Hello! Thank you for taking the time to look at my about page! below you'll find links to my artistic philosphy, and some information about my training. You can find more on the CV page.
Training and Education:
I have taken workshops on directing with La Mama, as well as workshops on stage intimacy, and fight choreography. I have received a B.A. in Theatre Performance/Directing from Salisbury University, an M.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies from The University of Missouri and an M.F.A. in Directing from The University of Montana.
My actor training is in Viewpoints, Suzuki, and Frantic Assembly. I apply these practices, and their ensemble based philosophies to my directing practice. You can read more in my artistic philosophy below!
Being a young, gay man, I always feel a sense of incongruency and search for community, acceptance, or acknowledgment. I always lump all these ideas together under the umbrella term of “feeling seen.” I believe that everyone, in some capacity, feels this way. That everyone has the desire to be acknowledged for who they are and what they can contribute. When directing I bring the philosophy of “feeling seen” into the rehearsal room. This is because I believe actors are the group of artists with the least amount of artistic freedom. Many directors tell them where to stand, how to say their lines, and when to move. While this approach may work for some actors, my style of directing is more collaborative. I believe in a more horizontal structure rather than a more vertical one. Each element of a production speaks its own language but comes together to create an overall aesthetic experience. One of my goals as a director is to maintain an environment where every suggestion is equally considered, and actors feel comfortable voicing their ideas. While I do my homework beforehand and have ideas coming into the rehearsal room, I believe it takes great courage to let go of your own choice and follow the trail that an actor started. This can lead to new, more exciting discoveries that begin a dialogue of building on each other’s ideas. I want the actors to be able to participate in the dramaturgical discussion of the play, and together we use these discussions to inform our choices in the rehearsal space. We enter into a feedback loop of exploration, decision making, and refining, as we pursue a unique artistic vision that is of our own making in which everyone feels seen and acknowledged.
When I was very young my dream job was to be an archeologist. I romanticized the idea of excavating sites, making discoveries, and shedding new light on things we thought we knew. Being a director and a scholar satisfies this need to make discoveries. When working with a pre-established text, I believe, we must excavate these texts. I ask the question “why should we do this play now, what is it about the play that really speaks to us in a modern context?” When we are working with a canonical play, for example, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, we are not doing Shakespeare’s Midsummer from 1595. We are doing our own production. It is a new event. Together with the actors and the designers we wright our own production. Excavating our own interpretations of the text to bring the play into the “now.” I had the privilege of working on a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the experience is central to my views on directing. Our goal was to excavate new meaning from the text. If Midsummer was a play about love then our goal became to make it about different kinds of love, not just heteronormative love. I had never felt myself more represented by theatre before as a performer. I felt seen and acknowledged by the production and the text. We were able to bring something newout of a pre-established work and we did it through collaboration.
I believe the director must invest a piece of themselves into the production. A director must take an initial emotional leap that fuels them to further excavate the text. When I directed my first production, Torchsong by Harvey Fierstein, my initial emotional leap was this desire to feel seen, acknowledged and loved for who I was as a gay man. It drew me to the play. Going from that emotional leap to excavating the text I realized that the play wasn’t just about the acceptance of a gay man, but about everyone’s search for love and acceptance. I brought this idea into the rehearsal room and it influenced the entire process and even, I believe, the audiences reaction. Directing this production is when I realized what is special about theatre. It gives us an opportunity to craft a dialogue with the audience and the actors on stage, and maybe, just maybe, someone walks away with a new outlook. When I create theatre, I hope that everyone involved leaves wanting to change the world based off what they saw and experienced, and maybe, if we’re lucky, we all feel a little more congruent with each other. Theatre allows us to experience empathy together. It allows us to truly see one another.