Actor, Puppeteer, and Teaching Artist

You are not wood, you are not stones.

One of the evergreen topics on the rotating menu that theatre blogs cycle through is the “fight” between professional theatremakers and community theatre makers. This is of course a radical narrative distillation of a more nuanced relationship. This week the piece making the rounds is from the venerable theatre omnibus OnStage Blog. The article, by Timothy Fitzgerald, is a perfectly cromulent defense of community theatre as an important foundational piece, particularly of the American branch of stage performance and of the communities they exist in in general. The flaw in the article is the premise. When I was writing regularly about theatre firebrands firebranding all over the place, a frequent refrain of mine was “check your listings”. It was argued time and again that certain communities were only programing Old Chestnut 4 and Boring Musical 7 – which mostly was untrue. Mostly communities program Reliable Favorites about %70 of the

Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounc’d it to you

Live performance is a system of interlocking skills honed individually and together over time like any other muscle-building, and then deployed all at once. It is almost always desired that the edges of that displayed set of skills are folded under and invisible to the uninitiated, and, on the highest level, even to fellow initiates. So as one progresses, craft becomes more and more opaque. The skilled stop understanding how and why they do it and the very best seem to require no effort at all. One of those skills is line memorization. It is the favorite party trick of audiences at talk backs the world over and the bane of new performers taking on walls of text for the first time. It is also a performance muscle that isn’t really worked in tandem with other real world skills, so time away from performance really can decondition that system. And

We All Learn Eventually

In 2009 World Theatre Day changed my life. I am a community minded sort. Often my reaction to any given event is: How could we have involved more people? How could more folks have been helped? When Rebecca Coleman mentioned on Twitter that Vancouver had celebrated a city-wide World Theatre Day in 2008 and what if we made that happen across cities? I was or course interested. I had no idea what I could do locally. I had no money, no space and no standing company to help me with either. But I could help activate Austin and push other leaders to do something. Latifah Taormina of what was then the Austin Circle of Theatres was one of the folks who I reached out to to try to facilitate an event. She suggested presenting this controversial piece that everyone was talking about, Seven Jewish Children by Caryl Churchill. She suggested

What is Love? What Will It Be Tomorrow?

“I wondered about the experience of being in relationship to a new body in a new country—like an American lesbian married to a man in Berlin.” Most of our writing about love tries to do it in primary colors, in bold strokes. We write about and perform the operatic beginnings of love and the elegiac ends. We write about the first dates, and first kids and that first time walking the neighborhood without your partner of 50 years. We don’t spend a lot of time talking about the grind, the hard work of learning how to be a person while taking every step alongside another person figuring out thing at the exact same time. We shorthand this sort of thing as “marriage is hard”. But it’s really the bulk of what marriage is. Jeanette Winterson talks about relationships this way some in her writing. It always ends of feeling more

Do You Even Hear Yourself?

When “social media” fired up really was Web 1.5. As technology became easier a lot more folks showed up and for a lot of us it was the first real reunion with high school folks since we’d left. This radically altered my perception of high school for me, and my place in it. I was an active Christian in high school and smart, but not top ten smart, active, but not student council active. I was a theatre kid but not THAT theatre kid. I had myself pegged pretty well as a loser but not lost. And then one of my first interaction with a non-friend boiled down largely to: I’m glad you’re not such a bully anymore.In a million years I wouldn’t have believed that I could be a bully in high school. I was targeted pretty rigorously early in high school. To the point of my bully being

That Still Small Voice

Ushuwaia Blue has become a touchstone in my head for the sorts of projects I want to make acting students attempt in order to build a different kind of acting practice. Beginning acting is chock full of affection for blazing intensity. In love with wielding every emotion at a 35 out of 10 we see scenes full of rage and not a lot else. It’s the First Church of Going There. It’s adherents fall into the McDonagh hole, in the 90’s they were the Mamet and Labute folks. And it is fun as hell to wield those emotions full bore. To not worry about tactics and just let 8-bit emotion flow. It’s when you get stuck in that being your only tool that it becomes a hindrance. You have to find the finer edged tools in your toolbox to create more finely wrought work. This wasn’t particularly emphasized in my

