Thursday, December 08, 2011

RADIO GHOSTS, New York City, and Boomerangs

On Sunday November 20th, collaborator Mike Vernusky (electronic music composition) and I presented an in-progress staging our theatrical project, RADIO GHOSTS, as part of Boomerang Theatre Company's "First Flight New Play Reading Series".

Mike Vernusky and I drinking mystery drinks at Boomerang Theatre's
"Flights of Fancy" eve
nt (Nov 19, 2011).

Mike and I have been at work on this project since 2006, putting up early, unfinished versions of the work in various forms in several cities. However, our collaboration with Boomerang in New York marked the first presentation of the completed script, which I finished at the end of 2010 after stepping away from the project for three years.

After spending a highly enjoyable and productive few days with Mike, director Marielle Duke, and our wonderful group of actors, I feel encouraged by the response to the material (both from my collaborators and from audience) but also aware of the considerable amount of work ahead of me. I am proud of what's there, but unsatisfied with what's missing.

I look forward to upcoming opportunities to get inside the work again-- first with director Cara Blouin who is directing Radio Ghosts for The Painted Bride Art Center's "Bridal Salon" in January 2012 (in Philadelphia), and then with the good folks of New Leaf Theatre in Chicago later in March, as part of their "Treehouse Reading Series".

In the meantime, I am hugely grateful to Tim Errickson and Boomerang Theatre Company for their continued interest in my work and for their big-time generosity of spirit and enjoyable companionship (and for the good times at "Flights of Fancy!"). Big thank yous to the Radio Ghosts/Boomerang team of director Marielle Duke and actors August Schulenberg, Cotton Wright, Jon Dysktra, Kate Kertez, John Greenleaf, Michael Mraz, and Max Burrough-- you all taught me a lot and in lots of fun ways.

Performers August Shulenberg (William Tell), Kate Kertez (Lucy Walters),
John Greenleaf (Dr. Abernathy), and Jon Dykstra (Henry Mondarma).

Big thanks yous to the friends who came out to the event, especially the ones who traveled all the way from Philly (you know who you are!)

Huge thank yous as well to Daniel Maldonado (and Jen!) for giving me and Mike a floor to sleep on for three nights, and lots of fun art-sharing and conversation (and spider soup).

rock on,


Sunday, November 13, 2011

DALLAS at The Shipley School

Even the earnest and sincere high-schoolers out in Bryn Mawr couldn't save President Kennedy. But from November 11th - 13th, 2011, they did an excellent job trying.

The wonderful students of The Shipley School, led by teacher and director Emma Gibson, took on the brave challenge of performing the ten-minute "electro-theater" collaboration, DALLAS, and I was totally moved by their work, getting goosebumps during the final theatrical image with which they ended their performance.

The students of The Shipley School (Bryn Mawr, Nov 13, 2011).

The Shipley production made some wonderful additions to my and electronic music composer Mike Vernusky's work-- adding a couple extra patrons in the diner, some mood/world-shifting lighting choices, and some breath-taking video work to bookend the performance. All of these choices expanded the piece even further, all while staying true to their own personal discovery of the play's heart. I was impressed by the quality of their work, and moved by their enthusiasm and commitment to putting up a theatrical piece so unfamiliar to them-- both in form and content-- making their performance achievements, their imaginative and emotional ownership of this piece, that much more remarkable.

I never imagined this piece could be performed (and so well) by high school students, so I thank them all for expanding my imagination in that way as well.

Big thank yous to The Shipley School, Emma Gibson, and to my collaborator Mike Vernusky. Thank yous also to Cody R. Kirk and Michael Kranes (whose voices continue to come through the walls of the diner), and Dianna Schoenborn-Marino, for whom the play was originally written. Thanks also to Wally Zialcita and Theresa Epp, who road-tripped out to Bryn Mawr with me, and Tom Tansey who joined us for pumpkin pie.

Rock on,


Sunday, September 18, 2011

DALLAS Lives Undead

Saturday, September 17, 2011, marked the closing performance of DALLAS, as part of THE UNDEAD project at the Philly Fringe Festival.

I feel very satisfied with this experience, proud of all the work done on this piece, and with the multiple layers of discovery found during the process and performance. I am humbled by the excellent work done on this project by the artists who brought it to life.

