Directing Portfolio

 

Scroll through the gallery below to see featured content from past productions I’ve directed. For more information on my directing, assistant directing and dramaturgy experience, please contact me

 

 

A Mouthful Of Birds

By: Caryl Churchill & David Lan
“Jewels Three” Miller Studio, Boston University | May 2019

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Central Organizing Intent:

To find an internal balance between our most primal, base instincts and the external pressures of societal rigidity. What happens when the boundary between chaos and order is paper thin?

 
The ensemble explodes into an abstracted night club as Yvonne takes her first swig of gin. The party becomes more and more unnatural as she continues to drink, manipulating her into increasingly dangerous situations until she ends up alone on stage, vomiting up the alcohol.

The ensemble explodes into an abstracted night club as Yvonne takes her first swig of gin. The party becomes more and more unnatural as she continues to drink, manipulating her into increasingly dangerous situations until she ends up alone on stage, vomiting up the alcohol.

Playing “the pig” actress Maggie Markham pokes her way into a business meeting. The ensuing love scene between her and one of the business men represents the decay of accepted rationality as “they dance tenderly, joyfully, dangerously”

Playing “the pig” actress Maggie Markham pokes her way into a business meeting. The ensuing love scene between her and one of the business men represents the decay of accepted rationality as “they dance tenderly, joyfully, dangerously”

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- Cast -

 

Hannah Bebe

Kendra Jain

Maggie Markham

Jackie Collet

Sam Theobald

Ryan Gold

Deanna Drennen

Julian Shapiro-Barnum

Tatiana Jackson

Oreine Robinson

Aida Neitenbach

 
Actress Aida Neitenbach,  center , portrays a white upper class spirit who slowly fights to take over the mind of Marcia, a Trinidadian spirit medium, played by Tatiana Jackson,  right.

Actress Aida Neitenbach, center, portrays a white upper class spirit who slowly fights to take over the mind of Marcia, a Trinidadian spirit medium, played by Tatiana Jackson, right.

Actors Maggie Markham and Julian Shapiro-Barnum come together for a moment in a larger dance piece. In this scene they represent the two halves of one individual torn apart by their gender identity.

Actors Maggie Markham and Julian Shapiro-Barnum come together for a moment in a larger dance piece. In this scene they represent the two halves of one individual torn apart by their gender identity.

Lena, (Deanna Drennen) fights off the physical manifestation of her postpartum psychosis, smiling cheerily at her husband as the spirit tells her to kill her baby.

Lena, (Deanna Drennen) fights off the physical manifestation of her postpartum psychosis, smiling cheerily at her husband as the spirit tells her to kill her baby.

DIRECTORS NOTE

Mouthful of Birds is a fight for balance between morality and primality. Through mediums of dance, poetry, and spectacle, the play follows the journey of seven individuals through what Churchill calls “an undefended day” where the air outside of ourselves is as violent as our inner state. The play is a loose adaptation of The Bacchae by Euripides and by throwing ancient themes of Dionysian volatility and Apollonian rigidity into our modern world, Churchill and Lan unearth gristly questions about human nature and desire. Mouthful of Birds asks what happens when our most primitive methods of survival are thrown into battle with modern societal structures and oppression. Much like The Bacchae, the play demands an internal balance between these forces—else, we risk self-destruction, descent into violent madness, and a soul either unbridled entirely, or stifled and snuffed out.

Creative Team

Movement Direction: Maggie Markham

Stage Management: Emma cavage

Assistant State Management: Rachel Hoy

Scenic design: Danielle DeLaFuente

Sound Design: Jennie Gorn

Costume Design: francesca Padilla

Assistant Costume design: Danielle Bazan

Lighting Design: Jonas Hayes and Angus Goodearl

DramatuRg: Emma Roth

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26 pebbles

by: Eric Ulloa | “Jewels two” Miller Studio, Boston University | August 2018

Actress Lucy Rydell takes in the horrific tragedy that has just rocked the small community of Newtown, Connecticut. Behind her, actors are frozen in prayer, embodying a fragment of memory as she asks: “How did this happen to us? And the magnitude of every flag in the nation at half-staff for Newtown. What? What just happened here?”

