The Soul of the American Actor / Articles
William Esper Studio

INTERVIEWS with ARTISTS

BEN VEREEN

JEANINE TESORI

PSALMAYENE 24

SYLVIA MCNAIR

MICHAEL McELROY

DEIDRE KINAHAN

BOB ARI

PAUL TAZEWELL

PATRICIA ROZARIO

NANCY RHODES

MAIA DANZIGER

EARL “PEANUTT” MONTGOMERY

WILLIE RUFF

DENNIS D’AMICO

GRACE CACHOCHA

KAREN SAILLANT

JENNIFER HORNE

JEANIE THOMPSON

ROBERT PERRY

WAYNE SIDES

JAMIE LEE McMAHAN

SPOTLIGHT ON ARTISTS

Zana Marjanovic

Dr. Ashley William Joseph

M. Safeer

Kevin Kimani Kahuro

Ilire Vinca

Avra Sidiropoulou

Sujatha Balakrishnan

Mihaela Dragan

Farah Deen

Katy Lipson

Juan Maldonado

Odile Gakire Katese

Hartmut von Lieres

Dragan Jovičić

Sachin Gupta

Jill Navarre

“To grasp the full significance of life is the actor's duty, to interpret it is his problem, and to express it his dedication.”  
– Marlon Brando

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”
– Helen Keller

“The theatre should be treated with respect. The theatre is a wonderful place, a house of strange enchantment, a temple of illusion.”
– Noel Coward

“Cultivate an ever continuous power of observation...see the sunlight and everything that is to be seen.”
– John Singer Sargent

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
– T.S. Eliot

“Feel is if you are reborn each day and rediscover the world of nature which are joyfully a part.”
– Pablo Casals, at the age of 96

“The secret of all natural and human law is movement that meets with devotion”
– I Ching

“You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self.”
– Richard Bach

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”
– Wilma Rudolph

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”
– William Faulkner

“Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”
– Ernest Hemingway


Articles

Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company

Black Theatre United

Mabou Mines

Theater J

Pangea World Theater

Round House Theatre

Bucks County Playhouse

Charleston Stage

Maryland Ensemble Theatre

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

PURE Theatre Company

Ronald Rand’s “CREATE! How Extraordinary People Live to Create and Create to Live”

Virginia Stage Company

Constellation Theatre Company

League of Professional Theatre Women

Maryland Hall

BlackRock Center for the Arts

Great American Songbook Foundation & Academy

Kennedy Center REACH

Inter Act Art Theatre

“Grand Ball in the Belle Epoch” – Edwardian Period Style Salon

Ronald Rand in Let It Be Art

 

 

 

 

“The only reason to write is from love.”
– Stephen Sondheim

“To create one's world in any of the arts takes courage.”
– Georgia O’Keefe

“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”
– Albert Schweitzer

“A word does not start as a word – it is an end product which begins as an impulse, stimulated by attitude and behavior which dictates the need for expression.”
– Peter Brook

“The power of art is the power of truth.”
– Julian Beck

 

 

 

Hirschfeld

 

“In a moment of grace, we can grasp eternity in the palm of our hand. This is the gift given to creative individuals who can identify with the mysteries of life through art.”
– Marcel Marceau:

“Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.”
– Ludwig van Beethoven

“Use your knowledge, and your heart, to stand up for those who can't stand, speak for those who can't speak, be a beacon of light.”
– Julie Andrews

“...Beneath the surface of an ordinary everyday normal casual conscious existence there lies a vast dynamic world of impulse and dream...”
– Robert Edmond Jones

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”
– Samuel Beckett

“Transform the work, yourself, and everybody around you...Kindness is one of the greatest gifts you can bestow upon another. If someone is in need, lend them a helping hand. Do not wait for a thank you. True kindness lies within the act of giving without the expectation of something in return.”
– Katharine Hepburn

“Being an actor is a religious calling because you've been given the ability, the gift to inspire humanity.”
– Sandy Meisner

“Whenever you are reading beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.”
– Alice Walker

“The key to the mystery of a great artist is that for reasons unknown, he will give away his energies and his life just to make sure that one note follows another... and leaves us with the feeling that something is right in the world.”
– Leonard Bernstein

“In the long history of man, countless empires and nations have come and gone. Those which created no lasting works of art are reduced today to short footnotes in history's catalog. Art is a nation's most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves, and to others, the inner vision which guides us as a Nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.”
– President Lyndon B. Johnson

