I am a theatre practitioner, and I’m at a crossroads right now. Although I’ve worked in many different disciplines of theatrical pursuit over the twenty years I’ve been a practicing artist in the Chicagoland area – including acting, directing, dramaturgy, stage management, and producing – it’s only now with the 2012 achievement of my MFA in Classical Acting from George Washington University in collaboration with DC’s The Shakespeare Theatre that I feel I’m able to capitalize on one steady career track as a clear focus: that of the actor. I’m now acquiring the technical skills and facility to back-up my inspiration and vision. I have helped to found two grassroots Chicago theatre companies, one of which is finally increasing its production schedule after twelve years of operation. Working with Vitalist Theatre has rooted me in both the literary value of the theatrical text and in the physical development of that text as narrative for visual, visceral storytelling. Our approaches to heightened text have been vibrant and embodied, but I’ve wanted the vocal training and physical presence to manifest my characters fully into their imagined worlds. Now that those goals are on the road to being met, it’s a new moment for me as an actor, and I embark with renewed energy, creativity, and skill on my work here in Chicago.
I have two short-term goals upon my relocation back to Chicago: avidly pursue my Actors’ Equity Membership in the Chicagoland area, with specific attention to working on classical plays and/or heightened text, and supplement that work with continued teaching opportunities that allow me to share the skills I’ve acquired in my studies. My long-term goals include: AEA Membership, working actor status in Chicago and Regionally, teaching part-time at the collegiate level, and pursuit of certification in a movement-theatre form – most hopefully Laban movement, notation, and analysis.
As an ensemble creator (whether actor or director), it has been my desire to guide those who seek to make meaning of their lives experientially by putting out a call for them to engage their witness consciousness, as a muse (of sorts) to these audience members who in turn watch the performed theatrical event thoughtfully, but with a certain degree of detachment. Now, too, as an educator-guide to pupils seeking the appropriate means of expression toward embodiment of felt life connections, I vision a complementary medium through which to transform one who had only previously been a pensive witness into an active life participant who chooses to perform their knowledge of what has been witnessed.
I have hitherto focused my acting work within the storefront, itinerant, experimentally-driven scene here in Chicago throughout the course of the past twenty years. As an artist, I am first and foremost in service to the art and the creative process of making it. I’m making a conscious choice now to shift that playing arena to Equity houses for the dual purpose of focusing all the experiences I’ve gathered from the amazing opportunities I’ve had to grow in non-Equity Chicago theatre into the professional market, and committing myself to this market as a sustainable working actor. The steps I’ve recently taken toward doing this began with the completion of my Master’s degree at The Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University under the direction of Michael Kahn. The Fitzmaurice and Alexander work nested at the heart of the program, under the tutelage of Ellen O’Brien and Christopher Cherry, has grounded my voice and body, and given me an unparalleled confidence. The text analysis skills taught by Ed Gero and Fran Dorn on classical text – verse and prose – have expanded my abilities toward complete facility with all styles and periods of dramatic writing.
Influenced by the performances I’ve worked to devise as a collaborator, I’ve found that a combination of movement techniques – Jacques Lecoq (work with the natural elements in particular), Rudolf Laban (the 8 basic efforts) and Michael Chekhov (gestural impulsing and atmospheric reality) in particular – are profound practices to introduce novice, developing human-actors to the vocabulary and into the practice of embodying meaning-making, and subsequently, into the process of owning their experiences as creators. My research and scholarly interests take on embodiment, inhabitation and movement theory; performance of cultural identity at the interstices of sexuality/gender/politics (as uniquely related to performance practices in the Maya of western Belize and bordering Guatemala); ethnography and performativity; aesthetics of everyday life; feminist theory; performance art; and physical theatre practice.
I hope the introduction of my website will give you greater insight into who I am, what I do, and why I do it. What you’re looking at now is just a glimpse into what it will grow to become, as I locate the time within my schedule to develop it! Cultivating empathy is my life’s work. I wish to instill it in every effort I put forth. I trust that you value that, too. And, I hope my website gives you a good sense of how I’ve chosen to do it.