SOME WORDS ON COVID, BLACK LIVES MATTER, AND #WESEEYOUWAT
A lot has happened in the world since I last updated this website. Currently, my city remains under restrictions for COVID-19, and Black Lives Matter is finally getting the attention it truly deserves.
I stand in solidarity with the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community. I dedicate myself to the work of antiracism and promise to combat it in all its forms - from criminal justice initiatives to my own classroom. I say unequivocally: Black Lives Matter. I also support We See You White American Theater, which is demanding a radical reshaping of our theatrical infrastructure.
As a white cisgender heterosexual man working in both the arts and at a community college that is majority black, I have to regularly reckon with my privilege and my implicit biases. I promise to own my mistakes, make space for marginalized voices, and find ways to divest my own power.
Now is the time for change, and I hope, as always, to be a force for good.
THE WORK CONTINUES IN THE MID-ATLANTIC
Starting August 15, I return to the Community College of Baltimore County as the coordinator of the Theatre program on their Catonsville campus. I am honored to continue in this role, and do all I can to build a top-notch program based on antiracist practice and true equity.
Though theatres are closed, the work never stops. I continue to research and write on the topics of directing, participation, and social justice. And I am working on digital content with various collaborators. More info as it becomes available.
THANKS TO ALL WHO ATTENDED THE ELM TREE!!
My last directing project in Boston, The Elm Tree with Alight Theatre Guild, had a glorious but all too short run this past summer at the Boston Center for the Arts. Thanks to all who came to see this new immersive theatre piece created by Dori Robinson and based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.
The myth is told through the story of a pair of twins, who’s shared understanding keeps them together until a secret nearly forces them apart: one of them is actually trans. Through an experiential, immersive style, The Elm Tree seeks to familiarize its audience with the experience of those who identify as gender queer, and to open hearts and minds to a world that is safe and open to them.
You can see photos here.
MIDTERM SHAKE UP AT BRIDGE REP WAS A BLAST
This past fall, I returned to Bridge Repertory Theater to direct their Midterm Shake Up! I owe so much to Bridge Rep and loved working with them once again.
As our deeply divided country hurtled toward another election, Shakespeare offered non-partisan breathing room and historical perspective on our modern civil strife. Marc Antony's "Friends, Romans, countrymen" headlined an intense lineup from a smattering of plays, all of which sh a light on the questions and forces shaping our time.
NOMAD AMERICANA AT FRESH INK A "BREATH OF FRESH AIR"
My production of Kira Rockwell's Nomad Americana for Fresh Ink Theatre met with positive reviews and great audiences!
The play follows a young woman named Bridgette who has been travelling the country with her idiosyncratic, yogi family members in an old RV, selling soap and avoiding painful memories. When Bridgette meets a young dreamer named Danny and begins a romance, she starts to question her responsibilities to herself and to her family. It is a play about family, love, sacrifice, and the things left unspoken.
THANKS TO ALL WHO SAW THE VALENTINE'S SHAKE UP AT BRIDGE REP!!
This past Valentine's Day weekend, I had the pleasure of directing Bridge Rep Theater's Valentine's Shake Up at the Multicultural Arts Center in Cambridge. This night of Shakespeare, wine, and chocolate featuring performances from Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra and more sold out and extended!!
We had a stellar cast, and I was so grateful for the chance to collaborate with Bridge Rep after working on their award-winning Mrs Packard.
ARTISTIC CONSULTANT ON STORIES OF SUBSTANCE, FEATURED ON WBUR
I am currently consulting on a new production of Stories of Substance in Beverly, MA. I am so happy to see other schools and programs becoming interested in promoting this wonderful project.
Stories of Substance, the long anticipated play about opioid addiction pulled for the stories of young survivors, premiered in Salem on June 5. I spent over a year developing this play with the North Shore YMCA, Salem Athenaeum and New Liberty Charter School. WBUR's Deborah Becker attended the event and interviewed our creative team. You can hear her report on the project here.
HAMLET A SUCCESS AT MIT
This fall I happily returned to MIT Shakespeare Ensemble to helm their production production of Hamlet. We responded to the current political climate and focused on the question, "Can brutality and authoritarian actions be stopped by liberal values, or does one eventually have to embrace brutality to defeat it?"
