Sunday, June 16, 2013

Planet Connections Interview - The Akadēmeia Theatre Company of "Miss Nowhere Diner"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Akadēmeia Theatre Company
Show:  Miss Nowhere Diner
Relationship to production:  We are a theatre company; Lydia Fort is the Producing Artistic Director and Kathleen Potts is the Managing Artistic Director.  We are producing this show in conjunction with Planet Connections Theatre Festivity 2013.  

Tell me about your company and how long you've been involved with theatre.

We are a brand new theatre company, Akadēmeia Theatre; however, co-founders Lydia Fort and Kathleen Potts both consider theatre their life-long artistic calling.  

Who are your biggest influences?

Akadēmeia Theatre is named after and draws inspiration from Plato’s famous school of philosophy in ancient Greece.  Our theatre company embraces the concept of a theatrical production as a public forum for discussing – and even debating – important social and cultural issues. 

What is your show about?

Gambling, promises, denial, lies, and a trucker/preacher who thinks of his flock “not as sheep, but as deer in the headlights of life.”  As each character’s outlook is altered, the audience is left to decide what truly constitutes conversion – what truly constitutes change. 

What inspired you to bring it to the stage?

Having spent time last summer with Planet Connections Festivity founder Glory Kadigan at La MaMa Umbria International Symposium for Directors, Lydia Fort was inspired by the vision of directing a production that raises awareness and financial support for worthy social causes in an eco-friendly/socially conscious environment.  Miss Nowhere Diner, by Kathleen Potts, seemed to be the perfect fit for this festival, as it deals with a major societal issue – addiction to gambling. 

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them? 

We have a terrific cast:  Corey Wright *(AEA), Salina Duplessis, Jennifer Roberts, Branden Baskin, Miriam Tabb, and Lex Daemon.  Our design team is incredibly creative and our technical crew is passionately dedicated.  We’re even crazy about our PR person.  They’re an amazing group, who, along with the Planet Connections people, make up a wonderful artistic community.  

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity.  What charity has your production chosen and why?

NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness is our charity of choice.  As spokesperson Jennifer Hudson says on their website, “Mental illness affects 1 in 4 or nearly 60 million Americans every year.  It’s time to provide support, educate our peers, and play our part.”  (  We’re playing our part (literally and figuratively) with this production. 

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

We are currently creating the long-term vision for Akadēmeia Theatre Company, which we hope will include new productions, workshops, staged readings, and continued community outreach. 
If you could do one thing to change the world, what would it be?  

Making theatre and experiencing theatre can bring all of us closer to the same goals we have when we choose to get an education: to actively engage with challenging subjects and ideas and, in the process, expand our knowledge of what the world is and our concepts of what it can be.  

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