I’m really proud of the three major regional and stock productions I was cast in this past year – I got to perform in three VERY different styles.
I performed in A.R. Gurney’s Black Tie, Charles Ludlam’s The Mystery of Irma Vep, and William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
So that’s Gurney – a popular contemporary playwright whose characters are very realistic. That’s Ludlam – whose Ridiculous Theatrical Company was well known for making absurd and totally unrealistic characters. And that’s Shakespeare – who is known for being Shakespeare.
I got to see the ins and outs of two wonderful theatres that were new to me – the Hampton Theatre Company and Cortland Repertory Theatre – and return to Lost Nation Theater and play Laertes again (I played Laertes there four years ago in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged).
I was nominated for “Best Actor in a Play” in the 2012 BroadwayWorld Central NY Awards for my performances as Lady Enid and Nicodemus Underwood in The Mystery of Irma Vep at Cortland Rep. I also racked up a ton of quotable accolades from critics and reviewers for all three projects, as well as for my creative love child – Doppelskope!
In addition to regularly being employed by other theatres, my own theatre company grew in leaps and bounds. This is a true dream project for me where we let our freak flags fly, explore the bizarre themes that motivate us, let ourselves play with clown, puppetry, magic, music, acrobatics and improv, and get rewarded constantly by loving audiences.
Ora and I had been collaborating for over a year on little projects, including a ten minute piece called An Existential Sing-Along about a severely insecure kangaroo puppet and also about the nature of reality. Then, only days after I returned to NYC from the Jim Henson Company’s X-Tink-Shun in Philadelphia, we premiered our new hour long version of An Existential Sing-Along to an enthusiastic packed house at the People’s Improv Theatre.
A week later we flew to New Orleans to unleash our weird on the New Orleans Fringe Festival, befriending many new audience members, clowns, acrobats and weirdos – and we kept refining the show. Back in NYC, we developed new material at Puppet BloK.
Then, after a few months, we took the show to New Mexico! We were invited to the Penasco Theatre by Poki McCorkle. Poki McCorkle is a mime, balancer, juggler and cool guy who is as good as his name – we met him in New Orleans. I’d recently heard that another New Mexico theatre, The Cell in Albuquerque, was looking for acts too, so we cobbled together a two week tour between the two theatres.
It was at this point that our show, which had been evolving continuously, really began to take on a solid and smooth form. Based on feedback we received from John Leo back in NYC, and from Dennis Gromelski (artistic director), Caitlin Aase (aerialist and clown) and Poki (Poki), the show went through a few more radical shifts. We rewrote the beginning. Our base characters became very clear, and we kept our red noses on the whole show. My character, Stampy, stopped speaking unless he was animating a puppet or playing another character. One matinee at the Cell was cancelled, so we spent the hour improvising and devising. It was thrilling.
We were set – we returned to NYC and over the summer played three more packed shows back at the PIT. We added an improv segment. We touched lives. We were weirder than ever.
This fall we premiered our new series at the PIT: Shrink, Puppet Therapy. This is an hour long, entirely improvised puppet show. It’s like jumping off a cliff and landing on fluffy mattress. It is so fun.
On February 2nd we’ll be premiering ANOTHER monthly series – The Existential Variety Hour. This will be hosted by our clown characters from The Sing-Along and feature new puppetry and magic pieces from us, as well as the work of a different featured guest artist each month.
It is all very exciting.
Accidental Dialect Coach
Without promoting at all, I found myself with a lot of new dialect coaching gigs in the late spring and early summer!
In NYC I coached Bosnian and Italian for Nora’s Playhouse’s production of The Fallen, and I coached Dad Doesn’t Dance, a wonderful one-woman show for the Edinburgh Fringe. I also had a bunch of private clients!
I’m acting and puppeteering for King Executioner: a Wartime Love Story at Theatre for the New City for the Czechoslovak American Marionette Theatre. This will play at the end of March and beginning of April
I’m going to be in Irma Vep again! At Lost Nation Theater in June! This time I will likely play the other track – i.e. the characters I didn’t play last time. Very exciting
In April I’ll be doing a one day puppetry festival at Daemen College in Buffalo, with Liz Dapo, one of my collaborators from X-Tink-Shun.
And I'll continue performing both Shrink: Puppet Therapy and The Existential Variety Hour.