Red Herring Theater: The Thanksgiving Play

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

By Romi Azulay

Every year, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with turkey and stuffing, with perhaps a thought of Native Americans briefly glancing their minds. Perhaps. Mark Mann and Michael Herring of Red Herring theater acknowledge these two separate angles of the holiday in their rendition of The Thanksgiving Play. The two creators joined Craft and guest host Elizabeth Falter to discuss their process. 

You think about eating and watching football.

Guest host Elizabeth Falter

The story by Larissa Fasthorse, a Native American playwright, centers around four white Americans trying to create a Thanksgiving play that is inclusive and politically correct, but are stalled by the fact that they do not know any Native Americans. Mann, the director of the play, explains Fasthorse granted him a strong message to build off. “All I had to do was help guide the performances toward the end zone,” Mann explained. “You let the human characters in the play create a situation in which the themes kind of sneak up on an audience member.”

Michael Herring described their journey and goals in trying to portray a message through theater. “Our mission is to produce plays that are profound- we like to make people think; provocative- we like to stimulate dialogue and debate,;professional- our production values are top notch.”

While they are serious about their work, they know how to have fun as well. Much of the play’s humor  “derives from these very earnest people trying to create something that’s over their heads,” Mann explained. “I don’t think there was a night in rehearsal that we all didn’t burst into laughter.”

You can find more information and purchase tickets to the play at www.redherringtheater.org. The play runs through November 21.

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2021 Ohioana Book Awards: Be there (virtually) on October 14

The 2021 Ohioana Book Awards will be presented on October 14 at the Ohio Statehouse. Listen in to find out who received an award and how you can get tickets to the free, open to the public virtual event.

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Craft goes to the dogs: How’s It Going? with dog groomer Lauren Powers

Continuing with my How’s It Going? series on local small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, I spoke with Lauren Powers from The Buckeye Dog Grooming in Clintonville. Listen in to hear about the changes necessary to keep pets and their owners safe, as well as what the best way to keep your dog looking good between groomings (hint: it’s something you should be doing anyway).

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What REALLY happens in local radio stations?: Ask Rachel Lynn Solomon

Well, what really happens in fiction, at least. Author Rachel Lynn Solomon has written four young adult books and her debut adult novel. The Ex Talk, is a Library Reads January 2021 pick. Solomon worked in public radio in college and in her 20s, and she drew on this experience for the book.

I really tried to plug in as many details as I could to make it feel real for a radio fan. So there are a lot of references to specific radio shows, you know–This American Life, Fresh Air, Car Talk–as well as trying to freshen it up with some newer podcast references.

Rachel Lynn Solomon

Listen in as we discuss what motivates Solomon as an author and how she can tell when she’s got the right plot for the story.

Rachel Lynn Solomon
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Steve Berry’s new Cotton Malone novel goes to WWII

Steve Berry on The Kaiser’s Web

Steve Berry is a former attorney, an internationally renowned thriller writer, and founder of History Matters. He has over 20 million books in print in over 50 countries and 40 different languages. As part of his tour for his latest, The Kaiser’s Web, he will appear virtually with the Thurber House on February 26.

I’ve been wanting to send my recurring character Cotton Malone into an adventure that deals with World War Two for a long time. That subject fascinates me. And I just couldn’t come across anything that was fresh or new or different. And I stumbled onto something a couple of years ago, while I was researching another novel, and it it just became the Kaiser’s Web.

Steve Berry

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Love and loss in the Gulf Coast: Columbus author Karin Cecile Davidson gives insight into her new novel

If you’re looking for a break from the various crises filling our lives right now, you might find some solace in reading up on a volatile moment in the United States’ past. This week we talk to Columbus author Karin Cecile Davidson on her first novel, Sybelia Drive, which released on October 6th from Braddock Avenue Books. Sybelia Drive is interwoven with the perspectives of characters living in the Gulf Coast through the tumultuous ‘60s and ‘70s as they attempt to grapple with the Vietnam War and its impact on their communities.

Sybelia Drive is interwoven with the perspectives of characters living in the Gulf Coast through the tumultuous ‘60s and ‘70s as they attempt to grapple with the Vietnam War and its impact on their communities.


Davidson holds an MFA from Lesley University, is the interviews co-editor at the Newfound Journal, and is the recipient of several awards for her writing, including an Ohio Arts Council Residency and an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award. Karin’s favorite things to write are short stories (many of which have been published in Five Points, the Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere), and she explained that her Sybelia Drive “started out as a story” until her graduate adviser helped her realize she wasn’t “writing linked stories—[she was] actually writing a novel.”
Listen in to learn all about the Vietnam War, how Karin crafts a vivid image of a Gulf Coast lake town, and what it’s like to write a novel.

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How Are You Doing? Natalie’s Coal-Fired Pizza

The incredible impact of COVID-19 has been felt by everyone but few have been hit as hard as restaurants, live performance venues, and other public gathering place. In a series I’m calling “How Are You Doing?,” I’ll be talking with central Ohio businesses to find out how they’re weathering the storm.

My first guest is Charlie Jackson, part owner of Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza in Worthington and Grandview. We discuss the impact of the shutdown and the innovations this local business has put in place. Listen in to hear a success story that’s music to our ears.

Charlie Jackson with Natalie’s Coal-Fired Pizza

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Carrie Newcomer: “It’s about how we process”

Carrie Newcomer has been touring and writing albums throughout her long career. But, like it did for all of us, COVID-19 disrupted her life completely: “I’ve toured a lot over the last years, and within a month and a half, I’d been home longer in a stretch than I had been in 30 years,” Newcomer says.

But that didn’t stop her from taking a journey, this time into the complexities of livestreamed performances. “I just started learning, and started learning about video production … how to do live production.”

Her learning will be put to great use on January 30 when she will livestream with Columbus’ Six String Concerts. As she explained, the move to livestreaming came from her sense of wanting to connect with her listeners:

How do I continue to put this music into the world, give the spirit that I most want to give in the world? [I knew] that it would be different: online performance is another animal. And I think sometimes people will just put up a camera, and it's like the same, but it's really not. I've done performances of my songs and created concerts and community events for years, and I would say recording, like recording albums, that's an animal. That's like apples. Live performance in person, that would be oranges: apples and oranges. But there's things that translate across, right, but they are different animals. And online performance is yet another animal, and it shares certain kinds of skills and abilities and, you know, spirit. But it's a different animal.

Check her different animal out on January 30 and report back with your comments on her performance. It’s sure to be well worth your time.

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It’s cold outside but Bruce Campbell & the Evil Dead will keep you warm

If you’ve watched Bruce Campbell in movies like the Evil Dead series or Bubba Ho-Tep or TV shows like The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.; Jack of All Trades; Hercules: The Legendary Journeys; Xena: Warrior Princess; Burn Notice; or Ash vs. Evil Dead (whew!), then you know fun. He’s bringing his trademark charisma and humor to Columbus (sort of) with a worldwide watch party of the Evil Dead on January 23. Groovy! Listen in for more about his career and what you’ll hear at the watch party.

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Dog gone tired of bad behavior? Joel Silverman has some suggestions

Image of dog

Joel Silverman, celebrity animal trainer and host of Animal Planet’s “Good Dog U,” joins Craft to describe some of the best training techniques that you may want to use on that new puppy you got over the holidays or during the COVID-19 shutdown. Grab some treats and find out who’s a good dog? Who is? Yes, you are!

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