Salt graduate Galen Koch hosts “POV,” a podcast from Portland Ovations. Courtesy of Portland Ovations.

Congolese playwright Toto Kisaku was supposed to perform in Portland in the middle of April in a program presented by Portland Ovations. The show was postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus, but Galen Koch, the host of a new Portland Ovations podcast, “POV,” got Kisaku on the phone to talk about what audiences are missing and what they can expect next year. Koch will feature him in the next episode, which will be ready later this month.

Toto Kisaku in performance of “Requiem for an Electric Chair.” He will talk about the show he could not perform in Portland on an upcoming Portland Ovations’ podcast. Courtesy of Portland Ovations

“Toto has a moving and pretty intense story about coming to America, and he speaks passionately about why he makes the theater he makes,” Koch said, previewing the episode. “Even though the performance can’t happen at this time, we still want to tell his story.”

Kisaku tells a story of resilience and perseverance in “Requiem for an Electric Chair,” a solo piece that he has performed around the world. He was scheduled to perform April 16 at John Ford Theater at Portland High School.

Koch is a 2014 Salt graduate and is most familiar to audiences for her work on The First Coast, a Kindling Fund-supported mobile sound studio and exhibition that collects and tells stories in Maine’s year-round coastal communities. Like a lot of other artists, Koch lost part of her gig when the coronavirus hit. Her next installment of The First Coast project was supposed to happen this month in Jonesport but was canceled. That’s given her time to focus on the podcast.

Portland Ovations began the podcast this fall as pilot project to provide access to programs to people in different places and in different ways. The first episode was about Maine’s queer history, pegged to Taylor Mac’s season-opening performance, and Episode 2 was about Sara Juli’s premiere of “Burnt-Out Wife.”

A grant from the Maine Humanities Council enabled it to expand into a full season. With the coronavirus shutting things down, the podcast offers an important point of connection, said Linda Nelson, Ovations’ deputy director. “People are hungry for connections, and a podcast is one way we can do it,” she said. “While we are sad not to be able to share Toto as an artist in person, we are grateful to have this new opportunity to work with him creatively and to spread his story to our communities.”

In the podcast, Koch will use Kisaku’s immigration story to discuss the landscape of immigration in Maine and relate his story as an immigrant artist to similar stories in Portland.

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