I spent the first 18 years of my professional career in a troupe that earned some serious renown -- in both Eastern and Western Europe. Like jazz musicians we earned our money in Europe and returned to do what we loved for our American audience.
We performed in Nicaragua after the revolution there – we performed on picket lines for striking workers in the US, in prisons in every state, for factory workers seeking to become unionized and for workers in unions like the ILGWU, ACTWU, UAW, UMWA, and the IBEWU. We performed in ‘inner city’ streets, on many reservations. I drove our red Intl’ Harvester stake truck. Her name was Rosa. She had four gears and no automatic steering and I can still park her on a dime and hand you back a nickel.
I received an OBIE for my work with this troupe, and lived on my gifts for creating characters.
I started teaching a little in the Film/TV department at NYU, a job which I’ve come to cherish – because it’s true – the saying that ‘our students are our teachers’.
I’m also a constant student myself; I’m currently studying voice with the amazing composer and singer Marisa Michelson, I dance around in a room under the genius eye of Tamar Rogoff a couple times a week, and I’ve trained for a couple of years with actor Josh Pais – all of it really fun for me, and sometimes a serious challenge as well.
I received a NYFA Fellowship for Computer Arts for a brainy and authentic work I authored about the acquisitive nature of performative art. I am deeply honored (in a way that surprised me honestly) to have received two opportunities to serve my fellows as a Fulbright Teaching Fellow – once in 2011 and once in 2014.
My colleagues have also seen fit to consider me worthy of Fellowships at McDowell and at Val Paraiso in Spain…a Franklin Furnace grant, and several Joyce Mertz Gilmore grants & I’ve consequently been able to author 5 produced plays of my own & “The Breaks” w/ my brilliant buddy Deb Margolin.
I love Chekov, and wrote a 5th Act to “The Seagull” for myself – honestly just so I could play Arkadina – (and then I was cast in a seminal production of that play).
I LOVED playing the Hannah Pitt line of characters in “Angels in America” in Hartford last year -- after understudying those roles in the Signature Theatre production of that singular work. I’ve been in numberless obscure & remarkable Indies as lovers, drinkers, shrinks, shop keeps, a defender-of-zombies & a Cougar/murderess – and in a film called “Borders” a young Steve Buscemi – whose early theatre work with Mark Boone Jr. had inspired me greatly, played my mad, jilted lover. This year at Sundance I had a role in Madeline Olnek’s “Foxy Merkins” – it’s my 3rd film with Maddy - I’m kind of a member of her actor-gang. I starred in a fine short by a young director I loved Juliet Lashinsky-Revene – it’s called KEYS.WALLET.PHONE, and it garnered a few awards… And I played a noisy murderess in Israeli film director ‘s Roy Eventov’s thriller “Phyllis”. Oh and I’m the French Ambassador on “Madam Secretary” –(It’ll be fun for me when it’s writers (who are super yes?) see fit to have that character ‘on the scene’ there again…!)
OTHER odd and wonderful major roles I’ve had of late have included playing Yelena in Mallory Catlett’s 2014 OBIE and BESSIE Award winning play This Was The End inspired by her amazing mind & Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya…. Bernie Madoff – in drag as a man, and as a woman and as himself as me (don’t think about it) for a Jennifer Miller/Circus Amok run at PS122; Mum in a Half Straddle work at the Ontologic Hysteric Theater, & an aged Flower-Girl in Taylor Mac’s OBIE-winning The Lily’s Revenge, and I played 5 characters at the Abingdon Theatre in neat new play called Bodega Bay which the NYTimes dissed – mistakenly so in my opinion.
In addition to The Moon in Vain, (that’s the name of the 5th Act to The Seagull) I’ve authored and performed
She’s Just Away! …a comedy about grieving
Animal Instincts! Tales of Flesh and Tales of Blood and
Vicki Weaver & I…a comedy about hate.
Over the years I’ve gotten to work in several wonderfully demented projects of my friend Deb Margolin’s; and together we wrote and performed “The Breaks”, most recently presented by The Culture Project.
Thulani Davis, another writer whose work I much admire, had me direct the workshop production of her play Everybody’s Ruby at the Public Theatre. I’ve been able to perform some of my solo work there as well. Actor’s Theatre of Louisville had me in a great Sarah Ruhl play The Clean House, Triad Stage (Greensboro) had me do The Stage manager in Our Town, and I’ve been able to do two of writer Richard Dresser’s very cool plays, one at ME’s Portland Stage Company and one in MA’s Merrimack Theatre.
That ‘bout sums it up for now.
It’s such a sad and beautiful world I’ve been born into -- I’ll do anything and everything I can to laugh and bring laughter to this our world.