Big Exit at Figment

May 5, 2011

 We’ll be doing a new version of Big Exit at Figment on  Governor’s Island this June.  A big old participatory  arts festival that is free! and on an island! It’s not too  late to get involved.


Here is the video of our performance at the Kitchen.  I am totally surprised by how this piece turned out, and right now I am really excited about all the places it could go.  Dance clown? I think I like it.

Showing a new work in progress at the Kitchen on March 21.  This is part of the showcase from the Field’s Emerging Artist Residency program. I’m thrilled to be working with Eliza Ladd on the project, you should come just to see her perform!

The piece is definitely in the beginning of its life.  The artistic challenge for this showing is to give the piece enough form so that it’s ready to show, and as performers we feel confident and clear about where we are. But as a director I don’t want to clamp down too soon on all the other directions and possibilities that are happening in rehearsal.

The piece is called Big Exit (working title) and is a winding theatrical love letter to human beings who work work work and dream of flight.  Big Exit celebrates how imagination and fantasy offer escape from the mundane!

Also, the other artists in this showcase are dynamite.

Hard to read the flyer below: 7:30 pm March 21 at the Kitchen. Tix are $15.

new projects

February 25, 2011

Working on a new piece with Messenger Theatre Company.  Puppets! A giant dress!  And I get to play a complex, larger than life woman. Sneak peak of the design in progress…

Coming up!

January 20, 2011

Marija is a master improviser and choreographer like no other.  This is my second time working with her and I feel totally lucky to be at it again.  I find her work really challenging, complex, and rich.   AND you can see  a newer finished rendition of my solo, Customer Service, which seems like it’s growing into a Part 1 and Part 2.  Stay tuned.  Come see!

Thank you Movement Research at the Judson Church for giving me exactly what I need to give a new work some legs.  A beautiful performance space, videography, photos, $150 dollars in my pocket, and a highly attended venue for showing new work.  It feels good.  Really, when you’re trying to make a new work in this big city, having all these ready and put together for you feels like a really big gift.  I didn’t spend the days before the showing scrambling to get someone to video, someone to shoot, trying to get people to come….instead I was in rehearsal, imagine that.

Here is the link to Movement Research’s clip of Customer Service. I have lots of performance notes for myself, and tons of ideas about where to go next with the piece, which is exciting.  Have I mentioned I love works in progress?

Photos by Ian Douglas


Put a bear on it

September 9, 2010

(all photos by Daniel von Behr)

I spent most of August at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center in Southampton, NY.  Many things happened at Watermill, but one of those things was a little dance piece made in about 8 hours, for the Watermill Open House.  Andrea Tzetkov, another participant, selected an art piece/ chair in the gallery that we would make a piece for.  I choreographed a 3 minute movement piece on the chair to show Bob, (as he is called by all at Watermill).   Andrea and I on the chair, Alaa Minawi, another participant,  singing softly behind us was the beginning.  The rest of the process goes something like this:

Bob comes in with a team of designers and watches.  When we finish Bob says something like, “the space is a mess.”  He has us all rearrange the entire gallery to make the furniture and art have a central focus.   Jacque,  his costume designer, looks at us and points at us one by one, “you, man-suit,” (me), “you, little girl-dress” (Andrea), “you, bare-chest (Alaa).  Then Bob has an idea, he senses animals in the piece.  He sends someone off to grab the bear head mask in the office.  And in a moment I am dancing in a bear head, Alaa is now singing a Lebanese  melody loudly in the background, and Andrea is looking kind of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.

I am floored.  Never before has someone come into a piece I am working on, collaborative or not, and entirely, drastically changed it.   For a moment I want to be thoroughly annoyed.  What?  This is not a piece of work I would make.  But then it becomes a game. The task becomes, for all of us, to now take these elements and make something that works, quickly! (and works technically ,which Bob doesn’t seem to worry about, me dancing in a bear head with zero visibility.  Not a problem).

The choreography has to change to suit my lack of visibility.  The sensibility of the piece changes.  The idea changes.  And oddly enough, all these bizarre elements come together, and they fit (And in a way that I think is not politically offensive, which I wasn’t so sure of at first.) Now if that’s not a lesson in making Robert Wilson-esque theater, I’m not sure what is.

I like fitting unlikely elements together in my work, but with subtlety, juxtaposition in the body and voice, for example.  But this is an entirely different level of juxtaposition.  It’s not something I usually do.  Make the space and visuals scream so loudly in opposition.  Quite a lesson in taking a different kind of risk.

I’m part of the group CDP/NYC that is hosting this workshop and doing a showing on the eve of 5/16.  Contemplative Dance Practice is quickly becoming the practice that grounds all of my theater making and performance work.  I just want more of it.  This is a great opportunity to get introduced to the work, and to work with Damaris, who is wonderful, and Barbara Dilley, who has been investigating contemplative practice and dance for over 30 years.  I have heard only rave reviews of her teaching and really look forward to working with her myself.

Open Performance at DTW

March 24, 2010

I’m performing bits and pieces of What a Baby You’d Make tonight through Movement Research Open Performance.  8pm, Tonight! March 24. Open Performance is held at the DTW Studio, 3rd Floor, 219 West 19th Street, between 7thand 8th Avenues.  I show work-in-progress with about 3 other artists/companies, and then there is a moderated discussion with audience.  I love work-in-progress showings like this because the audience/performer relationship is so special, everyone gets to help strengthen the work.  Come one come all!

Cruise ships are fun

March 15, 2010

No, I have not been on an actual cruise.  However for the last week I have been working hard with FoolsFURY Theatre Company in the development of a new play by Sheila Callaghan, and it all takes place on cruise ship.  We did a workshop rendition of this piece last spring in San Francisco, but this week was an entirely different generative experience.   There was no pressure of an immediate performance, and we had the playwright, the director, and an amazing, cohesive group of performers together in the room.   I loved the process of improvising, Viewpointing, and interviewing each other to develop our characters and the piece.  I was actually really surprised just how deep and layered our improvisational work became in just a week.  Sometimes improvising in character can be a real pain in the ass, it can be too broad, and there aren’t enough limitations. However, combined with the Viewpoints attention to space, and with the absurd nature of the play, it felt like we got some real meat out of it.   It was also really fantastic having the playwright there, stealing from our improvs, commenting on what she was thinking, laughing out loud when she found something funny. Then she’d duck out of the room, and come back with fresh pages.  Amazing!

For someone who is not so into character driven work these days, the week was full of developing character, and I loved it.  Something about the character still being actively created and written was really liberating, I felt I could explore possibilities with her and not get stuck on them. 

And holy shit thank you New Dramatists for hosting us and paying us all.