HEADSHOT! Project at Millikin University

I’m incredibly proud to have spent the month of September as Assistant Director for MIllikin University’s production of HEADSHOT!. The MB ADAPTORS Company spent a solid six weeks developing the show as part of a creative residency, and the students and faculty were incredible in the support and generosity of spirit. The show has had many iterations with smaller and larger casts, and this iteration inspired us to add entirely new groups of characters to the mix. A manic emcee strung out on Hollywood glamour makes her appearance throughout the show alongside spirits of the fame factory and the omnipresent  “mission control” stage management band armed with musical instruments. Existing material was expanded and redeveloped, and many new images and scenes were crafted with the collaboration of the Millikin artists themselves. The experience was tremendously fulfilling and I’m so grateful to Kari Margolis, Tony Brown, MB ADAPTORS Company, and of course Millikin University for making this phenomenal experience possible.

INSULA, Music

“Alone” Scene from INSULA
photo: Mike Peters

INSULA – Kennedy Center Region II American College Theatre Festival
As I mentioned in a previous post, I got my feet wet in the realm of directing as assistant director to Kari Margolis as we took on creating an original devised piece with BFA Acting students at Montclair State University.  Inspired by the physical theatre space given to us at Montclair, INSULA developed organically into an awe-inspiring work of physical poetry as we explored the concept of islands, both metaphorical and literal.  We pulled from personal feelings of isolation, literary islands such as Avalon, Never Never Land, and sites from The Odyssey to create a living, breathing dreamscape of morphing stories and images.

Well, it is with great pride that I can announce that the show has been selected to perform at the Kennedy Center Region II American College Theatre Festival, held this year at Towson University.

Of course, I started this draft weeks ago and now that I am getting back to it, we leave for Towson TODAY!  From what I understand, we open the festival tomorrow morning with a performance at 9am and perform again later at 3pm.  We hope to seriously blow the minds of our audiences!

Music
I had a busy December with more gigs at Bakers Taproom II.  I cannot say enough great things about the place.  The food is spectacular, the clientele is friendly, and they have a seasonal rotation of great beer on tap.  They were decked out for the holiday season, and I had a great time honing my chops with sets of originals, cover, and I sprinkled in some holiday tunes to celebrate the festivities.  I snapped some video of a gig, but there is so much crowd audio with spiky levels I’m not sure how much of it is usable.  Still, if I can clean something up, I’ll post it.

I have a lot of projects on the table for 2013, and am so excited!  Working on a lot of new music and I’ll be posting clips of songs in progress as they get ironed out.

Music, Pulling Strings, Insula

MUSIC
I was psyched to finally arrange a date to play an acoustic set at Baker’s Taproom II in Barryville, NY.  It’s a place near and dear to my heart, and they have the best pizza I’ve had anywhere (Chicago & NYC have nothin’ on this place!).

I played two 40-minute sets, with an even mix of original songs and relatively obscure covers.  It was so great to get my feet wet playing music live again.  I”ve been playing and writing, but much of my focus lately has been on theatre, so it’s great to break in those calluses again and rebuild hand and finger strength!  I’m looking forward to lining up more winter dates and really getting back into the groove.  Cannot wait to do some more writing!

PULLING STRINGS – Middletown, NY Oct 20
Here comes the world premiere of our new production, PULLING STRINGS!  We’ll be performing one night only at Orange Hall in Middletown, NY.  We had a phenomenal preview work-in-progressing showing a few weeks back, and we’ve had time to tweak, edit, and polish to create an even stronger show.

More dates are in the works to tour this sizzling gem of a production, and I have no doubt whatsoever that we will knock the socks off of every audience we perform for–it’s a show like none other!  More details to come as developments continue.