I wish all the folks at MIT Shakespeare Ensemble the best as they near graduation!!
FUN WITH BRIDGE REP AT THE BOSTON THEATRE MARATHON
I had a great time this May Bridge Repertory Theater's production in the Boston Theatre Marathon.
I was lucky to collaborate with Jeni Mahoney on her play Diversity and Inclusion: A Report from Mrs. Abernathy's Fifth Grade Class. The play followed three middle school students delivering a report on diversity and inclusion that goes off the rails when one student tries to control the whole narrative. It brought a humorous eye to the challenges of practicing inclusion both in academia and our daily lives.
Thanks to the folks at Bridge Rep, Jeni, and my wonderful performers, Bridgette, Ashley and Arthur!
PUBLISHED IN THE FALL '16 THEATRE TOPICS
I am proud to announce that my article, "Dissonant Witnessing: the 'in' and 'above' of Thou Proud Dream," has been published in the Fall 2016 edition of Theatre Topics, published by Johns Hopkins University Press.
The article documents my work on Thou Proud Dream, the site-specific adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry V I created with Jenni Lamb. It discusses my attempts to articulate a practicable means of transforming spectators into witnesses by considering their place both embedded in the story and standing outside of it.
Thank you to all of my mentors, who guided me through this process!!
DISCUSSING AUDIENCE RESPONSIBILITY ON HOWLROUND
My ongoing blog series for HowlRound, entitled The Audience Position, explores how tools of interactive theatre can promote social awareness and audience repsonsibility. I hope it leads to further discussions about how interactive and immersive theater can spark conversations about strengthening our communities.
Read the first post here, introducing the series.
Post #2 talks about point of view and the audience contract.
Post #3 discusses how much agency to give an audience.
Post #4 explores the power of proximity and distance.
Post #5 examines what it means to watch other audience members.
In Post #7 I share my experience trying to figure out how to get an audience to collaborate within a performance.
BERNARDA ALBA OPENS AMIDST ELECTION
Thanks to everyone who came out to my production of The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca at Emerson Stage.
This production, in a fantastic translation by Caridad Svich, opened two days after the election. It sold out nearly all performances, and provided an opportunity for Emerson students to discuss their fears amidst a surprising election result. Read the write up we received in the Berkeley Beacon.
I am immensely proud of this production, and especially of the insanely talented cast who bringing incredible heart and raw power to this script. Thanks to Emerson College for this amazing opportunity!
See Pictures of the production here.
STONEHAM THEATRE YOUNG COMPANY
I recently worked with Stoneham Theatre's Young Company on a very successful production of Shakespeare's As You Like It. The production played at Stoneham Theatre and also toured the North Boston suburbs this May.
I am thrilled to be returning to the Young Company this July, when I will be directing Arabian Nights for Stoneham's Summer Fest.
I am excited to be working with an excellent education department and an amazing set of students.
A SUCCESSFUL MUCH ADO AT MIT
My production of Much Ado About Nothing with the MIT Shakespeare Ensemble ran March 11 - 19, in the Sala de Puerto Rico.
The production received a great review in The Tech. Read it here.
Don't miss this updated rendition of Shakespeare's classic tale of romance, manipulation, and hearsay. Tickets are available here.
THANKS TO ALL FOR COMING TO UNDER THE TABLE
thanks to everyone who came out to 1917 N Elston for the Living Room Playmakers production of Under the Table. It was a real joy to collaborate again with Erin, Chad, Tony and guest writers Jonathan Baude and Will Arbery.
See below for a video trailer to the piece.
POETIC FORUM HITS STAGE 773
On April 19, I performed for the first time in five years as part of Poetic Forum, a performance poetry event happening every month at Stage 773. It was envigorating to share my writing onstage with a wonderful audience.
Poetic Forum is the brainchild of poet/actor/teacher Gregory Geffrard, and the series is directed by Tara Branham. We are a collective of writer-artists who seek to bridge gaps in communication and understanding through poetry, prose and dramatic dialogue. We hope to encourage audiences to own and articulate their personal voices, and to engage in the ever-evolving discourse of what it is to be human.
We will return some time this summer, so check back soon for more information.
