Midweek Teaser: Renee Liciaga Redux

The Ivory Tower Boiler Room team has been working hard–celebrating our birthday, getting ready to begin our second year of podcasting, and welcoming a fifth member, Ceren Usta, to our team. We’ll give you an opportunity to get to know Ceren very soon.

We all deserve a little break this weekend, and we don’t mind telling you that last week’s gem of an episode required not a little editing work from Andrew. So this weekend, we’re dusting off an earlier interview that has just been brought into new relevance.

As more and more of the world reopens, and we look towards reopening more and more performance venues, we invite you to join Andrew on a trip back into our archives for a visit with his former theatre director, Renee Chambers Liciaga. When you listen to the interview, you’ll really get a peek at things that have influenced Andrew’s skills as a public speaker and performer, and how they help him with his public humanities work. Andrew’s Big Think for August has links to the exciting walking tours he leads, so you can hear those skills in action.

The conversation between Andrew and Renee is a trip in and of itself–her energy is contagious and she’s a wonderful storyteller, sharing with us tales about her experiences performing in Germany as well as about some experiences closer to home. Renee did the next-to-impossible: mounting a work of theater in the year 2020, and the description of how she and her team pulled it off is a dramatic narrative all on its own. Renee takes us through how innovative her team was in addressing the pandemic challenges–the need for things like masks and social distancing, and how they integrated those solutions in really innovative ways, even while working with a reduced cast and crew. 

At the heart of this interview is the idea of how the arts bring us together, both as performers and as audience-members, and how we need those connections more than ever as we rise to the challenges, adjust to the changes, and recover from the scourge, of COVID-19. Best of all, though, are the stories about Andrew, his sense of responsibility, and most of all, his early role as a real go-getter… attributes that brought all of us who work with him in the Ivory Tower Boiler Room together and that we all see and can be inspired by.

There’s also a bit of a surprise ending to the interview. You’ll have to listen on Saturday to find out more. 

How do you put on a work of theater during the pandemic? Start by choosing a play where everyone is wearing masks!

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