INSULA – Montclair State University
It is with great pride that I am assisting Kari Margolis with a brand spanking new piece of devised work with BFA students at Montclair State University to be performed at the L. Howard Fox Theatre.  The new piece, titled INSULA, will delve into the various metaphorical and literal islands we as humanity create and have created for ourselves and for others throughout the ages.  Islands of myth and legend clash with those of modern technological isolation to create a rich human collage of emotion, history, dilemma, and discovery.

The work is being built from the ground up, with the BFA students offering a strong artistic voice to unearth imagery and story under the ever brilliant guidance of Kari Margolis and myself.  Other members of the MB ADAPTORS Company are popping in to assist and inspire, and not only are we creating some phenomenal work, but the experience itself is so empowering and enriching for the students.  I really think projects like this are invaluable for young artists in their formative training.  Where else does one get to don the hats of actor, playwright, and collaborator with a world class theatre company in such a supportive, nurturing, and educational environment?

Kudos and thanks to Montclair for supporting this amazing endeavor!

The show itself will open Thursday, November 29th and continue through Saturday night with another run the following Thurs-Sat.  You can purchase tickets HERE!

Overdue Update: PULLING STRINGS, Teaching, and more

Holy overdue update, Batman!  So much to recap.

A scene from MB ADAPTOR’S newest production, PULLING STRINGS (photo by Jim Moore)

PULLING STRINGS
Two years of hard work is finally culminating as we polish the imaginative powerhouse of a production we call PULLING STRINGS.  As a creative endeavor, it has been incredibly artistically fulfilling.  I have been challenged and inspired in all of the ways I could hope for as a working artist.  Every moment of this show is packed with imagery, metaphor, emotion, and subtext.  We perform final work-in-progress showing as part of NACL’s Deep Space series in September, and then make our debut in Middletown, New York in October (more details to follow).  If you are in the area, come and experience the wonder of a show like nothing you have ever seen before.  I feel so lucky to be part of such a spectacular ensemble of artists (Jalyn Knobloch, Gregory G. Schott, Tania Liberata, Jonathan Beller, and Helen Buron.)  Of course I owe so much to my director and mentor, Kari Margolis and her brilliant partner, Tony Brown.

Workshops
I have had the great pleasure to assist Master Teacher Kari Margolis at a number of high profile Master Classes.  As I mentioned in my last post, in April, I was there to assist at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Washington, DC, where we worked with a group of finalists from across the country.  This was my second year bringing the Margolis Method to the artists at the KCACTF.  I also sat in on a panel to discuss devised work as the Festival continues to develop an arena for this type of work at the regional festivals.  Very enlightening and very inspiring.

In June, I accompanied Kari to NYC, where we taught at the Actor’s Movement Studio’s 2012 Summer Intensive.  Janice Orlandi, who runs the studio, is such an exuberant, supportive force.  It was a great weekend for me as a teacher, given the reins to lead the group at times throughout the workshop.

Margolis Method 2012 Professor Certification
We had our second annual Professor Certification course at the beginning of the summer, and boy was it an inspiration.  Professors from colleges and universities across the country–and two from Canada–assembled to learn exercises, concepts, and creative structures to incorporate into their classes.  There is nothing like being in the presence of professional theater educators discussing craft.  I sense the flow of theater shifting, and I truly believe it is the coming age of actor-centered theatre.  It all starts with the educators.  If we spread the word and help to create empowered artists, the whole paradigm of theatre will and must change.

Music
Been picking up my guitar lately.  Here’s a snippet of a song I was working on (which is now finished).  I’ll record the full song soon and post it.  Enjoy!

 

 

So many updates!

Where to begin? Well the most recent exciting news is that I just assisted Master Teacher Kari Margolis teach a workshop at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.  As always it was great to be a part of the national festival, and the actors we worked with were all spectacular.

My focus this winter and spring have been working on two major projects.  First, I’ve been continuing to collaborate as a Company Member with the MB ADAPTORS on our newest production, Dreamscape I: Pulling Strings.  It’s rich with metaphor, imagery, questions, and unique, evolving characters.  Right now we’re aiming to perform in the fall.  More details to come.