John F. Kennedy (Jonathon Phipps), Jacqueline Kennedy (Angela Smith), and Clinton J. Hill (Tom Tansey). Photo by Aaron Oster.

This work, created in collaboration with electronic music composer Mike Vernusky, has now performed in three separate incarnations (in four different venues) in Philadelphia, as well as one in New York City. And while I have loved all of them, this particular one, the Undead/Philly Fringe version, may be my favorite for a number of reasons.

Of Dallas's productions, this version was the only one with an extended run, as it played for eight performances in the "Playground" space of Philadelphia's Adrienne Theater on Sansom Street. This run allowed me to bear witness to the growth possible within the run of this work, borne out through the expressive bodies, faces, and gestural choices made by the five wonderful actors performing the work (as some of you know, there is no live dialogue in Dallas, all of the live performance is through gesture and movement exploring dynamics of speed, shape, and memory). With each performance, the actors grew more confident, lived more deeply inside the unfamiliar demands of piece, expressed their stories more fully through their entire bodies. Dallas, delivered by the performers, continued becoming more of itself.

This process made me aware of another truth of this production-- that the performance actually takes us through something. As audience, we arrive someplace different than where we were when we sat down in the seats of the Adrienne. As someone obsessed with rites of passage, with journeys, with relationships between performance and audience, I'm thrilled by this discovery, as I feel offering the audience a journey, especially a difficult one, is one of the most generous gifts imaginable.

Man Behind the Counter (Ryan Ruggles), Waitress (Lynnia Shanley), and Jacqueline Kennedy (Angela Smith). Photo by Aaron Oster.

Creating this experience were six collaborators who were new to me, and with whom I sincerely hope to keep working (this was another of my favorite parts of this particular production-- my introduction to new collaborators who I like a lot). The group, as a whole, was thrilling and really enjoyable to work with.

Director Theresa Epp lead us through a wonderful process, one that was full of creative moments, of deep listening, of generosity, of graceful willingness to take risks. Terri's approach to this piece opened up even more layers of complexity, creating and illuminating even more worlds than I thought were present. Actors Jonathon Phipps (John F. Kennedy), Ryan Ruggles (Man Behind the Counter), Lynnia Shanley (Waitress) Angela Smith (Jacqueline Kennedy), and Tom Tansey (Clinton J. Hill) proved to be a talented, thoughtful, brave, and lovely ensemble, full of exciting choices, rigorous attention to detail, and willingness to live fully in multiple time-spaces at once.

Completing the experience was the participation of long-time collaborator Mike Vernusky, whose work on this piece excites me every time I listen to his haunting, brilliant composition. Visiting Philadelphia from Austin in early September, Mike was able, for the first time ever, to see our collaboration work with live artists. During a rehearsal near the end of our process, Mike was able to experience of how Dallas collides in multiple dimensions, and to contribute his thoughts to how the work can move through space.

Clinton J. Hill (Tom Tansey). Photo by Aaron Oster.

One of the culminations of this work was the opportunity to share it with eight audiences, the last two performances packing the house of the Adrienne Theater. I'm thrilled that I got to share this piece with so many people, and I hope they all (collaborators and audience) enjoyed it as much as I did.

Big thank yous to all the collaborating artists in Dallas, as well as all the other Undead offerings (which I enjoyed sharing company with), including the hot live music of Up Your Cherry. Special thanks to Wally Zialcita, who produced this project with lots of generosity and sensitivity.

Continued thanks to actors Cody R. Kirk and Michael Kranes, whose voices continue to come through the walls of the 24-hour diner, and to Dianna Schoenborn-Marino, for whom the script was originally written.

Rock on,


Friday, August 12, 2011

TWO BUBBLES Three Years in Print

An August 12, 2008, my 10-minute play, TWO BUBBLES, made it to print through Playscripts, Inc. Included with 9 other plays in "Great Short Comedies, Volume 3", my play shares a volume with wonderful writers Steven Dietz, Sheri Wilner, and Rolin Jones.

Brendan Ahearn, Tiffany Feng, Brad McEntire, Laurie Farris, Jeff Hernandez, and Shannon Marie in Two Bubbles, Audacity Productions / Rover Dramawerks, Plano, Texas (2002). Photo: Carol Rice.