Planet Rocker Show Stopper (Control of Performance)

We get trained to do what we do in very specific ways. It is VERY difficult to change the ways we do it when the future arrives, or even conceive of how it needs to be done. I grew up and was trained in proscenium theatre spaces. As I got older, my usual haunts were all black box thrusts and shared spaces. But they were still formal storytelling spaces if less opulent and less formal than the sorts of traditional theatre spaces I considered Real Theatre. I am more than capable of sliding up and down that continuum pretty fluidly. I like to think that the tools I’ve developed work well in lots of forms and forums. But all of them are in formally designated settings. Even if there aren’t velveteen folding seats and a grand drape, it is understood that we are in a sit silently and watch situation

Ush. Waia. Like the sound of the wind itself.

My wife and I spend a notable amount of time talking about ethics in performance. What is ethical to ask of an audience? Of a performer? What effect is the moment you create for them putting out into the world? Often in our discussion we use Martin McDonagh as shorthand for work that puts audiences and performers through the ringer. It’s important that discussions of abstractions not hinge on work being bad, so we use McDonagh because the work is excellent. I performed the role of Katurian in The Pillowman while we were in Austin. She saw the effect on me that the emotional grind of spending 3-4 hours a night living as Katurian had. The effect on audiences is one of laughing through creeping dread.The play is dark and intense and there are lots of companies that choose to do it because it’s dark and intense. The extremely abbreviated

Things I Know Today

A downside of having a functional brain is understanding how little you know. This is compounded by being able to see clearly every time you learn something new how much less you know than you thought. Where that leaves you, if you’re being intellectually honest, is never having solid enough footing to be able to ever shout anything into the void. If the only way to be heard in 2021 is to shout into the din with all the arrogance you can muster, right or wrong, it’s difficult to see value in that. There is value in speaking a little more slowly, a little more softly and letting it exist off to the side of the firehose for people if they need it. It’s not the way to fame, but it’s pretty late for that for me anyway. I can only speak to the things I know, and I try

Episode 2: A New Hope

The first question most people ask about dying is, “was there a light? Anything?” What they mean is did you cheat and get any answers to bring back. The answer for me, as the answer has been for any folks who’ve made a two-way trip, is no. It’d have been great if the faulty wiring in my cardiac region led to me being deputized as a messenger angel, but no such luck this time out. I’m a narrative driven person. I am lover of stories even discounting my Christian upbringing, which sort of doubles down on living your life by a story. Every bit of my life dresses in characters and arcs and emotional roil of one kind or another. What dying did for me was flip on the work lights. Nothing de-romanticizes life quicker than dying due to electrical failure out of nowhere. I’m not suddenly divorced from a life

Herein Will I Imitate the Sun

My extended cardiac pause at the end of last year was cause for reflection, which I think most folks would find pretty common. That period of reflection combined with a political environment running so hard against what I believe to be my and my broader community’s best interests left me reeling a bit. Is this political moment a call to more explicit political action? How can I improve the community in a more direct way? And how do I define that community in this new place?

Root Root Root for the Home Team

The current conversational content at my house breaks down pretty simply. It’s approximately 11% making fun of me for dying; 6% what’s for dinner; 43% cats, cat behavior, cat functions, and doing impersonations of the cats; 3% about enhancing verticality in theatre communities to better simulate a neural network of intelligence and talent (which is just me monologing after Megan goes to bed); and  37% about immersive theatre. Megan has been fascinated by immersives and their brethren since Punchdrunk infected her with Sleep No More years ago. Taking her love of video games and crossing them with her love of performance art seems like a pretty sure way of making sure she’s paying attention. Despite her love of immersives, travel to go see them, and meticulous deconstruction of their inner workings… she had never managed to get me to one. She did her damnedest to get me in to Third

He’s a Conspirator!