Actress Lucy Rydell takes in the horrific tragedy that has just rocked the small community of Newtown, Connecticut. Behind her, actors are frozen in prayer, embodying a fragment of memory as she asks: “How did this happen to us? And the magnitude of every flag in the nation at half-staff for Newtown. What? What just happened here?”

 

Central organizing intent

To dim the lights on the sensational in order to churn up the incredible power of community, love and a mutual bearing up of a seemingly impossible weight

 
Actress Oreine Robinson reflects on the difference between how the world dealt with the tragedy at Sandy Hook versus gun violence in inner cities.  “Then you think how many kids die in Chicago every year to probably pretty poor moms. You know what I mean? And how they grow up with this violence and then nobody does anything for those parents. “

Actress Oreine Robinson reflects on the difference between how the world dealt with the tragedy at Sandy Hook versus gun violence in inner cities.

“Then you think how many kids die in Chicago every year to probably pretty poor moms. You know what I mean? And how they grow up with this violence and then nobody does anything for those parents. “

Cast

Oreine Robertson: Jenn, Carla

Alex Hatcher: Darren, Michael, Father Weiss, Bill

Dillon McGuire: Joe, Chris, Rabbi Praver, Mike

Aida Neitenbach: Carrie, Kat, Georgia

Sarah Hirsch: Sally, Yolie, Jeriann

Lucy Rydell: Cathy, Julie, Starr

The community is bombarded with headlines, news reports and breaking news banners immediately after the shooting. Our projection designer, Jonas Hayes, created a projection sequence that played on the actors. It was paired with deafening and overlapping sound from various news clips designed by Kirk Ruby.

The community is bombarded with headlines, news reports and breaking news banners immediately after the shooting. Our projection designer, Jonas Hayes, created a projection sequence that played on the actors. It was paired with deafening and overlapping sound from various news clips designed by Kirk Ruby.

Creative Team

Stage Manager: Jackie Collet

Scenic Design: Saskia Martinez

Lighting Design: Hannah Solomon

Multimedia Design: Jonas Hayes

Sound Design: Kirk Ruby

Photography: Mark Fortunato & kayce kvacek

 
 

DIRECTORS NOTE

“How did this happen to us?”

It echoes around the room with such an ache of “why?”-- Why Newtown? Why Sandy Hook? Why 6 year old children? There’s an incomprehensible grief that beats in the heart of this play and the question it begs feels impossible to answer. How does a town move on from the senseless murder of twenty elementary schoolers? Is healing possible when the wound has been ripped so wide?

On December 14th, 2012 the nation and the world watched in horror as the tally of the dead steadily increased. When the fog of panic and confusion had lifted away we were handed the cold facts that 26 children and faculty had lost their lives at the hands of one 20 year old boy.

Now six years and over 1,300 mass shootings later, there has not been a single piece of comprehensive national legislature pass through congress to reform the way we buy and sell guns. Looking back at this tragedy from our current cultural and political moment, it is hard to say anything other than we failed these families.

But that is not what this play is about.

This play is not about a shooting. Or gun control. Or the NRA. It is not a political call to action or a calculated grab at audience heart strings. This is a play about a community and how they rebuilt their world. As the quote in the beginning of the play states, it is about learning how to light a candle rather than sitting and cursing the darkness. Playwright Eric Ulloa, after conducting over sixty interviews with community members of the town, formed a play using their words to share their story. In doing this, we are able to dim the lights on the sensational, redirect the media spotlight, and truly see the overwhelming power of love and community. In the words of one of the six year old survivors of the attack, “Every day there are shadows, but every day there is also light too.” In watching this play, I ask you to uncover the multi-layered levels of compartmentalization we have all had to embrace to endure the daily barrage of tragic news coverage and honor the lives of those lost. It is one small drop in a pond, but as Yolie says in the play “the ripples, the vibrations… it just emanates out. It’s life. This stuff spreads.

 
After a difficult scene walking audiences through the events of December 14th, the actors take a moment to write the names of all the victims on the back wall of the theatre. The names remain there for the rest of the play.

After a difficult scene walking audiences through the events of December 14th, the actors take a moment to write the names of all the victims on the back wall of the theatre. The names remain there for the rest of the play.


