particularly to get more involved in theatre.

I don’t know how much this will help but we’re trying to be inclusive by offering plays in all subjects. In order to do that, we’re not shying away from any topics; racism, gender identity, love stories; basically  trying to run the full gamut of different types of theatre.

Our plan is to offer nine plays for the first season.

Asked when this project began, she responded,

We started in November and will air our first broadcast Tuesday April 12. Our plan is to offer nine plays for the first season.

We are still accepting submissions for the second season. Submission is easy, just go to our website, and send script.

Scripts don’t have to be workshopped; we prefer scripts that have been shown once; ideally something that was in a Fringe or other festival but doesn’t know where to go next. That’s the type of script we’re looking for to give it a wider audience. Hope it’ll also be a way for artistic directors to find talent.

Asked for a sneak peek of what’s coming up on Tues. Apr. 12, she mentioned a few:

Prisoner’s Dilemma by Sterling Lynch, about trusting; how much you can trust somebody.

Eight words that ruined my relationship.

Oreo is a semi-autobiographical play about racial and sexual identity.

Bestiary by Jim Burke; true facts about animals who have been sacrificed in history, told from their point of view. A couple examples: Jonas the whale; the dog that went up in the first Sputnik.

To access podcasts, go to There will be new plays every two weeks. In the alternating weeks, we will conduct interviews with playwrights. We want to get to the point where people can talk to playwrights to discuss what’s going on. 

They can also be downloaded free via iTunes.

Twitter: @cestlavietheatre
Read Ryan Thom's first-person piece about the process here.

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