Most of my original performances start off as self-directed, frequently with an outside eye. But more and more I have been working with outside directors, including Michelle Spears, Derron Wood, Leila Ghaznavi, and Phillip Huber.
I directed Growing Up Linda, an ensemble actor-puppetry performance in which the daughter of a famous ice cream mogul must come to terms with her troubled past. I developed Growing Up Linda episodically at puppet slams like Blood from a Turnip, and then at a residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach. When I attended CalArts, I stepped out of the roles of Cookie Puss and the narrator, so that I could focus solely on directing Growing Up Linda in advance of its premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. After the premiere, I stepped back into the role of a noir detective in Fudgie’s Death, a segment that visually dramatizes Linda’s downward spiral into ice cream, substance abuse, and Fudgie the Whale. In Fudgie’s Death, I used tabletop pop-up books designed with paper engineer, Eugean Seo that were amplified with projected video.
I began working with director, Michele Spears while I was performing in Leslie Carrara-Rudolph’s Wake Up Your Weird at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. I admired Spears’ attention to detail as an advocate for story and her background in improv. She directed and helped me to develop Object of Her Affection, in which a woman in search of love develops intimate relationships with inanimate objects. Based in Los Angeles, Spears is a director, choreographer, performer, theatre producer, and arts educator. Her work has been recognized with New York Nightlife, L.A. Weekly, Saturn, UNIMA, Stagescene L.A., Dramalogue, and Santa Barbara Independent Awards, as well as an American Choreographers Award nomination.
Derron Wood directed Bride of Wildenstein – the Musical as it evolved at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and for its Orlando run. Wood is a graduate of Connecticut College, has trained with the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and attended the Leningrad State Institute of Music, Theatre and Cinematography. He studied Shakespeare under Morris Carnovsky at Connecticut College and the National Theater Institute. Over the past twenty years he has directed productions in and around New England, including at the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival and Off-Broadway. He is the director for the Chorus of Westerly’s 12th Night celebration, which integrates 100 stage performers with a 200 member chorus, giant puppets, opera singers, and actors. As the principal director of Flock Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Arboretum Festival he has directed Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing and The Tempest. Wood has been a Connecticut’s Master Teaching Artist since 1995.
Phillip Huber was the choreographer and director for Rango Tango, a short marionette performance that explored movement and rhythm with an orangutan puppet. His work spans theatre, cabarets, and film. Before he launched Huber Marionettes in 1980 with partner David Alexander, he worked for Tony Urbano and Jim Henson. Huber has played the international cabaret circuit that including the Lido in Paris, Casino de Monte Carlo, the Cunard, cruise lines, and The Tonight Show. Huber created and manipulated marionettes for the film, Being John Malkovich. He performed his theatre piece Suspended Animation in Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Norway, Mexico, and Canada. He has collaborated with Tony Ousler on Don’t Trust Anyone Over Thirty at the Whitney Museum. Recently, Huber manipulated puppets for the film, Oz the Great and Powerful.
Leila Ghaznavi was the original director of Bride of Wildenstein – the Musical. Ghaznavi is a playwright of American-Iranian descent and graduate of the California Institute of the Arts, who resides in New York. Ghaznavi believes that art cannot be limited to one acting or storytelling method, and that the process of synthesizing artistic traditions is important in the creation of new methods of artistic expression. Moreover, she is committed to the belief that artists must challenge social conventions of what is sacred and taboo, Art must dare to say what is forbidden, love the undesirable, speak for those who have no voice, mourn those who have been forgotten, challenge what is sacred and dance in the clouds to reveal undiscovered planes of imagination.
I have worked with a number of outside eyes, including but not limited to Sharon Challenger, Vanessa Gilbert, Seth Roseman, David Hanbury, and Christine Papalexis.