In the past three years, copies of this volume have been sold in over 40 of the United States as well as to countries Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, India, Japan, New Zealand, Serbia and Montenegro, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

The play has been produced in three different cities, and was a Finalist for the Heideman Award.


Not bad for a play that I originally wrote in a few hours, overnight, as part of a 24-Hour theater festival.

It is my hope that the play continues to live on, but for now, the journey has definitely been fun.

If you're interested in reading or buying it, you can go HERE.

Thank you to all the good people that have made this possible-- Audacity Theater Lab and Rover Dramawerks for producing the One (More) Day Only Festival, and to all the artists who have breathed life into this 10-minute, all-night epic.

rock on,


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Awesome ICE HOLES photos

Now playing (through July 2nd) as part of Source Festival in Washington DC, some OUTSTANDING photos are surfacing of my 10-minute play, Ice Holes.

Admiral Robert Peary and Erik the Red

Awesome work by C. Stanley Photography.

There have been three performances already of the 10-minute program, "Heroes & Villains", of which Ice Holes is included. Two performances remain-- Saturday June 25th at 1:00 pm, and Saturday, July 2nd at 4:00 pm

Admiral Peary, Erik the Red, Ponce de Leon, and Sir Francis Drake

I will be in attendance for the closing performance, these photos make me even more excited to see the slammin' work going on.

Ponce de Leon (background) and Erik the Red

Big thank yous to the good folks at Source Festival!

rock on,


Friday, June 03, 2011

DALLAS selected for Deep Wireless Festival and CD Compilation

My collaborative project with Mike Vernusky, Dallas, continues to get lots of wonderful attention (which is awesome).

Most recently, the 11-minute electro-theater collaboration was selected to be part of New Adventures in Sound Art's (NAISA) annual Deep Wireless Festival of Radio and Transmission Art. As part of the Toronto-based festival, the recording of Dallas is also published on their website and included in a CD compilation with other selected works.

You can listen to the recording HERE, and learn more about the CD compilation HERE.

I am thrilled to be able to continue sharing this project in many different forms and for many different audiences (and in many different countries!).

Big thank yous to Mike Vernusky (for continuing to be so awesome), to actors Cody R. Kirk, Michael Kranes, and T. Lynn Mikeska, whose voices continue coming through the walls of the diner/memory, and to Dianna Marino, for whom the piece was originally written (as part of American Potlatch Road-trip: The Travel Plays).

rock on,


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Podcast of DANDELION MOMMA from New Leaf Theatre in Chicago

The awesome people of New Leaf Theatre (Chicago) have posted a podcast of the plays from their play development program, "The Treehouse Reading Series". Included in this series is my play, Dandelion Momma, which is presented beautifully by this talented and sensitive creative team.

You can go HERE to listen to the play in a high-quality podcast of the reading from March 30, 2011 at Chicago's Lincoln Park Cultural Center.

Big thank you to director Jessica Hutchinson, dramaturg Josh Sobel, and performers Lona Livingston, Claire Kander, Gabe Franken (whose voice sounds eeirly like my own), and Mary Winn Heider.

rock on,


Saturday, March 19, 2011

UNDER MY COAT to be Revealed in New York City

My short play, Under My Coat is the Truth, will play for one night in New York City, at 7:00 pm on Sunday, March 20th, 2011. Produced as part of the One-Minute Play Festival by Adaptive Arts Theater Company, the piece will go up at the IRT in the West Village, along with 32 other one-minute works.

The play is directed by Adaptive Arts's Artistic Director, Marielle Duke, who I worked with previously as part of Boomerang Theatre Company's crazy awesome workshop production of The Travel Plays (October 2009).

I'm thrilled that this short play is now in its third production (and will go up in a fourth during April in Philadelphia), originally produced as part of Specific Gravity Ensemble's Elevator Plays and, most recently, as part of the Don't Blink Short Play Marathon produced by Three Wise Moose in Anchorage, Alaska (October 2010).

This New York presentation will be unique in that it is the first to cast two females (instead of two males) in the roles of "John" and "Harrison".

Big thank you to Marielle Duke, and the good folks of Adaptive Arts Theater Company (an off-off Broadway Theater company dedicated to raising awareness of Autism) for the opportunity to share my work again in the Big Apple.