And we’re back with Episode 7 of our slow out into the Twin Cities theatre community. Tonight I open Julius Caesar, the first part of this season’s “Spring Rep”  with the Classical Actors Ensemble. Tomorrow we go even bigger with a two show day, opening Macbeth to make the pair. It’s perhaps a little odd to celebrate your third (and fourth) show(s) in a city, but – at the risk of sounding like a baseball fan parsing a hitter’s batting average on Sundays at home when it rains – tonight I open my first show in town that I’m not part of because I know my wife. My first two shows in town were great experiences, and I was a valuable part of both of them, but my involvement had an awful lot more to do with my knowing Megan, my infinite availability, and my price more than something I inherently brought to

Plan Rocker Show Stopper

Theatre producers seem to live in a permanent terror about the pending Ragnarok. It may be that most of the theatre makers I know don’t have even 60 days cash on hand never mind a liquid operating fund, but it seems that they are always looking to paint innovation onto whatever mission they already have. That they’re seeking to continue doing theatre that they enjoy making while shoehorning in whatever the kids like these days. Since the Gossip Girl-ification of Sleep No More immersive has become as hot as a theatrical fad can be, with even pretty tepidly dramaturged lobbies trying to claim ‘immersiveness’. I’ve heard calls since I began blogging in 2006 to increase audience ownership of the performance and performance space. Bromides about relaxing rules, expectations and essentially eliminating the silent sanctuary in theatre that emerged with the naturalism of the last century. This all gets phrased as though theatre makers

Sweet Creature of Bombast

You don’t get to script your endings… Willie Mays as a Met, Dwight Evans as a Baltimore Oriole, Joe Montana as a Kansas City Chief – I actually couldn’t tell you what colour Jerry Rice was wearing when he stopped playing football. It doesn’t change their story. Not really. Not in any material way. But it’s narratively disappointing . We’ve been well trained to want our fairy tales to end with a wedding not a marriage. I didn’t really get to script my ending with Austin theatre. The timing just didn’t work out. We’re decamping earlier than I thought, so making Trouble Puppet’s Frankenstein my final show as intended simply wasn’t feasible. Instead my final curtain call in Austin will be as Falstaff. It was an honor unlooked for and there an end. I don’t know that there is a more suitable end than playing a galactically outsized dirtbag Shakespearean clown outside


Over the course of a couple of days this week I watched a livestream of someone cleaning up his Facebook profile. And it was riveting. As part of the Austin-based performance/art Fusebox Festival Brian Lobel recreated his Purge performance art piece with two local performers. The piece consists of the performer/subject sitting in front of a rotating panel of three people and defending their relationship with each of the people on their Facebook friends list for one minute. At the end of the minute the panel decides whether or not the person will remain on the friends list. It sounds like a really dull sort of game show. It sounds like the sort of pretentious grad school performance art that even folks on my performance art friendly social media feeds mock for being a sketch version of performance art. I watched like 6 hours of it. It was spellbinding. The premise

Friday Five: Oct. 31

1. All of Megan Kimber‘s stuff (currently has an exhibition up at Greyduck Gallery) 2. The Berlioz section of Chagall’s Paris Opera House Ceiling 3. Christina the Ghost Art Doll Figurine from Shain Erin: 4. The weather is relaxing into habitable and I am tired in my bones… I would love to spend some time reading something engaging without being bitten by anything or sweating and drinking a Negroni made with Navy Strength Genius Gin. I admit it it’s these cherries that sold me… 5. This right here? THIS is a coffee machine.

Friday Five: Oct 24

1. This entire series of figures from Marina Rubinke is so macabre I almost feel guilty linking you too them.   2. Look. I’m Late to the party but Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand is effectively the theme to The Strange Case of Edward Hyde and Doctor Jekyll that I open next week with Trouble Puppet… I mean… yeah. 3. Conrad Roset’s Cicuta Part of his Muses set.  [The People’s Print Shop!] 4. “WORN OUT” BY PALESTINIAN ARTIST IYAD SABBAH   5. Jason Brueck’s A Prayer to Genevieve    

The End of 2012.

