072: Representation matters. Stepping out of boxes with Director Michele Okoh

This is theatre director Michele Okoh’s second appearance on the ASBX podcast. We first spoke in early summer of 2018 prior to the Women’s Theatre Festival in which she directed Danai Gurira’s play ECLIPSED.

In this episode, Michele talks about what she learned from her directing experience last summer. She also speaks very passionately and with great vulnerability about the need for representation and inclusivity in the theatre for women artists of color and for creatives with a variety of backgrounds and experiences.  

Michele Okoh is a local director, playwright, and actor. She is currently directing “The Black Spectre: A Train Grown Cold”, a radio play, for Cary Playwright’s Forum. She is also currently writing  a new play THE VOICE OF TAMAR. She has previously directed a well-received production of Eclipsed for the North Carolina Women’s Theatre Festival. Selected ECLIPSED Reviews: Triangle Arts and Entertainment and Indyweek

Mentions: 037: Director Michele Okoh brings the heroes of ECLIPSED to the stage as part of the Women’s Theatre Festival

This episode is brought to you by the Soapboxers, the official patrons of the Artist Soapbox. If you like these episodes and want more, get on the Soapbox! This episode was recorded at Shadowbox Studio. Artist Soapbox theme music by Bart Matthews. Additional audio editing by Merrybelle Park Productions.

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NOTES FOR MICHELE

Let’s talk about your experience directing ECLIPSED by Danai Gurira during the WTF of 2018.

We first spoke on the podcast prior to even your first rehearsal — I think you’d just had your first production meeting and had just cast the show.

Expectations vs. Reality: What did you expect from your experience as a director and how did the actual experience measure up to those expectations? (This can include your experience with the production team, designers, cast, producer, etc.)

What were some of the challenges that you bumped up against during the process?

What were some of the most successful aspects?

What did you hear during the talkbacks? How did the audience respond to the show?

As you spent more time with the play in rehearsal…how did your understanding of the story/characters/theme deepen? What did you learn about the play (or the themes of the play) just by doing it?

How did you grow as a director thru having this experience? What would you do differently and what would you do the same?

Now that you are on the other side of it, what value do you see in telling that particular story in this community?

Artist Soapbox podcast is a listener supported podcast. If you listen, please support the podcast by sharing episodes with friends and contributing via our Patreon campaign.

If you have feedback, questions, suggestions, please email artistsoapbox@gmail.com. FEEDBACK IS EVERYTHING TO ASBX.

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Artist Soapbox

Artist Soapbox is a platform for original scripted audio fiction and an opportunity for artists to discuss their creative work in their own voices. We do this through our interview podcast, our blog, and original audio dramas.

Artist Soapbox is an anti-racist organization. We believe Black Lives Matter. In addition, as a podcast production company, ASBX has signed the Equality in Audio Pact on Broccoli Content.

Artist Soapbox is more than just a podcast.

We lead writers groups, accountability support, workshops, and events. We produce and create audio dramas too! Listen to the Master BuilderThe New Colossus Audio Drama, Declaration of Love, and ASBX Shorts. Stay tuned to hear about more projects written by the Soapbox Audio Collective Writers’ Group.

Audio Dramas

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The New Colossus

The New Colossus Audio Drama is a totally unhinged dark comedy reboot of Anton Chekhov’s classic play, THE SEAGULL.

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Master Builder

This audio drama was adapted from Tamara’s 2018 stage play produced by Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern and inspired by Henrick Ibsen’s classic, The Master Builder published in 1892.

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Declaration of Love

Co-producers Aurelia Belfield and Tamara Kissane of Artist Soapbox commissioned eleven NC playwrights to craft short audio scenes based on the prompt “Declaration of Love.”

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ASBX Shorts

ASBX Shorts are six short audio fiction pieces created and produced by North Carolina artists. Artist Soapbox Shorts were specifically contributed by the artists to aid in fundraising and to get everyone excited about Jesus Pancake, our new audio fiction series in development.

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