Where are you from? What schools have you attended?
I was born in Brookfield, Wisconsin, but I only lived there until I was five years old. I've moved a lot in my life, so I have lived in Texas (multiple times), Illinois (multiple times), Minnesota, New York, and California. I earned my B.A. in Theatre Arts from Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota, and my M.F.A. in Acting from the Actors Studio Drama School in NYC. I am currently finishing my Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Fine Arts at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.
What is your past/current research?
Over the course of my career, I have done quite a bit of work researching "forgotten" women in American theatre, such as Cheryl Crawford, an independent Broadway producer and founder of the Actors Studio, Marguerite Zorach, a visual artist who designed for the Provincetown Players, and Susanna Haswell Rowson, who is sometimes referred to as "the mother of the American musical." However, I am currently A.B.D. (All But Dissertation), so my most recent research has been in support of my dissertation, "Mediatizing the 'Madwoman': An Analysis of the Treatment of Female Mental Illness on Stage and Screen."
How long have you been teaching in the ACC Drama Department and what classes have you taught?
I began teaching as an adjunct at ACC in the Fall of 2016. I have primarily taught Introduction to Theatre courses, mostly in the Early College High School programs.
Why did you decide to pursue directing as a profession? What kind of material are you drawn to?
I got into theatre kind of backwards. I was a band nerd (a drummer) in high school, and I started playing percussion in the pit band in the musicals we did. I was also on speech team, so some of the drama kids were my friends, and I just kind of started hanging around at rehearsals. I was always interested in the
- in how decisions were made and how things got done. Pretty soon, I began stage managing and then assistant directing. By my second year of my undergraduate degree, I felt pretty confident that I wanted to be a director. After my junior year, I did a directing apprenticeship with New York Stage and Film through the Powerhouse program at Vassar College. That pretty much sealed the deal!
I am typically drawn to plays that ask questions or pose problems. I want the theatre I create to inspire ongoing conversations. I tend to like shows that are not easily defined - not strictly comedy or tragedy - plays that seem to be relatively traditional in form on the surface, but then subvert expectations in some way. My favorite plays often feature strong female voices and intimate ensembles.
Why did you choose to direct Lisa Kron’s Well for ACC Drama’s spring 2019 production?
I first read
a few years ago, when a friend of mine directed it. I knew of Lisa Kron through her writing in
, of course, and to some degree through her decades-old work with the Five Lesbian Brothers. But I had never come across
before. I did not get a chance to see my friend's production, but I loved the script, so I added it to my ever-growing "to-direct" bucket list.
When Perry Crafton asked me whether I would be interested in directing this spring, we had a long conversation about the department's goals, potential benefits for student learning opportunities, and more. I came back with a handful of options,
is such an interesting piece of theatre. It has
of the qualities that I find so interesting - it tackles some big questions, it subverts expectations, it has strong female voices and an intimate ensemble, and it is definitely difficult, if not impossible, to define.
You recently directed productions of
In the Next Room, or the vibrator play
at Southwestern University and
Little Women:The Broadway Musical
at Texas Tech. What is it like coming in as a guest director and getting the opportunity to work with their undergraduates?
Coming into a program or company where you are a sort of unknown entity is always an interesting experience. At Southwestern, I felt really welcomed and embraced. At first, I did not know anyone there. But the faculty operate at such a professional level, and they clearly lead by example. They are working artists and scholars, and they hold their students to high expectations. So when I came in, I was treated as a colleague immediately, and the students gave me their trust and respect very quickly. With a show like that in particular, trust is so vital. We were really able to dig deep and explore. Across the board, the students were really open to working with me both as a director and, in a way, as a teacher. And we had a lot of fun along the way! It made for a wonderful experience.
Texas Tech was a little bit different because, even though I had been gone for a few years, I knew and had worked directly with most of the faculty there. However, the B.F.A. in musical theatre is a new program at Tech, which had started after I left, and most of the cast was drawn from that program. So I hardly knew any of the students! Also, at Tech you're working with both graduate and undergraduate students as actors, designers, and production team members. So the levels of experience and education can vary greatly. But in some ways, I think that mix is part of the joy! It's really important to keep the balance of process and product in mind.
Every production is a learning experience, of course, but knowing that you're working in educational theatre where everyone is at a different level working to hone their craft while simultaneously collaborating to create an outstanding production is such a privilege!