For more information about the event, please click here.

rock on,


Sunday, March 13, 2011

DALLAS at the Annenberg Center

On Saturday night, March 12th 2011, my collaboration with electronic music composer Mike Vernusky, DALLAS, took the stage of the Montgomery Theater in the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.

Aaron Oster (Clinton Hill) and John VanZelst (Man Behind the Counter). Photo by Jules Victor.

As part of the MERGE program produced by the Annenberg, me and Mike's 10-minute electro-theater piece shared the stage with six other short works, most of them created by Philadelphia artists. The "merge" theme comes from producer Brian Grace-Duff's interest in creating an evening of theater that collides local professional work with student-driven work as well.

With DALLAS, we even "merged" within our project, as it was performed by a mix of Philadelphia-area professionals Darin J. Dunston, Haley McCormick, and Aaron Oster with Drexel University students Laurel Hostak and John VanZelst.

John VanZelst (Man Behind the Counter), Darin J. Dunston (John F. Kennedy) and Haley McCormick (Jacqueline Kennedy). Photo by Jules Victor.

The event as a whole was a success in many ways-- the performances played to a near sold-out house of 110 seats, with each of the 7 events showcasing strong, original work. The event was well organized, enthusiastically received, and offered the opportunity for new friendships among artists of the seven different groups who merged together for one night.

Aaron Oster (Clinton Hill), John VanZelst (Man Behind the Counter), and Laurel Hostak (Waitress). Photo by Jules Victor.

The DALLAS project itself was its own reward. This was the piece's first full-production, and it was, as always, a gift to see the work come to life through the creative choices made by brave, talented actors. This process, though a short one (we rehearsed for a total of 10 hours over 4 meetings), was committed, creative, and full of discovery. Also the director of the piece, it was completely satisfying to work with such a smart, thoughtful, and enjoyable group of artists.

Haley McCormick (Jacqueline Kennedy) and Darin J. Dunston (John F. Kennedy). Photo by Jules Victor.

Big thank yous to Brian Grace-Duff for organizing, producing, and inviting me to participate in this event; to Drexel University for its continued generosity (especially Nick Anselmo who picked up the tab for a caravan of supportive Drexel students to attend the performance and then helped me carry two 3 foot by 3 foot tables across West Philadelphia after the event!); to the Dragons who showed up to support their classmates; to Michael Kranes and Cody Kirk whose voices (as Arlen Specter and Clinton J. Hill) continue to come through the walls; and to Dianna Marino, for whom the play was originally written.

Aaron Oster (Clinton Hill), John VanZelst (Man Behind the Counter) and Laurel Hostak (Waitress)

HUGE thank yous as well to Jules Victor, for all of the amazing photographs.

rock on,


Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Sunday evening, March 6th 2011, seven Drexel University students and I shared the discoveries we made during our 8-week laboratory workshop on THE BABEL PROJECT.

Emily Kleimo (Worker 4) and JuliAna Nawn (Worker 3). Photo by Jules Victor.

Staged in the Filbert Space/URBN Center Annex, and presented as an "open rehearsal", the performers and I were greeted by a supportive and friendly group of 40-45 fellow students, friends, and family for this hour-long event, which included scenes/moments from the play colliding with live music/rhythms created by the actors, colliding with structured interruptions/activities and electronic music. Together, we experienced the first-ever public viewing of this particular collaboration between me (script, direction) and Mike Vernusky (electronic music composition).

Allison Brobst (Office Worker 1), Emily Kleimo, JuliAna Nawn, and Grace Buttery (Office Worker 2). Photo by Jules Victor.

It was a wonderfully fun learning experience for all of us, and it was incredibly enjoyable to be with these talented, creative, enthusiastic young actors for roughly 40 hours of rehearsal time. A true ensemble project/process, the actors all contributed considerably to creation of the work, and to all elements of production and design. I am very proud of all of them for the commitment, bravery, sense of humor, and willingness to explore the unknown, and feel privileged to have worked with all of them.

Katie Lynch (Worker 5), Laura Calderone (Worker 6), and Nikki Zusman (Bartender). Photo by Jules Victor.

Big thank yous to Nick Anselmo and the entire Drexel University family for their continued support of my creative projects, and to all the lovely people who participated in this evening of discovery.

rock on,