What’s your deal? Who are you and what’s your story?

I am a lifelong theater nerd from Ohio who is lucky enough to freelance direct in places like beautiful Maine. Since I was a little kid I have directed, acted in, and produced plays for all ages. I grew into my artistic shoes while living in San Francisco. Then I attended grad school at the University of Iowa, where I took a break from Shakespeare and focused on new plays (and living writers!). I continue to do both new and classic works, as well as teach theater to students. I’ve made theater in about 12 different states now and I love getting to know audiences in all corners of our country. When I’m not making plays, I like to hike trails on far-away mountains, visit new cultures, scuba dive in clear oceans, and drink good wine.

What most excites you about in taking on this design/directing opportunity at TAM?

I am most excited to work with the talented Dawn McAndrews, whose theatrical career I have long admired, in this very unique space (it looks like a castle in the woods!). Her programming and dedication to Monmouth is clearly having an impact and I am thrilled to be involved this summer. The history and charm of Cumston Hall is very exciting, too, because the venue affects the process of shaping the play. I keep a picture of the theater in my mind as I am doing my pre-production work and thinking through staging. We have set the play about ten years prior to when the building was completed (1900), so it feels like the perfect place for this show.

Why Shakespeare?

His work is enduring. There have been countless productions of Twelfth Night, and yet we are still enchanted by it. How could we not be? There are themes of love and loss, of courage and wit, of hilarity and shame. These ideas are ever present in our lives, and I have been attracted to his storytelling since high school. Some people may struggle with the language, which is understandable, but if we focus on the characters and their journey, then we follow the play through all the valleys and peaks that Shakespeare intended an audience to wander through. It’s magical to think that for over four hundred years, audiences have been enjoying the same plays. It ties us to the past in a very unique way.

Who is your role model, and why?

Currently, it’s Pink. She is wickedly talented, has incredible empathy, and I love her full body commitment to performance. She owns who she is, does not apologize for herself, and is generally a bad-ass. I haven’t seen her in concert yet, but I am a big fan of her music and videos. I want to be her when I grow up.

You can have dinner with any three powerful women in history. Who would you choose and why?

Queen Elizabeth I, because she was probably the most powerful female leader in western society. She had so much influence during a tumultuous period in England’s history. She didn’t give in to the pressure to marry or have children to produce an heir, she loved the arts, and I think we’d get along nicely.

Frida Kahlo, because her artistic-self mingles so strongly with her public-self. I admire her individuality. She was socially progressive, civically minded, and outspoken in her politics. I would ask her about using social media for change, because if she were alive, she’d have a very active Twitter account.

Eleanor Roosevelt, because she was such an advocate for diplomacy, human rights, and refugees. She defined what a First Lady could be and was an activist for the poor and oppressed. She was the first US delegate to the United Nations and she cared deeply about justice for all. I would love to ask her about her strategies for change.

What is your super power?

My voracious curiosity. I ask a lot of questions and like to do research. I care about history and how it affects the present.

Describe yourself in three alliterative words.