Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

I am inspired by the possibilities for human connection in theatre—the immediate, authentic exchange between performer and audience. In my work I seek to reveal the inner experience that connects us to one another, the vulnerability and reverence which is both hidden within, yet beyond our everyday selves. Two contrasting training experiences, UC Irvine MFA (Acting) and Jerzy Grotowski’s Objective Drama Program, have informed my career and my quest to find a meeting point, a place where traditional and experimental theatre converge. I have been a devisor of theatre for twenty years, creating more than 15 new works in collaborative partnerships. This amazing journey, as creator, performer, director, and teacher of experimental theatre, has freed me to reach into the unknown parts of myself and discover new ways of communicating what I find. Working with other artists challenges and inspires me to reach beyond what I know, and a deeper, shared vision emerges. As a devisor, director, and performer experimentation and collaboration are integral to my method in approaching both conventional and non-conventional forms. My work always begins in the body, generating material on the feet, awaking the imagination in response to creative impulses; finding the movement and voice, action and reaction in relation to what the piece wants to be. I use music, folktales, and individual histories to evoke a personal response in the performer and a multi-layered theatre experience for the spectator. I take great care in the way I treat all elements of the process—the physical space, texts, songs, my fellow artists. This almost sacred approach provides a foundation for grace and a sense of reverence that can be felt by the audience.

I bring this same sense of respect to my teaching and artistic work at the university, guiding students to find meaning in their work and in themselves. Young actors must be both inspired and highly skilled. My work with students seeks to unlock natural resources of creativity and inspiration, and at the same time strives to develop the skills of the craft. These skills cannot be fully learned in a theoretical method, but must be experienced repeatedly in a natural growth process so that students’ knowledge is fully practical. As a director, students understand that I treat my work with them as equal to my professional work. They know that they are my collaborators and their artistry and care is essential in creating a living theatre experience for themselves and our spectators. I cultivate an atmosphere of safety where students are free to discover and reveal themselves. My Fitzmaurice Voice training (Associate Teacher, 2010) assists me in aiding young actors to strip away barriers and find freedom of breath and intention in text and action. Working with young people from diverse backgrounds has deepened my craft. As my students discover their voices, their strengths, and their creative spirits, I am renewed. I continue to grow and learn in a craft that is both exhilarating and humbling.