I have over 25 years of experience in theater, as an actor, writer, director, lighting designer, stage manager and teacher.
After surviving my teens as a poet and punk rocker in a conservative Illinois hometown, I discovered my tribe in the film department of Columbia College, Chicago. Later focusing my degree in lighting for film, photography, stage and architecture, I wandered into theater long before I recognized it as a career. I relocated to Portland, Oregon, worked for several years as a stage manager and lighting designer, and later developed my skills as an actor. During that time, I was mostly connected with Stark Raving Theater and Sowelu Theater Ensemble, studying acting with Sowelu’s Artistic Director, Barry Hunt.
In 2001, I became a candidate for an MFA in acting at the UC Davis Department of Theater and Dance, where I taught Introduction to Acting, performed in several plays and participated in an inspiring Viewpoints workshop, taught by the incredible Anne Bogart herself. For my thesis, I performed The Fever, by Wallace Shawn, a solo show directed by Shannon Rose Riley. Afterwards, I took The Fever on the road to multiple venues in Washington, Oregon and Illinois, where I returned with my family to live.
After my time in Davis, I became enveloped in the act of raising children. While this made maintaining a career in the greater theater community next to impossible for a while, it allowed me to turn my focus inward to my personal world as an artist. I continued writing, which has always been my constant, and I founded a collaboration with three other mother-performers to create the original performance, carrying/holding. My essay on the process, Now Showing, was published in Motherverse Magazine in 2008.
Back in Portland since 2010, I have been working with an improv group, Saying Yes!, in a weekly practice based on the teachings of Scott Kelman, who was a performer and director in New York and Los Angeles before moving to Portland in the 1990’s. Although sometimes hilarious, our work is quite different from comedic improv. It’s rooted in a more body-centered style of expression, not based on characters, scenes, or situations. We have used the techniques in more character-based productions, however, including in my original play, please/disturb, which we staged at Hipbone Studio in Portland. I later produced please/disturb with Alexander Lumiere of Sudden Radio Project as an audio broadcast for KBOO Radio. In November 2015, our improv group performed No Reservations, an original play written by Michael Gust and directed by Rachel Heichen.
In addition to writing original pieces for plays, I have been a poet, grant-writer and two-time successful winner of the National Novel Writing Month badge of honor (not judged, but rewarded). I am a multimedia artist, and both the author and designer of this website.