In the final episode of Season Five, I spoke with a talented and passionate actress and producer Debra Ann Byrd. In our conversation, she mentioned one of the professors that had a significant impact on her own training and understanding theater. Debra Ann spoke so highly of this mentor that I looked her up and decided to ask her to come on his podcast as well.
But Elizabeth Swain is so much more than just a professor of theater. She is a Broadway actress with national tours and television credits as well. And she is quite the prolific director as well, with a specialty in classics like Shakespeare and the Greek tragedies. Elizabeth is also a member of the prestigious Antaeus theater company in Los Angeles. As you’ll hear Elizabeth is the perfect guest for Women’s History Month as she provides such a unique and wide perspective through her decades of work both on stage and off.
And in today’s episode you’ll be hearing three stories from her life:
Her first theater tour before she had actually decided to be an actress
Balanced her growing Broadway career with motherhood
Antaeus began in 1991 as a project of the prestigious Center Theatre Group. Founding Artistic Directors Dakin Matthews and Lillian Groag believed there could be a world-class classical ensemble in a city driven by the TV and film industry. They brought together a remarkable group of 30 members in Los Angeles to embark on this ambitious project. The group came together every Monday night to read, study and rehearse great classical plays.
After three decades and hundreds of readings, workshops and productions later, Antaeus has established an impressive reputation as a leader in the Los Angeles intimate theater community. Elizabeth Swain is a regular faculty member with the Antaeus Academy and has directed numerous productions for the company. As Antaeus continues to grow and mature, we remain committed to producing full seasons of plays, providing professional training and arts education programs, and utilizing our home as much as possible.
Women's History Month: Aprha Behn
“All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds.” - Virginia Woolf
Aphra Behn, one of the most influential dramatists of the late 17th century, was also a celebrated poet and novelist. Her contemporary reputation was founded primarily on her "scandalous" plays, which she claimed would not have been criticized for impropriety had a man written them. Her first play, The Forc'd Marriage (published, 1671), was produced in London, and Behn became one of the period's foremost playwrights. Her most famous novel, Oroonoko (1688), is based on her experiences in the West Indies and her friendship with a prince of the indigenous peoples. She earned her living in the theater and then as a novelist until her death on April 16, 1689. For more about her history, including service as a spy for King Charles II, check out this Smithsonian article.
WINMI Begins Outsourcing Projects
Thanks to recent support of Why I’ll Never Make It (through donations and monthly subscriptions), an effort has been made to hire outside help to work on various projects for the podcast. One is ongoing and has to do with IMDb listings and another involved organizing episode within Podbean, WINMI's hosting service. Due to errors on the part of this hired help, this podcast feed saw a lot of unintended activity the past couple of weeks. So first off, I want to apologize for the confusion and know that steps were taken to not let that happen again. Secondly, it was a wake up call for better vetting and training of such workers to more easily accomplish the task they are hired for. The next big task will be transcriptions for each episode.
So please consider a one-time donation (via PayPal) or a monthly subscription to bonus episodes (via Supercast), which will help offset the cost of this important service. Whichever way you choose to contribute, your help is so very much appreciated!
The Final Five
Though studying economics first, Elizabeth Swain eventually found a place in theater and has gone onto to acting, directing, and teaching. She has guided so many students through the Classics, and continually inspires a new generation of artists. You can find her Final Five on the WINMI Blog.