I am a multidisciplinary artist whose performance work is grounded in anarchist philosophy and praxis. This means that my work is an experiment in utopian structures—in creating moments and worlds that allow us to imagine and experience ways of being, interacting, and producing culture outside of existing institutions, economic systems, and forms of material oppression.
I tromp around in the multi-layered Venn diagram where social practice, community spectacle, clown, and musical theater overlap. My work is counter-hegemonic, which is another way of saying I'm extremely grumpy and impatient with the current "state of affairs" and do my best to make my little grain of sand help shift those tectonic plates.
Plays are usually my medium of choice, since at their best they highlight the unique power of physically gathering together, and submitting to the power of imagination. They also offer unbeatable views of vulnerability, unpredictability, and ephemeral moments whose marks on us are permanent. They also require prolonged collaboration, which is itself a practice in world-building. Plays are also great because they leave no debris. When I am dead, no one will have to figure out how to dispose of—or preserve—them.
I'm particularly interested in what I've started to call "the Möbius strip of playing pretend." Among other things, my work proposes that if we play pretend at something fully and immersively enough, it turns out we're actually doing it. But as happens with Möbius strips, we do eventually round the curve and realize we're back on the same side where we began: just playing pretend. And yet, if we keep going, we'll once again be actually doing it. And on, and on. (If this seems confusing or nonsensical, visit the My Pizza, My Idea! page or the Less Miserable page for "clarity.")
In a world where technology is so ubiquitous as to become invisible, I treasure the high-magic-but-low-tech, the analog, and the painstakingly handmade.
In a culture increasingly focused on the self and the individual, grounding my work in a long-term commitment to anarchist philosophy demands that my practice continually creates new structures for sustaining my community, my collaborators and my own creative practice simultaneously.
I’ve been honored to show my work at Ars Nova in NYC, the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, the Ontological-Hysteric Theater in NYC (RIP), FringeArts in Philadelphia, The Baltimore Theater Project, Bread & Puppet Theater, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and Bedlam Theatre (RIP) and In The Heart of the Beast Theater in Minneapolis. I’ve been just as honored to perform more often in less-likely places like squats, post offices, grocery stores, intentional communities, info-shops, activist camps, farms, and community centers around the world.
My work has been supported by the likes of the Leeway Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, Meow Wolf, the Wilhelm Family Foundation, Dr. Bronner's, the Fund for Wild Nature, the Panta Rhea Foundation, and residencies at MacDowell, the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation and the Cornell University Soil Factory.
I live in Southwest Philadelphia.
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In 2005, I co-founded The Missoula Oblongata, a touring punk rock theatre company, with whom I wrote, designed, built, and performed plays for seven years. That company has since dissolved, and I’ve continued to create my own work, participate in others’ work, and develop new collaborations since then.
In 2007, I moved to Baltimore to join up with some old friends as a part of the internationally recognized artists collective, Wham City. My interactive play-in-a-box-for-an-audience-of-no-one, One Pair was included in the Wham City Box Set, which was released at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Wham City’s They Should All Be Destroyed (A Jurassic Park Play), which I directed, was cited by Rolling Stone as one of the reasons Baltimore had the “Best Scene in the Country” that year (2008?) and toured the East Coast twice to sold out houses. That same year, Baltimore’s City Paper called DIY Theatre the city’s “Best Trend”, saying: “[Baltimore’s DIY theater scene] is perhaps best exemplified by overlapping theater factions of Wham City…and Missoula Oblongata…the productions are big, bold, and unendingly impressive.”
In 2010 I received my MFA in Theater Arts from Towson University. My thesis project took me to Jordan and the West Bank, where I taught free shadow puppetry workshops for Palestinian and refugee youth.
In 2013 I moved to Philadelphia because a building owner offered me free space to make theater for a year. Living in Philly suited me alright, so I stayed and helped found the Panorama Artists Collective– a collectively run studio/rehearsal/performance space in Southwest Philadelphia.
I have led performance workshops at Southern Illinois University, Hampshire College, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Dartmouth College, Evergreen State College, and a million other places that escape me as I type this.
Photo: Rachel Wisniewski
"A visionary with a knack for creating experiences that transcend the norm." -Geekadelphia
It kind of feels weird to ask people to throw me money to support my work. But we live under global capitalism, so literally everything feels weird!
Until artists in the US are paid regular salaries for their work, you can: