We normally start these interviews by asking your name and where you’re from and what you do, and we’d also like to know what your role in Fiasco is.

Jessie Austrian
I’m Jessie Austrian, I’m originally from Connecticut, and I live in Brooklyn. I’m one of the co-artistic directors and company members of Fiasco.

Andy Grotelueschen
I’m Andy Grotelueschen. I’m from Iowa and now I live in Brooklyn and I’m a company member of Fiasco.

And maybe you could tell us your sign as well.

Andy Grotelueschen
I’m a Capricorn.

Jessie Austrian
I’m a Sagittarius.

Andy Grotelueschen
I was actually born on the last day of the year.

Noah Brody
My name’s Noah Brody, I’m from New Jersey, I’m one of the co-artistic directors of Fiasco Theater and I’m also a Sagittarius.

Andy Grotelueschen
Double Sagittarius. They’re MARRIED!

Ben Steinfeld
I’m Ben Steinfeld, I’m one of the co-artistic directors of Fiasco. I’m from lots of different places but I live in South Orange, New Jersey now.

Jessie Austrian
Are you also a Capricorn?

Ben Steinfeld
I am.

Jessie Austrian
Double Capricorn.

Noah Brody
I was using the technical term, I am actually a double Sag.

Emily Young
Ooh. What does that mean?

Noah Brody
It means my sun and moon are both in Sag.

Andy Grotelueschen
Double Sag.

Paul Coffey
Paul Coffey, I’m from New York City, and I am a company member of Fiasco. And I’m an Aquarius. Single Aquarius.

Emily Young
I’m Emily Young. I’m from New York City. I am a company member of Fiasco, and I am a Cancer.

Noah Brody


On this process.

Emily Young
With a rising sign in…. Cancer.

Could you guys tell us a bit about the project you’re working on here at SPACE? Your process while here?

Jessie Austrian
Good question. Paul?

Noah Brody
Sure. Paul?

Andy Grotelueschen
Paul.

Paul Coffey
We’re working on our first devised piece, which we haven’t done before. We usually work off a script. We’ve done some Shakespeare, and we did a musical and then felt like the next challenge for us is to work on a piece we devise ourselves. So, we started that process about a year and a half ago. We did a Sundance lab up at MassMOCA up in Western Massachusetts and we started devising a piece there. This is the first time we’ve been able to pick that up again since then. It went on the backburner while we worked on other projects. So, we’re picking up where we left off a year and a half ago. We’re still trying to pin point what the spine of the piece is. What we’ve been doing up here is exploring what that might be. This week, we’ve been talking about losers a lot. Losers who win. The last couple of days we’ve been focusing on a couple of characters we developed at Sundance, and we’ve been telling their story for the last couple of days. We don’t know if this is going to be a piece about these two characters or if they will be part of a series of lots of different story lines. The title of the week has been Losers Who Win.

Emily Young
We’ve also been learning a lot about our process - really using this week to ask those questions of how you create and write a piece together. When do you use the strengths of what it means to write and create as individuals, and when do you come together as a group and iris in and out of those things as you go? Or when do you break up into duets and trios? How do you facilitate this without a writer and director?

Do you guys have a favorite place on the farm? I know you guys have been working in the barn a lot.

Jessie Austrian
The barn is pretty great.

Noah Brody
The barn is fantastic.

Emily Young
There’s a lot of stuff in there to use for inspiration.

Noah Brody
It’s very visually evocative, it has a great energy. It’s inside, but it’s outside at the same time. It doesn’t have four walls really. Especially in this kind of environment, to have air flowing in, light kind of dappling in through the walls and stuff, it’s great. It’s got a good energy for us to be together and a great environment for us to create. It gives energy to us.

Jessie Austrian
It has a history.

Andy Grotelueschen
An obvious history. It’s a great in-between between barn and art space. Because there’s still a lot of tools and stuff in there which is so evocative. But it has different environments in there, too. We’ve been playing in the hayloft, picking up tools that we could hurt ourselves with, things that we’re not supposed to touch. Playing the piano in the corner. It’s all great.

Do you guys know what the next steps are? For this devised piece, for Losers Who Win?

Paul Coffey
We’re kind of doing two things at once, right? Which is pursuing and finding what we’re really interested in, stories that we’re interested in telling, at the same time as we’re trying to figure out the process by which we create something together. So there’s the product and process that are in conversation with each other. We’re talking about both of those things at the same time. How do we move our process forward at the same time as we figure out how to tell the stories we want to tell?

Noah Brody
Next stop, I think, is a full production.

Emily Young
It’s the last day of the retreat, you know. Well, tomorrow is. And I feel like we’re still very much in the moment. It’s nice actually. It’s like every day has been a different tale, a different experience for us in that barn. So, I haven’t thought much about the next step.

And now we have a question that we always ask. If you were to be reincarnated as a farm animal, which farm animal would you be?

Jessie Austrian
Barn cat.

Andy Grotelueschen
Buffalo.

Emily Young
That’s a farm animal?

Andy Grotelueschen
What are you talking about? Where do you think you get buffalo meat? Fenced in buffaloes.

Emily Young
That’s true.

Andy Grotelueschen
Buffalo.

Noah Brody
I want to be Porch the Cat.

Emily Young
It’s a good life.

Jessie Austrian
No one’s going to eat him.

Emily Young
But that buffalo is going to be delicious.

Ben Steinfeld: Sheep.

Paul Coffey
I’d go with one of those horses. Leticia or Nike.

Emily Young
Me too. Free pasture horse.

Paul Coffey
But none of those stinky ducks.

Interviewed by Emma Munson and Sam Mayer