  The year two thousand twelve. Chronologically.   1: Messenger No. 4 (or How to Survive a Greek Tragedy)   2. My first tattoo   3. Tis Pity She’’s a Whore   4. Rose Rage   5. Birth of Athena   6. Cape Cod   7. Weekend in Utopia   8. Doctor Faustus   9. Quills   And so ends 2012. The least balanced most selfish year of my life. In many ways it was a rewarding successful year, in many ways a frustrating altogether too quick year. If you are a friend or family member I likely shorted you this year. I know. I’m working on it. To a more balanced, more focused 2013.

Talk About What’s Good

Oh internet, fetid firehose of information and unwashed humanity, you so confound and delight. If you plug into the pipeline and crank the valves fully open you get poleaxed first by the volume of content, then by the raw negativity of the content. If you think that your contact time with that negativity doesn’t change your outlook on the world you’re being naïve. You are what you consume. I’m not going to deny that a fine appetizer of schadenfreude or a butter-ladened dessert of partisan bile is fun for you and it can be a nice treat. Nor am I suggesting an Oprah-style giveaway of Pollyanna glasses for a trying time (“YOU get culture blindness!” “YOU get culture blindness!”).Roblox Free Unlimited Robux and Tix Life can be difficult. Art creation can be difficult. Excel spreadsheet creation can be difficult. Making/finding/keeping money can be difficult. The question becomes: Why sit in the  filthy

Friday Five

1. While trimming our tree on Saturday afternoon, I came many beautiful decorations which were Mike’s before we were even a couple. One of them was the “Mike Angel,” a gift from our friend Sandra from 1999. The “Mike Angel” was a hilariously funny addition to our tree for years. She made it out of a styrofoam ball and orange yarn and it really looks just like Mike Young. So, Saturday, Baxter found it and said, “What’s this?” And I said, “Do you think it looks like anyone?” and he said, “Daddy Mike?” I told Bax all about it and how much we loved it and used to have it on our tree when we lived in Philly. Read the rest. Baxter is a kid like I imagine most of the folks who would read a post like this were. Merry Christmas. 2. Peter Greenaway. Last Supper. Do you need

Friday Five

1. Steampunk, check. Shadow puppets in front of the magic lantern styling, check. The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello! 2. Paper crafts. Like doctorate level paper crafts from Peter Callesen. 3. Haunting work from Fuyuko Matsui 4. I love smart t-shirts: 5. Steam Punk RECORD PLAYER:

Tell the Truth

Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher’s film The Social Network had a tidy little weekend this weekend scooping up $22.5M. I enjoyed the film very much but this post isn’t about that. I saw the film, as I see most of the films I see, at the Alamo Drafthouse. The Drafthouse is an Austin institution (coming soon to a New York near you?) that along with serving beer and pub grub (or better) while you watch the movie is known for the special event programming and for their custom made pre-shows. Tim League and his minions cut together preshow montages relevant to the feature you are about to see. In the case of say Spiderman III: The Wrath of Plot you might see the Turkish Spiderman and a clip from Spider man and his Amazing friends and something from Electric Company… For The Social Network we were pretty much bombarded with

Vanity thy name is…

My good friend Will Hollis Snider recently answered an emergency call for headshots newer than my junior year of college. That ol’ headshot was fine (or a reasonable facsimile of fine) through the last time I auditioned for someone other than my good friend Will Hollis Snider…. That headshot: Is pretty well out of date at this point. It’d been four years and several hard roads since that last audition. I was reading last Saturday for someone not my good friend Will Hollis Snider and thought that I should act as though I had heard of professionalism so took advantage and headed down to WHS’s swinging South Austin pad. That Will is good. We shot for about an hour and he played with some light. We got three great shots: The super serious artist blah blah blah – or as my wife put it, like I was trying to play

Friday Five!

1. Raymond Carver Mad Libs! (from Yankee Pot Roast)   2. A great series of maps with a graphical representation of demographic locations in the top 40 American cities. Below is Austin. (via Fast Company)   3.   4. Pouring Lamp from Yanko Design   5. An night to remember for always – Filmgoers watch Buried from their interred coffins.   .

So pretty: Christmas is coming!

