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Pep Talks For A New World



PEP! Becca Blackwell ✪ Gut? Trust it.
PEP! Ramiz Monsef ✪ What should you be? Hint. It involves howling.
PEP! Lorraine Currelley ✪ The tears are important.
PEP! Carolina Đỗ ✪ Napping is a portal.
PEP! William Burke! ✪ For Jeanette.
PEP! Nia Farrell ✪ Pull the cord. It’ll work out.
PEP! Darian Dauchan! ✪ Rise up. On all planets.

Playco and William Burke Present
Pep Talks For A New World
Conceived by William Burke

Featuring Becca Blackwell, William Burke, Lorraine Currelley, Darian Dauchan, Carolina Đỗ, Nia Farrell, and Ramiz Monsef

Edited by Maggie Robinson
Music by Brian Lawlor

Is it possible to have pep right now? Can we at least rally around the things that humanity needs? Curated and conceived by William Burke, Season 1 of this new series (PlayCo’s first podcast series ever!!) brings you 7 artists in short podcasts episodes (PEP Casts). Maybe it will help us heal the world. Or get up and do the dishes. Both are important.

From William Burke: “One day…These will be live. Unassuming but rockin’ gatherings with marching bands, pyrotechnics etc. But for now, allow us to inject some pep into your eardrums. The idea is that they can be about anything. Buttering toast. Ending climate change. It’s a chance to ask people to rise up as one and be part of something. They can be soft. They can be loud. They can be super dark or uncomfortable. But it’s about going through the dark to see the light at the end of that dank, smelly tunnel.

“During this time, friends of mine have asked for pep talk or a motivational word. It’s a trick I do at gatherings or events. The equivalent to wearing a lampshade at parties. I’ve found (to my dismay) that I haven’t had anything in the tank. Our landscapes have felt empty and shallow with brutal world events keeping us quiet in our small bubbles. That changes now. We could all use a little collective fire. Some high-octane forward motion, while breathing once in a while. We could use some Pep Talks for a New World.”



*Please note that Apple Podcasts has been slow to update lately; for the fullest PEP TALKS experience, we recommend you listen on one of our other available platforms.


ui accordion buttonui accordion buttonui accordion buttonui accordion buttonBecca Blackwell


Becca Blackwell is an NYC-based trans actor, performer & writer. Existing between genders, and preferring the pronoun “they,” Blackwell works collaboratively with playwrights & directors to expand our sense of personhood & the body through performance. Some collaborations have been with Young Jean Lee, Half Straddle, Jennifer Miller’s Circus Amok, Richard Maxwell, Erin Markey, Sharon Hayes, and Lisa D’Amour. Film/TV includes: “High Maintenance,” “Ramy,” “Marriage Story,” “Shameless,” and “Deadman’s Barstool.” They have toured their solo shows They, Themself and Schmerm and Schmermie’s Choice across the US. Recipient of the Doris Duke Impact Artist Award, the Creative Capital award, and the Franklin Furnace award.

ui accordion buttonui accordion buttonui accordion buttonui accordion buttonLorraine Currelley


Lorraine Currelley: poet, spoken word artist, Bronx Beat Poet Laureate 2020-2022, multi-genre writer, Pearls of Wisdom storyteller, educator, art/literary curator & visual artist. She is executive director for Poets Network & Exchange and has curated exhibits for Mom Egg Review (VOX), Studio Theater in Exile, & Hudson Valley MOCA. In 2017, she became the first female executive director for the Bronx Book Fair. 

MS in Mental Health Counseling, Certification in Thanatology. An activist, she writes & works to change the present negative societal image and narrative on aging and mental health to a healthy paradigm on mental health and age. She resides in New York City.

ui accordion buttonui accordion buttonui accordion buttonui accordion buttonCarolina Đỗ


Carolina Đỗ is an actor, playwright, producer and proud daughter of Vietnamese freedom fighters and refugees. She’s a community organizer and advocate for art that facilitates healing in marginalized communities. Broadway: NYT’s Critics’ Pick LINDA VISTA (u/s), GRAND HORIZONS (u/s). She’s worked with numerous NYC theater companies, including: PlayCo, The Tank, New Dramatists, New Collectives. Her play, MY MOTHER’S DAUGHTER, was a semifinalist for Space on Ryder Farm and a 2020 finalist for BRICLab. Co-founder & co-Artistic Leader of The Sống Collective.

ui accordion buttonui accordion buttonui accordion buttonui accordion buttonRamiz Monsef


Ramiz Monsef is a LA-based actor and writer. Regional: Berkeley Rep (EURYDICE, ARABIAN NIGHTS, FETE DE LA NUIT), Yale Rep (EURYDICE), The Mark Taper Forum (ARCHDUKE), The Kirk Douglas (VICUNA), The Geffen Playhouse (GUARDS AT THE TAJ, MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES), & The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (THE UNFORTUNATES, premiere/co-writer). New York: SecondStage (EURYDICE), The Culture Project (BETRAYED), and New York Theatre Workshop (ALL THE I WILL EVER BE). TV: NCIS, Training Day, SWAT, Kidding, Shameless, Modern Family, and Young Sheldon. Ramiz is a member of the 2019 Geffen Writers Room and is currently workshopping his newest show, THE ANTS, at the Ojai Playwrights Conference.

ui accordion buttonui accordion buttonui accordion buttonui accordion buttonBrian Lawlor


Brian Lawlor is a composer/multi-instrumentalist/conductor living in Jersey City, NJ. He received a B.M. in Composition from Cornish College of the Arts, an M.M. from SUNY Purchase, and studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music (Koninklijk Conservatiorium) in Den Haag, Netherlands. Mr. Lawlor has received grants from Jack Straw Productions, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and his music has been performed throughout North America, Europe and China. Brian is the composer for Seattle experimental theater group Saint Genet. He has conducted, composed and performed with a variety of ensembles — from chamber orchestra to synth trio — while working with the collective. Recent engagements include On the Boards, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, DonauFestival, New Island Festival, and Works & Process at the Guggenheim (curated by Robert Wilson). Lawlor also frequently collaborates with a variety of choreographers — most notably Princess Grace fellowship recipient Olivier Wevers and the Whim W’Him dance company. As an instrumentalist, Mr. Lawlor is frequently working with recording artists in the NYC area. He has recorded guitar and/or piano for Beyonce, Los Inquietos del Norte, Winds of Plague, and Folly. Brian was the bassist for Texas bluegrass/metal outfit Uncle Fudger and is a frequent guest bassist for Brooklyn surf-rockers Slim Wray.

ui accordion buttonui accordion buttonui accordion buttonui accordion buttonWilliam Burke


William Burke is a playwright, director and curator living in BrooklynHis productions include the food was terrible (The Bushwick Starr), PIONEERS!#goforth (JACK), COMFORT DOGS: Live from the Pink House (JACK) and FURRY! (JACK) FURRY!/LA FURIA! (The Bushwick Starr). With Target Margin Theater: I Made a Mistake, EXPLODITY! and DAY!Night?fuck (The Stahl Center at Stony Brook University. Co-Chair of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab with Jackie Sibblies Drury, Head of Artistic Development and Co-Curator of the Starr Reading series at The Bushwick Starr, and a co-curator for Little Theatre at Dixon Place. William studied playwriting at Brooklyn College with Mac Wellman, Anne Washburn and Erin Courtney.

ui accordion buttonui accordion buttonui accordion buttonui accordion buttonDarian Dauchan


Darian Dauchan is an award-winning actor, writer, & musician who has appeared on Broadway (TWENTIETH CENTURY) and Off-Broadway. TV/Film: LAW AND ORDER, BET THE HOUSE, THINGS NEVER SAID (feature film). Darian recently completed THE BROBOT JOHNSON PROJECT, an Afrofuturism, Sci-Fi Hip-Hop transmedia piece. The web series THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BROBOT JOHNSON won Outstanding Comedy Series at the 2017 LA Web Festival & BEST editing at the 2018 Independent Television Festival. The album BROBOT JOHNSON: BIONIC BOOM BAP is available on iTunes. THE BROBOT JOHNSON EXPERIENCE is a New York Times Critics’ Pick. Singles OHM and DEAD are on Spotify & other streaming platforms. www.dariandauchan.com https://www.brobotjohnson.com/

ui accordion buttonui accordion buttonui accordion buttonui accordion buttonNia Farrell


Nia Farrell is a creator, performer, and Mundane Afrofuturist who develops new work that celebrates the dreams and ancestry of Blk communities. As a creator and/or performer, Nia has collaborated with Soho Rep (Writer/ Director Lab; A MAP TO NOWHERE THINGS ARE), Theater Mitu (Hybrid Arts Lab; WILL TO THE WORLD), Ars Nova (ANT Fest; DREAMS IN BLK MAJOR), and Theatertreffen Stückemarkt. Alongside their artistic soulmate, Talia Paulette Oliveras (collectively, Ta-Nia), they are dedicated to making Blk spaces in an anti-Blk society. When she is not dreaming and scheming, Nia is Development Coordinator for Nine Muses Entertainment. niafarrell.com

ui accordion buttonui accordion buttonui accordion buttonui accordion buttonMaggie Robinson Katz


Maggie Robinson Katz is a writer, performer, and podcast producer. As a performer and writer, she has developed and performed in theaters across New York including The Kitchen, St. Ann’s Warehouse, The Brooklyn Museum, and The Bushwick Starr to name a few. She is a member and co-founder of Doll Parts, Brooklyn’s Premier Dolly Parton Coverband, which has been blessed by Dolly Parton herself! Maggie also co-created, co-produced, and hosted the Long-Distance Con for The New Yorker Radio Hour which went on to win a New York Radio Award and was nominated for a National Magazine Award & two Webby awards.