“If you take the trouble to really listen (to the music) with your soul and with your ears - and I say soul and ears because the mind must work, but not too much also - you will find every gesture there. And it is all true, you know.”
– Maria Callas

“An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he might choose.”
– Langston Hughes

“Each of us have a gift given us freely by the universe. And each of us with every breath gives something back.”
– Kim Stanley

“We all bear within us the potentiality for every kind of passion, every fate, every way of life. Nothing human is alien to us. If this were not so, we could not understand other people, either in life or in art.”
– Max Reinhardt

“All kinds of art serve to the greatest of the arts - the art of living on earth.”
– Bertolt Brecht

“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.”
– James Madison

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”
– Martha Graham

“You have to live spherically — in many directions. Never lose your childish enthusiasm — and things will come your way.”
– Federico Fellini

“If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and make a change.”
– Michael Jackson

“Before you take a decision, consider its effect on the next seven generations.”
– Hopi proverb:

“Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.”
– Oscar Wilde

“Before you take a decision, consider its effect on the next seven generations.”
– Hopi proverb:

“Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.”
– Oscar Wilde

 

 

 

Mabou Mines

Mabou Mines is an artist-driven experimental theater collective generating original works and re-imagined adaptations of classics. Work is created through multi-disciplinary, technologically inventive collaborations among its members and a wide world of contemporary filmmakers, composers, writers, musicians, choreographers, puppeteers and visual artists. Mabou Mines fosters the next generation of artists through mentorship and residencies.

Today, the Company includes four Artistic Directors: Founding Artistic Director Lee Breuer and co-Artistic Directors Sharon Anne Fogarty, Karen Kandel and Terry O’Reilly; Artistic Associates: Maude Mitchell, Clove Galilee, David Neumann and Carl Hancock Rux and a far-reaching network of collaborators.

Karen Kandel, Lee Breuer, Terry O'Reilly, Sharon Fogarty (photo: c Maria Baranova)

In the summer of 1970, a group of artists – David Warrilow, Lee Breuer, Ruth Maleczech, JoAnne Akalaitis and Philip Glass – retreated to Philip and JoAnne Glass’s house near Mabou Mines, Nova Scotia to create their first theater piece, “Red Horse Animation.” The company took the name “Mabou Mines,” and has since become not only a collective of artists, but of ideas and approaches.

The company was born out of the influences and inspirations of Europe’s seminal Avant-garde theater collectives. Before arriving in New York in 1970, the would-be ensemble of Mabou Mines spent five years in Europe observing and studying the working methods of the Berliner Ensemble, the politics of the exiled Living Theater and the demands of physical training with Jerzy Grotowski. Since that time, Mabou Mines has created more than a hundred and twenty works and has been honored with more than a hundred major awards.

Mabou Mines production of “Hajj,” the multimedia piece Mabou Mines with Ruth Maeczech, by writer-director Lee Breuer and videographer Craig Jones.

Founding Company Members included Lee Breuer, JoAnne Akalaitis, Philip Glass, Ruth Maleczech (1939-2013), Fred Neumann (1926-2012),and David Warrilow (1934-1995). Former Company members include: Bill Raymond, Ellen McElduff, L.B. Dallas, B-St. John Schofield (1952–2013), Dawn Gray, Julie Archer, and Honora Fergusson (1936-2012).

Through the years, Mabou Mines has developed original works and re-imagined adaptations of classics through multi-disciplinary, technologically inventive collaborations. Each work is created in an extended development process. Additionally, the Company serves the artistic community by mentoring emerging artists and creating opportunities for strengthening the city’s rich cultural landscape via our longstanding Resident Artists Program, and their performance initiative SUITE/Space.

Mabou Mines production of “Dollhouse,” adapted from Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” by Lee Nreuer and Maude Mitchell, cast included: Nora Helmer: Maude Mitchell, Torvald Helmer: Mark Povinelli, Ricardo Gil: Dr. Rank, Nils Krogstad: Kristopher Medina, Kristine Linde: Honora Fergusson [Original], Kristine Linde: Janet Girardeau [after 5/21/07], Margaret Lancaster: Helene, Understudy: Nic Novicki, Hannah Kritzeck: Emmy Helmer, Anna Maria: Jessica Weinstein

For nearly fifty years, the company’s productions have toured to more than a thousand venues worldwide. New work is shown annually in New York City, and tours nationally and internationally. Mabou Mines’ newly renovated home-base with a ninety-nine seat theater and studio is housed in the 122CC (Community Center) in the East Village.

