Stable Cable's Lisa Anderson on The Conspiracists / by Declan Maloney Drummond

What is Stable Cable's mission?

Stable Cable Lab Co. is an ensemble-based theater company that strives to create an environment for new work and theater artists to flourish.  We do this through developmental readings and workshops, ensemble laboratories and training, and productions.  We are dedicated to producing new plays that are intrinsically theatrical, ensemble-driven and bold.

What is The Conspiracists about?

The Conspiracists is a play that the Stable Cable ensemble created with playwright/director, Max Baker.  This is our third collaboration with Max in which he created the play with and specifically for Stable Cable actors.  This piece is full of dark humor and awkward moments, and challenges the audience’s perception of reality with a unique theatrical structure that I don’t want to say too much about because it will spoil the surprise.

Here’s the synopsis:  Set in a church basement, this mind-bender of a play follows a meeting of the “Under-35 Conspiracy Theorists Addict Support Group” (a.k.a. “Awake Anonymous Together” depending on which group member you ask – they’re still working out the official name). As the meeting members explore conspiracies from the Illuminati to the Mandela Effect, questions arise as to how firmly held habits and beliefs can limit us and even harm those around us. 

How did Stable Cable come to produce The Conspiracists and Hope You Get To Eleven...?

After two successful devising processes with Max Baker – Live From the Surface of the Moon and Because Me – we were eager to embark on another collaboration.  Prior to working with Max, our company had read and attending staged readings of other plays by him, including Sparrow’s LodgeHal & Bee,and Right Brutal, and were really intrigued by his work, but all of those plays were for actors older than the majority of our ensemble members.  We approached Max about writing a play for our ensemble, and that conversation has since led to three successful collaborations and productions.  Live From the Surface of the Moon was about young adults navigating suburban life in 1969 on the night of the moon landing, Because Me was about millennials navigating the artists’ life in NYC, and The Conspiracists is about young adults navigating their obsessions with “socially inconvenient conclusions” (read: conspiracy theories).

Whenever we are in residence at any space, Stable Cable likes to maximize our time with developmental readings, workshops, and in this case, a production of Padraic Lillis’ Hope You Get To Eleven or what are we going to do about Sally?  Padraic directed our last production of Lindsay Joy’s In the Event of My Death, which was about a group of people grappling with the suicide of one of their close friends.  That same summer, Padraic wrote and starred in the solo show Hope You Get To Eleven at the Planet Connections Festivity, also about suicide, and I was very moved by it.  So, when discussing what we wanted to do on our dark nights during our IRT residency, we invited Padraic to perform his play, which was awarded Best Solo Show at Planet Connections.  Suicide and depression have affected the lives of many of our company members, and as Padraic points out in Hope You Get To Eleven, these are topics that impact thousands of people on a regular basis, and yet there is still so much shame and silence surrounding it, and there shouldn’t be.  We are excited to collaborate with Padraic to continue the conversation surrounding mental health and suicide.

What is Stable Cable's relationship to IRT Theatre?

The first show I ever saw at IRT was an incredible production called Lake Water by Troy Deutsch, which the awesome Daniel Talbott directed.  That production prompted me to look into how Stable Cable could get involved with IRT.

We’ve since been in residence at IRT on three occasions.  The first was for a developmental workshop production, and most recently the world premiere of In the Event of My Death by Lindsay Joy in August of 2016, and now the world premiere of The Conspiracists by Max Baker.  Artistic director Kori Rushton and the rest of the staff at IRT are fantastic people, and we are very grateful for their support.  As every theater artist in NYC knows, one of the biggest challenges of producing new work (or any work for that matter) is funding.  IRT’s subsidized theater space allows us to allocate more resources to production elements and our artists rather than having to shell out more than 50% of our budget for space alone.  It’s an incredible resource, and I highly recommend applying for a residency. 

What are your future plans?

The majority of our collaborations to date have heavily involved our ensemble of emerging artists – playwrights, actors, and directors  in their 20s and 30s, and that has been a great and exciting way for the company to evolve over the past five years.  Our collaborations with Max Baker have been unique in that he is a playwright from another generation-- a seasoned theater professional with many credits as an actor On and Off-Broadway, and holds his MA in Playwriting.  Our collaborations with Max have inspired Stable Cable producing director Margaret Santa Maria and me to continue to finds ways to bring emerging and veteran theater artists together.  We’re currently working out the details for a multi-generational playwrights program in which Stable Cable will commission two writers—one emerging and one veteran — to each write a play on the same topic, and then put both plays up back to back, or in rep after providing each play with a full developmental process.  The program would involve a mentorship element and would include both emergent and established actors, directors, and designers in addition to the playwrights. We’re in the preliminary planning stages and don’t have a name for the program yet, but that is the direction that we are hoping to take the company within the next couple of seasons.

We will also be announcing some exciting plans for our productions next season very soon!  Stay tuned….