My apartment was recently foreclosed on leading to a quick search through the listings in case we weren’t able to stay in our current home. We were able to stay on but I still browse the listings occasionally Currently on the market? 3900 Pearce Rd Austin, TX 78730 $3,850,000 7 Bedrooms 8 Baths 12,000 Sq.Ft. Is four Million dollars too much to pay for this much pretty? No. No it is not. The estimated monthly payment is a skritch above $15K: Foyer! Entertainment…. chamber.. torium? Kitchen! Dining Room Wine Cellar Billiards Salon Movie Theater Master Bedroom [EDITED TO ADD: “Where the Magic Happens”] Reading Nook Master Bath/Swim Facility Hallway… Viewing deck? Sweat Closet! Guest Room Spare Bathroom Sitting Room Guest room for guests we like! Coffee Nook View View! Lagoon! View! Bar! I would let Megan fix the lighting.


Sometimes social media metrics analysis site partners with companies to offer Klout Perks(tm). In this case FOX wanted folks with “entertainment blogs” and a social media presence to preview their new fall television Lonestar. To facilitate this viewing they send out a screener DVD and a whole bunch of things with Lonestar printed on them:Movie All Is Lost (2013)     Well there was nothing to it but to have folks over, make waffles (or have waffles made for you) and watch this disc with a bunch of elitist theatre folks because FOX lumped a theatre blog/SM Media presence together with general entertainment blogging presence.   This is orange juice, corporate bacon (bacon prepared on the microwave tray so it comes out perfect and straight every time) and waffles prepared by Ms. Amanda scraped with a touch of Nutella, a sprinkle of cayenne, a sprinkle of cardamom and a

Ennui, Extra Pickles

It has been a terribly odd year. In many ways this has been a banner year, continuing a string of banner years. Little of that has had to do with any great effort on my part. As I try to get some traction on my burn out and actually produce something I leave you with Veda Hille singing what the slog sounds like in my brain right now. Veda Hille – Oh, the Endless Fog! I’m not so old I act so old must straighten up and soldier on give no care to what they’re thinking you never know, you think you know you know so much, it all pulls up you just take it and keep going

A Startling Revelation

I am a terrible correspondent. I mean world-class bottom-of-the-barrel correspondent. Phone, email, letter, telegram, message in a bottle…. I am excruciatingly bad at returning communication. Which is a bit surprising given the number of words that I churn out in a given month but what it is really? Busted linkage. I am absolutely responding to you. I am really reading everything you send me, thinking about it deeply, and formulating a response to you, often several, often for weeks… It just doesn’t always make it into some sort of medium and make it to you. Aaron Sorkin occasionally uses a device to allow for narration and direct author comment on situations. One of the characters will be writing a letter to a family member and “explain” a situation to them over the course of an episode. I am rewatching Sports Night right now and Sorkin uses Jeremy’s letters to Louise

Howl again

I have been interested in the art of the every day for some time. In March of 2002 I posted as a culmination of a few different posts: We all have in us what Ginsberg threw on a page 40 years ago, we all have the rage, and pain, and love, and vitriol, and joy, and lust and hate, and wonder that makes Howl a touchstone for a movement. If each of us were even able to write out the one verse that is true. The one stanza that is Us without the mask, we would have created something equally beautiful and horrible – a testament for posterity. Everyone needs to howl. With a consistent trend through earlier this week when I posted on Twitter: Is this a golden age of individual creation or do I just have the most interesting friends in the world? I am surrounded by creation.