Mabou Mines production of “Dollhouse,” adapted from Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” by Lee Nreuer and Maude Mitchell

Mabou Mines and Weathervane Productions, in association with Philip Glass’ The Days and Nights Festival, presented a unique celebration of legendary playwright and director María Irene Fornés, featuring the New York premiere of Philip Glass’ transformation of her five-page play, “Drowning,” into an opera and a version of Fornés’ acclaimed, play “Mud.” JoAnne Akalaitis directed the two intimate productions (both with new music composed by Glass).

Maria Irene Fornes

They built upon a recent outpouring of recognition of Fornés’ work that began with an Akalaitis-produced marathon of her plays at the Public Theater in August, 2018 and continued with the acclaimed Theatre for a New Audience production of Fornés’ landmark, “Fefu and Her Friends,”  directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, in the fall of 2019. Earlier versions of the new “Drowning” and “Mud,” were first performed in 2019 at the Circle Theatre in Carmel, CA, as part of the Days and Nights Festival. 

Philip Glass

“Mud”/”Drowning” – presented by Mabou Mines

“Mud” and “Drowning” offered New York audiences an opportunity to experience the work of a singular writer at close range. Akalaitis had explained, “The program is intended to express that world of Irene’s, which is about the terribly poignant and unfulfilled longing for some kind of emotional accomplishment in life that often gets dashed – that’s what both of these pieces are about. We hope this evening offers a glimpse into the range of Irene’s rich theatrical landscape and the heart of an artist who never soothes and continues to astonish.”

 

“Mud”/”Drowning” – presented by Mabou Mines

The “Mud” cast included Giselle LeBleu Gant, Wendy vanden Heuvel, Paul Lazar, and Bruce MacVittie. The “Drowning” cast included Brandon Hynum, Gregory Purnhagen, Peter Stewart – Roe, with Michael A. Ferrara as Music Director and Keyboard, and Lavinia Meijer and Victoria Drake on Harp. Scenic and Costume Design was by Kaye Voyce, and Lighting Design by Thomas Dunn.

In 2019, Mabou Mines also hosted Resident Artists. They included Leonie Bell, Marcella Murray, Hyung Seok Jeon, Sugar Vendil, Dara Malina, Lacy Rose, Hannah Mitchell, Lisa Fagan and Arpita Mukherjee/Hypokrit Theatre Company.

2019 Resident Artists: Leonie Bell, Marcella Murray, Hyung Seok Jeon, Sugar Vendil, Dara Malina, Lacy Rose, Hannah Mitchell, Lisa Fagan, Arpita Mukherjee/Hypokrit Theatre Company

In-Development, Mabou Mines projects include “The Vicksburg Project” conceived

Composer, Eve Beglarian, created in collaboration with Karen Kandel as performer/writer, and Mallory Catlett as director. “The Vicksburg Project” is a staged song cycle of twelve interlocked songs that trace women’s experiences in Vicksburg Mississippi during four different eras: the Civil War 1860’s, the Jim Crow/Great Migration 1910’s, the Civil Rights 1960’s, and the current decade. The piece will be presented in New York as well as in Vicksburg, Mississippi (and other towns in the deep south) and other urban centers around the country.

In Development: “The Vicksburg Project” conceived by composer, Eve Beglarian, created in collaboration with Karen Kandel, performer/writer and Mallory Catlett, director

Another project In-Development is “Distances Smaller Than This Are Not Confirmed,” co-created by David Neumann & Marcella Murray, co-commissioned and co-presented by Abrons Arts Center and The Chocolate Factory.

In Development: “Distances Smaller Than This Are Not Confirmed,” co-creators David Neumann & Marcella Murray

Co-creators David Neumann & Marcella Murray have created a staged conversation of intimate scale on the set of a tv talk show in “In Distances Smaller Than This Are Not Confirmed,” where they explore and unpack their several-years-long ongoing dialogue about race alongside astronomical questions of scale and time. Mirroring the current societal conversation, in all its hubris and wonders, personal stories are shared amongst historical events, scientific uncertainties, live video refuting ideas of scale, and periodic mesmerizing dances. Over-simplification is resisted. Imperfection is a given. Humor is not absent.

Mabou Mines’ ‘On the Road’ offerings have included Horton Foote’s “A Coffin in Egypt,” which pays homage to his muse, writer Katherine Anne Porter, in this haunting testament to the mythic life of a Texan royal. Set in Egypt, Director Lee Breuer stages the story of Myrtle, played by Maude Mitchell, at the door of death with touches of both tragedy and surrealism.