‘26 Pebbles,’ named after the ripple effect the lives lost had on victims’ loved ones and strangers alike, evoked unsettling emotions in the audience. The actors’ portrayals instilled horror and sadness but also empathy for the gunman and even laughter as the townspeople discuss the hundreds of thousands of teddy bears that people from all over the world sent to Newtown.
— Kate Thrane, DAILY FREE PRESS

The actors gather in a town hall to discuss Adam Lanza. The moment centers around a difficult discussion of whether we must subtract the perpetrator from our grief in order to heal and move on, or if that subtraction in itself is part of the problem. In the end, we chose to have Rabbi Praver, played by actor Dillon McGuire, write the names of Adam and his mother by the memorial wall in a desperate attempt to “be together.” This moment is immediately followed by Joe, a former art teacher at Sandy Hook who is also played by McGuire, angrily discussing how the town needs to forget them. At the height of his monologue, he goes to the wall and smears Nancy and Adam Lanza’s names. In doing this we hoped to echo the sentiment of the town hall, where certain community members attested that there were 28 victims that day and that the town was responsible for letting Adam “fall through the cracks”, while also honoring the plays title and acknowledging the deeply complicated nature of morality and the human spirit.

The actors gather in a town hall to discuss Adam Lanza. The moment centers around a difficult discussion of whether we must subtract the perpetrator from our grief in order to heal and move on, or if that subtraction in itself is part of the problem. In the end, we chose to have Rabbi Praver, played by actor Dillon McGuire, write the names of Adam and his mother by the memorial wall in a desperate attempt to “be together.” This moment is immediately followed by Joe, a former art teacher at Sandy Hook who is also played by McGuire, angrily discussing how the town needs to forget them. At the height of his monologue, he goes to the wall and smears Nancy and Adam Lanza’s names. In doing this we hoped to echo the sentiment of the town hall, where certain community members attested that there were 28 victims that day and that the town was responsible for letting Adam “fall through the cracks”, while also honoring the plays title and acknowledging the deeply complicated nature of morality and the human spirit.

 

 

The great god pan

By: Amy Herzog | “Jewels Two” Miller Studio, Boston University | December 2017

In a cheerless reunion between old childhood friends, Frank, right, played by Jules Tanner, carefully relays the information that his father is on trial for molesting him as a child. He suspects that Jamie, left, played by Brendan Gilhooly, may also have been another victim of his father and presses him to consider the possibility.

In a cheerless reunion between old childhood friends, Frank, right, played by Jules Tanner, carefully relays the information that his father is on trial for molesting him as a child. He suspects that Jamie, left, played by Brendan Gilhooly, may also have been another victim of his father and presses him to consider the possibility.

 

Central organizing intent

To look into our memory and face the demons that hide there in order to strip away the false comfort of denial.

 
Paige (Michelle Moriarty) and Frank (Brendan Gilhooly) laugh together over a shared joke. In a play with such heavy material, moments of light like this one were critical to find and highlight during the rehearsal process.

Paige (Michelle Moriarty) and Frank (Brendan Gilhooly) laugh together over a shared joke. In a play with such heavy material, moments of light like this one were critical to find and highlight during the rehearsal process.

Cast

Jamie: Brendan Gilhooly

Frank: Jules Tanner

Paige: Michelle Moriarty

Cathy: Lucy Rydell

Donna: Jasmine Brooks

Polly: Annalise Cain

Creative Team

Stage Manager: Jolie Frazer

Assistant Stage Manager: Mia Moshier

Lighting design: Mark fortunato

scenic design: katey christianson


 

Directors Note

Can a memory be forgotten and then remembered? Can a “memory” be suggested and then remembered as true? As an inherently difficult field to study and measure, the science and psychology around memory remains inconclusive at best. Several prominent theories of posttraumatic stress disorder posit that dissociation from a traumatic experience can result in insufficient encoding of a memory--the memory is not forgotten but rather never created in the first place. This then begs the question: if a memory has never existed for an individual, does the trauma still exist? Then to further complicate the puzzle, how does accountability of the perpetrator come into play? How can something like this be handled in a legal sense when the key witness has never had a memory of the event happening ?

Herzog takes up these questions and breathes them to life in Jamie. As he reaches for concrete answers to an unanswerable question, we are forced to wonder if he would have been better off simply left in the dark. How does our perception of ourselves change based on a label of “victim” or “survivor”--and if you don’t remember it in the first place, does it even matter to begin with?

