Theater Podcast: MAGELLANICA (Audio Drama by E.M. Lewis from Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, OR)

Post image for Theater Podcast: MAGELLANICA (Audio Drama by E.M. Lewis from Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, OR)

by Tony Frankel on May 25, 2021

in Theater-Regional,Virtual

Streaming for free through June 30, 2021, is Artists Repertory Theatre’s five-part, four-hour audio drama Magellanica on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Sticher, and where you find podcasts. 

Magellanica is about a crew of climate scientists during a 1986 “winter over” in Antarctica. Adapted by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Playwright-in-Residence and Steinberg New Play Award winning playwright, E.M. Lewis, from her 2018 World Premiere play. It is inspired by the scientists and engineers from around the world who converged at the South Pole in the 1980s to study the hole in the ozone layer, ultimately averting that particular threat to the planet. In the darkest, coldest, most dangerous place on Earth, eight imperfect souls are trapped together and utterly isolated from the outside world for eight and a half months. This tiny, international community meets as strangers and must face life or death challenges, their own inner demons, and depend upon each other for survival.

The audio drama features composition and sound by Rodolfo Ortega, whose soundscape for the original production was showcased at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design. A research partnership with Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) allowed for an extensive piece of supplemental science-based content. View the trailer for Magellanica HERE.

The Magellanica Company features the work of several artists who may be familiar to Los Angeles theatre audiences. Furious Theatre Co-Founder and former Pasadena Playhouse Associate Artistic Director Dámaso Rodríguez directs, Furious Theatre Co-Founder Shawn Lee serves as Producer, with a cast featuring Furious Theatre Co-Founders Sara Hennessy and Eric Pargac. Playwright E.M. Lewis, whose most recent play How the Light Gets In had its Steinberg New Play Award-winning world premiere at Pasadena’s Theatre@Boston Court in 2019 developed early drafts of Magellania at L.A.’s Moving Arts. The audio adaptation also features an accompanying slideshow where viewer-listeners can see photos of veteran L.A. scenic designer Stephanie Kerley Schwartz’s set and sketches of the original production.

Magellanica was rehearsed and recorded as a part of Artists Rep’s Mercury Company in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, which hired over 50 writers, directors, educators, actors, technicians, designers, and producers (including several ART staff) in June 2020 to collaboratively create theatre-inspired work that moves beyond the traditional form in response to shelter-in-place orders and public assembly restrictions. Individuals were involved in a multitude of projects, forming a rapidly assembled repertory company dubbed the ART: Mercury Company. Projects were developed independently, or via collaborative meetings in Zoom and in-person recording and filming sessions under strict physically distanced work protocols. See the trailer by Shuttersky Pictures for ART: Mercury Company HERE.

“Utilizing Payroll Protection Grant funding in the early weeks of the pandemic afforded us the unanticipated chance to re-assemble our original cast, who had spent 12 weeks rehearsing and performing the epic script in its original limited run,” said ART Artistic Director, Dámaso Rodríguez.” “With the team back together working full-time for five additional weeks–first in Zoom, then in studio under SAG/AFTRA safety protocols– (playwright) Ellen was able to adapt the script to the audio-only format, while we rehearsed and recorded, the actors benefiting from a rare amount of time with the play, creating an unusual intimacy with one another and their characters. I’m thrilled this medium allows us to share our work, and Ellen’s beautiful play, with its hopeful call to action on behalf of our shared humanity, with audiences around the world.”

Magellanica Audio Drama
By E.M. Lewis
Directed by Dámaso Rodríguez

Magellanica Audio Drama Cast  
Vin Shambry as Captain Adam Burrell
John San Nicolas as Freddie de la Rosa
Sara Hennessy as Dr. Morgan Halsted
Michael Mendelson as Dr. Vadik Chapayev
Allen Nause as Dr. Todor Kozlek
Barbie Wu as Dr. May Zhou
Eric Pargac as Dr. Lars Brotten
Joshua J. Weinstein as Dr. William Huffington

Magellanica Audio Drama Creative Team  
Producer & Dramaturg | Luan Schooler
Producer | Kristeen Willis
Sound Designer & Composer | Rodolfo Ortega
Line Producer | Jamie Lynne Simons
Dialect Coach & Voice Over Actor | Karl Hanover*
Russian Dialect Advisor & Voice Over Actor | Julia Zazhigina
Auxiliary Magellanica Content Producer | Avital Shira

Comments on this entry are closed.