I am an Iowa-based freelance theatre director and the former Associate Artistic Director of Chicago Dramatists. I have a passion for new play development which began when I worked in the literary offices of Syracuse Stage and Long Wharf Theatre, and was honed during my years at the University of Iowa. I have had the pleasure of directly helping over a hundred playwrights, ranging from Samuel D. Hunter to Rohina Malik to Dana Lynn Formby, develop their work. I also love reimagining classics and musicals. During the daytime, I am the Director of the Career Community for Arts, Media, and Communication at Grinnell College.
plays that sing to me
In my directing, I like to play with subjectivity.
We all experience the world differently. When asked to recall the same event, various eyewitnesses will frequently have stories that don't quite mesh. Each focuses on one moment--an object, a statement, an image--and draws their own conclusions. For them, this becomes a reality unto itself. Detectives are left with many different versions of history. Which one is true? As a director, I say all of them. Objective truth is not any of our experience, because we filter the world through our own viewpoints.
My fiancé vividly remembers seeing me for the first time: I was wearing a white floral dress. I can tell you without a doubt that I was not wearing a white floral dress. I don't even own a dress that matches that description, and we met during finger-numbing March temperatures in Chicago. I was wearing jeans and a red shirt. But for Chris, it was a white dress. Who am I to say that he is wrong, when the truth that he felt was so visceral? Veering from realism onstage allows us to uncover a truer form of human experience, one that has the capability to touch a deeper chord with audiences.
So in terms of plays, keep me far away from the kitchen sink. Give me a story that toys with the nature of time and memory, that provides no easy answers, that has some grit to it. Give me characters that are striving against all odds in a make-or-break situation. And you get bonus points if it's somebody's story that isn't being represented onstage now.
Oh, and I also like comedies.