An interactive performance exhibition that utilized visual media and audio designed to promote language preservation and development for the local children in the south of Taiwan is “Flying House/Home installation with design, construction and video by Terry O’Reilly, sound proposal composition and piano by Liping Ting, violin by Ying-hao Lee. The exhibition ran concurrently with Terry O’Reilly’s “Cee and Dee and the Flying House at Soulangh Artist Village, Tainan, Taiwan in 2017-2018.

Inspired by the comic dialogues of the clown characters of Wayang Kulit shadow puppetry and the contentious and playful way that children speak, Terry O’Reilly imagines what birds would say when first they encounter a flying house.

Mabou Mines also presented the 2020 Ruth Malezcech Award to three performing artists: John Kelly, Jennifer Kidwell and Sheila Tousey. The Ruth Maleczech Award (“The Ruthie”) is given to a performer who embodies Ruth’s daring and raw, naked, fearlessness in every performance.

Mabou Mines also presented the 2020 Ruth Malezcech Award to three performing artists: John Kelly, Jennifer Kidwell and Sheila Tousey

The “Ruthie” was created to honor Ruth Maleczech, the beloved artist, performer, director and co-founder of Mabou Mines. She was an inspiration, a mentor and a role model for countless artists, (and we were honored to have an interview with her in “The Soul of the American Actor” Newspaper).

John Kelly’s character-based performance works focus on the struggles encountered by artists and social outsiders. As writer, director and performer, he has embodied subjects ranging from the expressionist artist Egon Schiele, the cross-dressing aerialist Barbette, Orpheus, and Joni Mitchell. Other works have explored the AIDS pandemic, the Berlin Wall, and the Troubadours. Over the course of a career that has spanned thirty-five years, Kelly has received multiple awards and fellowships. His most recent dance theatre work, “Underneath The Skin, is based on the life of gay novelist and tattoo artist Samuel Steward, premiering at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in October, 2019, and will receive a 3-week run at La MaMa during 2021. Kelly is also a visual artist and recently completed his first graphic novel, A Friend Gave Me A Book.

Jennifer Kidwell is a performing artist. Her recent projects include “Underground Railroad Game” (2017 Obie Award for Best New American Theatre Work; 2018 Edinburgh Fringe First Award; Lucille Lortel, Helen Hayes nominations), Adrienne Truscott’s “Still Asking for It” (Joe’s Pub), “Home” (Geoff Sobelle, Bessie Award for Outstanding Production), “Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed” (Dan Hurlin), “I Understand Everything Better” (David Neumann/advanced beginner group, Bessie Award for Outstanding Production), “Antigone” (The Wilma Theater), “A Hard Time,” “Superterranean” and “Zinnias: the Life of Clementine Hunter” (Robert Wilson/Toshi Reagon/Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon). Company member PITC and Lightning Rod Special, Wilma Theater Associated Artist, co-founder of JACK. Her writing has been published in movement research Performance Journal.

Sheila Tousey is a writer, actress, director with numerous film, television and theater credits to her name including appearances in Signature Theater and Magic Theater’s “Late Henry Moss” by Sam Shepard; Marie in Joanne Akalaitis’ “Woyzcek” at the Public Theater and at the Guthrie Theater in Marsha Norman’s adaptation of Louise Erdrich’s “Master Butchers Singing Club.”  She was a Drama Desk Nominee for acting and has had several residencies and fellowships throughout her career including Yale, The Public and the Sundance Theater Lab. She is a company member at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and in March, before the production was suspended because of the global health crisis, had just opened, “Bring Down The House Parts 1 and 2” (Shakespeare’s Henry VI Trilogy) with an all-female and non-binary cast, adapted by Rosa Joshi and Kate Wisniewski and directed by Rosa Joshi.

For info: Mabou Mines Development Foundation, Inc. P.O. Box 777, Peter Stuyvesant Station, New York, NY 10009, (212) 473-0559, info@maboumines.org

 


"It is a law of life that man cannot live for himself alone. Extreme individualism is insanity. The world's problems are also our personal problems. Health is achieved through maintaining our personal truth in a balanced relation of love to the rest of the world. No expression is more emblematic of this relation than the creative act which we call art. No art by its very constitution typifies the social nature of that creative act more than the theatre. The theatre, to be fully understood and appreciated, must be seen as a manifestation of this process of interchange between society and the individual. It must be judged as a continuous development of groups of individuals within society, a development which becomes richer, acquires greater force and value as it grows with the society in which it originates. Only in this way can the theatre nourish us.  - Harold Clurman

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