Old Traditions of New Media

I have been “blogging” since the spring of 2001. Of course the rank and file didn’t call it blogging back them, I was keeping an online journal, which sounds even more horrifying in retrospect. A refugee from a poetry circle (I know!) on a community website called ECircles, we moved to Livejournal because of its robust community features. Which, along with hard lessons about the lack of privacy even a pseudonym and miles of fiber provide , is the best thing that could have happened. I met a couple hundred interesting people, and a couple of dozen that I would call friend. Over the 8 years I was active we lived the 00’s with one another through marriage, and children (real and theatrical) and school and grad school and 9/11 and two wars… We were a nerdy little family. In my particular nerdy little family there was an understanding that

Another Dark Corner

Several times over the last year since I combined my personal blog with the Cambiare Productions blog I have expressed to Will that I wished I had someplace to complain about all of the things that annoyed me or to link the news articles or stories that I ran across in my endless quest to read the entire internet every day. Simultaneously I would whine that I was paying for my domain for nothing, and MAN did I wish I had something to put up on Never let it be said that I don’t come around eventually. Politics, sports, current events, light technology and mockery of stupidity will be our stock in trade. Personal storytelling that would be inappropriate on the Cambiare Productions site, along with an easier way to look at items shared from my Google Reader and Tumblr. There’ll be some ramp up, but I think we’ll

10 Things I Wish I’d been Told in College (and 1 I was)

From the archive. Originally posted at the Cambiare Productions Blog on 10/25/2009 Everyone loves lists. Well. I love lists, and while there’s been a lot of talk over my three years actively blogging about theatre about the failings of the Theatre Education Industrial Complex, we’ve not really attempted to create a curriculum we approve of. Largely because, well, creating a new theatre education paradigm is hard. And I’m not going to do that here, because I’m not sure how to even begin. Instead? Herein lies a list of things I wish someone had told me over a beer the night of graduation. “Well… you made it, and now you’re ‘In the Club’ so here’s all the things you weren’t taught.” This does include stuff we’ve talked about here in the past. But not all in one place. I also want to include the one thing I WAS told outside the framework of

Head Shot and Resume

Download Printable Headshot/Resume (PDF) 2019 The Ever and After The President Theatre Pro Rata Sofia Lindgren Galloway Stuck in an Elevator With Patrick Stewart II : The Wrath of Fandom Daniel Jimmies Theatre Cosmic Kevin Houle God of Carnage Michael Lex Hamm Community Theatre Sara Skar 2018 A/Part (Workshop) Guide Playable Artworks Margo Gray Cyrano on the Moon Cyrano Red Dice Collective (MnFringe) Mason Tyer Measure for Measure Pompey (and Varrius) Assistant Director Theatre Unbound Kate Powers  2017 ValleyScare Judge Valleyfair Joel Sass 2016 If My Feet have Lost the Ground Video Puppeteer Open Eye Figure Theatre (Torry Bend Productions) Torry Bend Macbeth / Julius Caesar (Repertory) Angus / Citizen 1 / Company  Classical Actor’s Ensemble Joseph Papke / Randall J. Funk A Midsummer Night’s Dream Egeus / Snout  Classical Actor’s Ensemble Michael Kelley Merchant of Venice / Volpone (Repertory) Gratiano / Avocatori Classical Actor’s Ensemble Kate Powers / Joseph Papke 2015 1

: Press – Other

Personal: Guardian on 7 Jewish Children Guardian Coverage of Rehearsal vs. Stage Technique Austin Chronicle personal feature (Dan Solomon) Academic Papers:  Tizzano – On Seven Jewish Children: Explicitation and Implicitation in terms of ideology  Stef Craps: Holocaust Memory and the Critique of Violence in Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza

– Press Morgue

  The Wars of Heaven (Pt. 1) Iarath / Company  Trouble Puppet Directed by Connor Hopkins “Travis Bedard’s voicework gives magical life to his characters” – David Glen Robinson CTX Live Theatre – Michael Meigs Austin American Statesman Austin Chronicle American Theatre Magazine Changelings Magus Kemp Vortex Theatre Rudy Ramirez “Travis Bedard is Magus Kemp. None dare call him Professor, and Kemp warns us that he being him is like you being you on a quarter-tab of mescaline at all times. Bedard embodies Kemp with the apparent glee of one who has finally found a role he sought for years. Hardy and Bedard create a character of whom the producers of the movie Ghostbusters would be deeply envious.” – David Glen Robinson “And while there really are no weak links in this talented group, standout performances are also given by Ray, McLemore, and Travis Bedard.” – Elissa Russell The Strange

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