The second big project has been to help develop the Margolis Method Professor Certification Level II, which equips university and college professors with a deeper understanding of Margolis Method principles and more exercises to incorporate into their existing syllabuses.   We have professors coming to attend both the Level I and Level II workshops this summer, and as faculty at the Center, I cannot wait to work with this diverse group of professionals!

More updates to come with more information!

The Kennedy Center, in Washington DC

Wow.  I just have to say wow.

This past weekend was the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and I had the honor of assisting Master Teacher Kari Margolis with a Master Class for some of the nation’s best collegiate actors.  The students were all so engaged, enthusiastic, and inspiring, and they all really seemed to tap into the spirit of our work.  Really great stuff.  The Kennedy Center graciously offers a scholarship for a month’s study at our Margolis Method Training Center during our Summer Intensive, and our recipient this year was just phenomenal in presence and spirit.  Hopefully more of these amazing artists will join us for summer study.

A huge thank you to the Kennedy Center for all of your support!

“In Search of Tonto Blue” in Baltimore, MD

Flier for IN SEARCH OF TONTO BLUE at the Baltimore Theatre Project

Just finished our first weekend with IN SEARCH OF TONTO BLUE at the Baltimore Theatre Project.  It was a really great opening weekend, and I had forgotten how much I love the Baltimore Theatre Project!  The space is amazing and the staff is passionate and so friendly and upbeat.  The frosting on the cake is definitely the neighborhood.   I’ve fallen in love with the area around BTP.  Spectacular architecture and fantastic food make for a happy tour.

One weekend left, and it should be a great one!  Performances and workshops on Saturday & Sunday will make it busy and fulfilling.  If you’re in the area, definitely check us out!

Reflection Four: A Summer’s Journey Ends

Reflection Four of my Facebook contributions (found here).

Another amazing summer has flown by!  It’s always an eye opening experience to work so intensively with an array of passionate students, all of whom have different levels of experience with the Method.  For Company members, who train side by side with artists just entering the program, the fresh perspective of new students helps to “keep us honest.”  They bring up questions that can challenge us and also help us clarify concepts and exercises we’ve come to take for granted. Continue reading

Upcoming Events

There are a lot of projects on the horizon!  Margolis Brown ADAPTORS’ show, In Search of Tonto Blue hits Baltimore October 1-10 at the Baltimore Theatre Project.  We have a slew of workshops coming up in Baltimore, Minneapolis, and at Viterbo University.  Check out the Margolis Method Center’s website for dates and info.

We wrapped up an amazing summer session of intensive workshops here in NY with the Margolis Method Center.  I’m working towards my Certification in teaching the Margolis Method and becoming a faculty member of the school.  It’s challenging, amazing work, and I am learning so much!  There’s a lot of great work ahead and I cannot wait to see what’s around the bend!

Reflection Three: Transitions

Reflection Three of my Facebook contributions (found here).

Over the past few weeks we’ve been focusing on transitions–the space between acting beats–and I have to say, I’m once again amazed how easy they are to overlook (even after 9 years of working in the studio, I’m still discovering deeper and deeper layers of understanding)!  Kari always reminds us that our tendency is to be “action oriented,” and since turning our attention to transitions, it became clearer than ever how true that is!  It’s ironic that transition time is so easily forgotten when you consider how vital it is.  When I allow myself to just take the time I need, there’s absolutely nothing like it!  I had the pleasure of working with a long-term colleague during an improvisational structure in class, and one of the reasons I felt our work was so satisfying for both us and the audience was because we respected and embraced our own and each others’ transitions.  There were moments we worked ourselves into dramatic situations that had come to a rest, and by keeping those moments alive and letting them resonate, we gave ourselves time to size up both where we were and what the audience needed next.  By specifically focusing on this transition time we were able to see options that we would have otherwise overlooked.  It’s moments like these in the studio that hammer in the truth that “theatre lives in the transitions.” Continue reading