Currently Hassberry Theatre Company only has a Facebook Page. Click above to visit.
Hassberry Theatre Company was formed in 2002 when a group of us playwriting students at Brooklyn College decided to put on our own one act plays. There were four of us who, not knowing anything about putting on anything for stage, formed our own theatre companies, banded together, borrowed enough money to stage the plays at New York’s Producers Club. Each of us were responsible for his/her own production and inviting audience. We called it “One Night Stand” and we’d have to have in common the bare stage with minimal props (a table and chairs mostly).
The 50 seat theatre was sold out the night of the performance. It was my first taste of writing, producing and directing a script of mine. And as is the case with first timers a lot of people walked all over me. But that’s another story. We paid back what we borrowed and the audience wanted to see more. The group created one more ‘One Night Stand’ months later in a bigger space, which also had sold out.
I’d left before the third event for reasons that plagues show business: pricks.
Some months later I had the opportunity to produce two of my short radio drama scripts. It was the next best thing to making movies. I’d contacted the producer of a radio show on WNYE FM 91.5. Irwin Gonshak, who ran that show, replied, “If you have plays, I’ll air them.” It aired a couple of months later and my mom got to hear them when it aired; she was visiting from Bangladesh.
Fast forward to a year later. I get an email from Irwin. He wants me to partner with him in producing the 2005 Big Apple Short Radio Drama Festival. Without knowing what I was getting myself into, I agreed. Short version: I ended up producing dozens of new radio plays by authors from around the world with a lot of help from the Writers Guild of America, East, who had collected script submissions via their affiliates and send them to me. I took on the task of casting, producing, editing and sound design for all the selected plays. I had access to Brooklyn College Radio Station’s recording booth and was generously granted permission to record in it. I learned how to edit on SawPro software (has anyone else used it?) Basically, I learned on the job.
The festival went on air with 40+ radio plays, including submissions from NYU, Soundstage Audio Theater, and Crazy Dog Audio Theater, and other independent producers. The Writers Guild of America, East archived all of the plays on their site (it’s since gone after their re-design).
As much as I liked Old Time Radio plays I never wanted to produce in that style. I liked to call mine radio movies. Soundstage Audio Theater were my heroes when it came to that. I remember those days agonizing over finding the right actors, recording, traveling 1.15 hours by train so I could spend a few hours editing before students wanted the computers for assignments, all before 10 AM. It was all worth it. I didn’t own a computer that did much (it had a 64MB RAM, so there you go).
The most successful out of all the radio plays I’ve produced is Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven which is still being licensed by radio stations every Halloween since 2005. The radio adaptation by William Spear was great and was written for two voices. I recorded with one, Thos Shipley’s. It took me a while to figure out how to edit that until one morning I had a breakthrough: the other voice is in his head!! But the piece really took shape with my friend Kevin Mahonchak’s haunting score. In essence, Kevin brung it! Years later when I embarked on The Third, Kevin was the only person I had in mind to score the series.
This was supposed to be a short intro to Hassberry Theatre Company but here we are several paragraphs later. Enjoy the plays!!
My first radio drama
An experimental piece