QUEERGASM A SUCCESS
On May 2, I am collaborated with writer Roger Q Mason on his genre-bending one-man-show on phone sex addiction. The piece combined poetry, memory and movement to explore internalized homophobia, germophobia, and societal taboos through the lens of verbal fantasy.
Thanks to everyone who came out to the Center on Halsted for this advanced preview of Roger's full script.
MARIE ANTOINETTE CLOSES AT STEPPENWOLF
I really enjoyed assisting Robert O'Hara on his production of David Adjmi's Marie Antoinette at Steppenwolf Theatre. The show closed after a highly successful run on May 10, 2015.
It was a joy to reunite with Robert after having a great time working on The Gospel of Franklin in the summer of 2013. I also loved being back at Steppenwolf for a third time!
You can get more information on the production at Steppenwolf's website.
WHISKEY REBELLION'S WHISKEY RADIO HOUR
Monday, February 2, I directed a reading of Jen Ducharme's Roadhouse Dream Wedding for Whiskey Rebellion's regular Whiskey Radio Hour at Black Rock Pub & Kitchen.
This was a ridiculously fun night of radio plays, and I had a great time living in the world of Marie and her obsession with Roadhouse.
You can listen to the recording of the evening online here.
MASTER OF FINE ARTS
I am now officially a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from Northwestern University. I successfully defended my thesis on January 2, and I will be hooded in the spring. Thank you to everyone who taught me and worked with me over the last three years. It was a truly wonderful experience and I am forever changed for the better by it.
LRP's REFINISHED SELLS OUT! THANKS TO ALL WHO ATTENDED!!
This fall I teamed up once more with the amazing playwrights of the Living Room Playmakers for their latest site-specific event, Refinished.
For two nights only, LRP settled into District, a vintage furniture store in Ravenswood, to present six new plays about learning to sit comfortably with ourselves and with our choices.
Thank you to everyone who came out and made this show sell out so far in advance! The process was amazing, and I am so grateful to the incredible folks at LRP, and to Chris Murphy at District for hosting us!!
Pictures coming soon!
THE BRIDE CLOSES AT THE CHICAGO FRINGE
Playwright/actress Jennifer Rumberger and I teamed up once again to stage a brand new, expanded version of her play The Bride, presented by the amazing Living Room Playmakers as part of the Chicago Fringe Festival.
This one-woman play tells the story of Mary, a woman who was about to walk down the aisle when the world ended. All alone, she builds a graveyard for the world and tries to come to terms with the life she chose - one of always trying to avoid silence.
The Bride ran in Jefferson Park from August 28 to September 7. Learn more about the the Chicago Fringe here.
THE HOUR AT PROLOGUE THEATRE'S LANDMARK FESTIVAL
On Labor Day, I opened my production of Susan Goodell's short play The Hour as part of Prologue Theatre Company's annual Landmark Festival.
Honoring this year's theme of "shattered reason," The Hour is a comical look at what can happen when you don't set your watch right.
While The Hour closed on September 3, the Landmark Festival continues through September 10. Go here to learn more about Prologue.
THANKS TO ALL WHO MADE IT TO THOU PROUD DREAM!!!
I recently closed my third year MFA project at Northwestern, Thou Proud Dream. It was an incredible experience collaborating with Jenni Lamb on this adaptation of Henry V and to work with such a wonderful cast of professional and student actors.
We sold out our run and had an amazing response from the crowd. It was the best way to end my time at Northwestern.
MLK DAY READING OF MOGADISHU
As part of Northwestern University's week-long celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I directed a reading of Mogadishu by Vivienne Franzmann. It was a co-presentation of Next Theatre and the Theatre and Interpretation Center at Northwestern University.
Written by British playwright and former schoolteacher Vivienne Franzmann, Mogadishu dramatizes the story of a white teacher, her depressive daughter, and a troubled black student who get embroiled in a controversy at a tough London school. The play explores the seemingly insurmountable challenges of inner city education, and asks whether we can close the rifts that divide us along racial and economic lines.
Few plays I have directed have asked tougher questions than Franzmann does in her award-winning work. Much thanks to Jenny Avery at Next, Diane and Jim and the entire TIC staff, and to all the wonderful guest actors who worked with me! It was a joy!