Bryan George Rowell, Felipe Vásquez-Encamilla, and Matt Graham in rehearsal for The Great Aphrodite's Marriage Makeover with book and music by Julio Vaquero Ramos and book and lyrics by Aliza Sotsky
April 2022 @ NYU/Tisch GMTWP
As a writer and director, I work in heightened realism and cringe-naturalism. I write and direct so that emotions can be felt and embodied onstage by actors, whether those feelings are on full display or bubbling beneath the surface.
As a writer, I value subtext and nuance. As a director, I like to see how those qualities can exist in dialogue with dadaism or camp. Each time I am confronted by a fourth wall, I decide if I am going to break it or paint it.
“Cinema verité is wanting what you get, not getting what you want.” Those words by Karel Reisz, often quoted by my late friend and mentor Haskell Wexler, have come to shape my approach to life as well as my artistic practice. Whether I am writing a first draft, working with actors onstage, or capturing performances in front of a camera, I am deeply aware of the infinite possibilities that can be unlocked when I do not impose my own ideas but instead build trust with the artists in the room and the ideas in the work. I am strongly affected by texture and geometry within a room and try to stage and write with an awareness of what Mary Overlie called "an intelligence in the space."
I am committed to equity of voice and healthy boundaries. I value everyone who shows up to make our field as dynamic and meaningful as it is -- actors, musicians, designers, stage managers, governing boards, directors, writers, choreographers, intimacy coordinators, fight directors, and administrative staff. We are all important. We all make the work possible.
Some artists use other people as objects through which they express their own views. I tend to go to other people and ask questions that create the space for us to find something more ephemeral: a series of truths we can agree on, even if only for a moment. Point of view is not only personal but temporary, because the truth changes depending on who you ask and when you ask them. Context is everything. That's why the act of creation is one of the most fluid, constant, and necessary practices in the world.
Susan O'Dea, Joe Lanza, Sarah Park, Alec Mathieson, and Patrick Martini in the workshop of Pym with book, music, and lyrics by Sarah Fiete inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.
April 2019 @ Dixon Place
Lucero Garcio, Ben Acland, Rachel Appelbaum, Timothy Connolly, Nate Clute, Jeena Yi, Pavel Chavarin, and Lily Harrison in Circle of Friends
May 2009 @ PianoFight LA's Shortlived 2.0
cringe-naturalism: (n) theatrical work that aspires to invoke the relentless awkwardness of life through verisimilitude
dadaism: (n) in the aftermath of WWI, an artistic movement that challenged all things structure, form, and rationality; anti-art, anti-everything, anti-dada
camp: (n) an exaggerated style that borrows from high art and pop culture