(top) Cathy, played by Lucy Rydell, takes in the news that her son might have been molested by their family friend.  (bottom left) Jasmine Brooks portrays the role of Donna. Originally a male father character named “Doug”, our production made the decision to cast a woman in order to further isolate Jamie’s struggle with his own masculinity. Doing this also revealed an interesting reversal of a traditional sexual assault story. Though Jamie is the main character, he has very little agency in his own life. As he runs from one female resource to another, it is the women who consistently turn a deaf and disbelieving ear to his story.  (bottom right) Jamie fights with his girlfriend, Paige. As she questions him about the assault, he explodes at her, attacking her in deeply personal ways.

(top) Cathy, played by Lucy Rydell, takes in the news that her son might have been molested by their family friend.

(bottom left) Jasmine Brooks portrays the role of Donna. Originally a male father character named “Doug”, our production made the decision to cast a woman in order to further isolate Jamie’s struggle with his own masculinity. Doing this also revealed an interesting reversal of a traditional sexual assault story. Though Jamie is the main character, he has very little agency in his own life. As he runs from one female resource to another, it is the women who consistently turn a deaf and disbelieving ear to his story.

(bottom right) Jamie fights with his girlfriend, Paige. As she questions him about the assault, he explodes at her, attacking her in deeply personal ways.


ASSISTANT DIRECTING AND DRAMATUGRY


 

Our Country’s Good

 

By: Timberlake Wertenbaker | Directed By: Judy Braha | Boston University Studio One Mainstage | December 2018

Sideways, ( right ) played by actress Sarah Hirsch, dramatically performs the lines he has memorized in the first rehearsal for “The Recruiting Officer.” The director of this play-within-a-play, Ralph Clark  (center),  played by Julian Manjerico, looks on in horror.

Sideways, (right) played by actress Sarah Hirsch, dramatically performs the lines he has memorized in the first rehearsal for “The Recruiting Officer.” The director of this play-within-a-play, Ralph Clark (center), played by Julian Manjerico, looks on in horror.

My role within this project:

As assistant director, I worked with director Judy Braha with scene work, character development, actor physicality and dialects. After initial staging had been completed, I ran a second rehearsal room to polish scenes and work with actors. Through the whole process I served as an organizational arm, helping keep this large production’s many moving parts streamlined and efficient.

As dramaturg, I created an in depth online resource for the cast and creative team breaking down the complex history behind this based-on-a-true-story play. I also built a pre-show dramaturgy display, boiling down my research to the most essential elements and then arranging the information clearly and succinctly.

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Cast

Captain Artur Phillip / John Wisehammer: Conrad Sunqvist-Olmos

Major Robbie Ross / Ketch Freeman: Jack Lavey

Captain David Collins / Dabby Bryant: Kendra Jain

Captain Watkin Tench / Robert Sideway: Sarah Hirsch

Captain Jemmy Campbell / John Arscott: Ransom Silliman

Reverend Johnson / Black Caesar / AborigineE: Christian Scales

Duckling Smith / Lieutenant George Johnston: Savannah Jooste

Liz Morden / Lieutenant Will Dawes: Claudia Watanabe

2nd Lieutenant Ralph Clark: Julian Majerico

Harry Brewer / 2nd Lieutenant William Faddy: Chris Rielly

Mary Brenham / Meg Long: Aida Neitenbach

Creative Team

Scenic Designer: Marina Sartori

Assistant Scenic Designer: Kayla Williams

Lighting Designer: Kat Zhou

Assistant Lighting Designer: Danielle Elegy

Sound Designer: Feitong Wang & Kirk Ruby

Costume Designer: Zane Kealey

Assistant Costume Designer: Katrina Ibasco

Production Manager: Stephanie Elrod

Stage Manager: Una Rafferty

Production Assistants: Angus Goodrearl & Grace Saathoff

Technical Director: Maria Pingerra

Assistant Technical Director: Mia Moshier

Props Master: Sam Galvao

Paint Charge: Saskia Martinez

Master Electrician: Devin Sullivan

Audio Supervisor: Angelica Alvarez

Photography: Natasha Moustache

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