2009 Performers

2009 ARTISTS

DREW THE DRAMATIC FOOL (Drew Richardson)

Drew the Dramatic Fool reinvents the ancient art of brilliant bumbling. Inspired by a thousands-of-years old tradition of royal jesters, vaudeville eccentrics, silent film comedians, animated cartoons, theatrical clowns, absurd theatre, and imperfect humans everywhere, Drew offers high-stakes amusement desperately demanded by today‘s audiences, giving them laughter built on a range of human emotions, from joy to fear to despair and back to joy again.

Youth
As a youngster, Drew began performing magic and juggling to compensate for his shyness. Now he plays the fool to take advantage of his increasing baldness.

Training
Drew’s life-long personal tension between drama and foolishness gelled while studying Theatrical Clowning with John Towsen 25 years ago at Ohio University, where Drew received a B.F.A. in Theatre. He continued his studies in physical theatre with Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Since then, Drew has sought out numerous learning opportunities by taking workshops with master teachers in Commedia dell’Arte, clown, improv, movement, mask, circus skills, and puppetry.

Stage Solos
Drew the Dramatic Fool has performed his solo stage shows in theaters and festivals all over the United States and abroad, from Austin to Austria. Drew has created five one-man shows including The Psychology of Clumsiness (twice picked as “Critic’s Choice” by The Chicago Reader) and the current “Help! Help! I Know This Title Is Long, But Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me!” directed by Avner Eisenberg (Broadway’s “Avner the Eccentric”).

Devised Theatre
Drew has been involved in ensemble created theatre and performance pieces as an actor/ creator in groups such as Brazen Theatre (Madison, WI), 89 Fighters (Philadelphia, PA),The Clownarchists (Chicago, IL), and Night at the Fights (Chicago). Drew has also toured with Squonk Opera and The Daredevil Opera Company.

Filmmaking
Drew is best known as the first person in the 21st century to have new silent movies shown in major motion picture theaters across the United States (“If Drew Richardson was born 100 years ago, there’s a good chance he’d be a household name today.”—DVDTalk.com). Drew’s first short silent moving picture, The Guy Who Lived on a Chair, was screened at The Chicago Short Comedy Video and Film Festival, Pittsburgh Film Kitchen, and The Silent Film Society of Chicago. His Theatre Etiquette 101 movies are currently being shown in various performing arts centers.

Teaching and Residencies
Drew has taught classes and workshops in physical theatre for colleges, universities, conferences, and theater companies. Drew has been a guest teaching artist at such institutions as Point Park Conservatory, the University of Michigan, Roosevelt University, Columbia College, and The Art Institute of Chicago; Drew also taught “Improvising Physical Comedy” at The Big Stinkin’ Improv Festival in Austin, Texas, and “Creating Visual Comedy” at MotionFest in Baltimore. In Chicago, he served as clown consultant/instructor for 500 Clown Macbeth, Strawdog Theatre, and Powertap Productions/Next Theatre Lab.

Drew served as Artist in Residence for the Chicago Park District and Free Street Theatre, where he combined circus skills, movement, and poetry writing to create performances with atrisk youths. At Little City Foundation in Palatine, Illinois, he worked with residents with mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. He also taught medical students at Northwestern University where to find their funny bones and how to use humor as a healing tool. Most recently, Drew collaborated with high school students in Virginia and Maryland to make their own silent movies.

“If Teller of ‘Penn & Teller’ had ever become pregnant by Harpo Marx, Drew Richardson would be the one to arrive out of that strange scientific amalgamation.” —Film Threat

WANT TO KNOW MORE? Visit www.dramaticfool.com

•To watch a clip of the show or one of Drew’s short silent movies click HERE

•Read Drew’s blog at ThinkFoolishly.com

 

DAVID FERNEY

has performed in over 20 countries around the world as a member of the comic acrobatic street theatre troupe, Los Payasos Mendigos and as a current company member the Dell’Arte Company of Blue Lake, CA.  Performing credits with the Dell’Arte Company include Tartuffe, Malpractice, Road Not Taken, The Bacchae, Original Instructions, Journey of the Ten Moons, Slapstick, Out of the Frying Pan and Wildcard. Ferney is best known for his outlandish comic characters which are influenced by his work in clown theatre, commedia dell’arte and mask performance.  As a graduate of the Dell’Arte School of Physical Theatre David has studied physical performance styles as well studying shadow puppetry and mask carving in Bali.

Ferney is a company member and co­founder of Four on the Floor Theatre Ensemble, a community based theatre company that creates spectacle pageants using giant puppets, stilt walkers and fire performers, as well as producing and presenting original work at the Arcata Playhouse, an exciting new space in Arcata, CA where The Misunderstood Badger is premiering in April. Earlier this year Ferney opened Crawdaddy’s Odditorium. Set in the 1930s Depression era and centered around a traveling freak show. The piece explored the discrimination, individuality, and the sensationalism of the bizarre within the internal relationships of a family of performers, all of whom have physical oddities.

Regional credits inlculde Red Noses at San Diego Repertory Theatre and David Rabe’s Streamers at the Full Circle Theatre Collective of San Francisco.

 

NICK TROTTER

has been active in music and theatre since childhood. At the Dell’Arte School, Nick specialized in Clown, Bouffon, and Commedia, and was one of the school’s noted mask and prosthetic designers. Before attending Dell’Arte, he lived in New York City and performed extensively with the theatre/music group Bonejesters, which he co-founded with David Leicht. Their original show Bonejesters was performed at La MaMa. Their adaptation of Gogol’s The Nose was alos performed in NYC at HERE Arts Center. Other original repertory included Round and Obscurity Knocks. As a musician, he has performed as a solo singer/songwriter and as a guitar accompanist for National Champion mandolinist Charlie Provenza; as guitarist with the Celtic trio The Crooked Road; and as a member of the Brazilian percussion ensemble Maracatu New York. As his clown Ferdinand the Magnificent, he toured Chiapas, Mexico in January 2008 with Rudi Galindo and Clowns Without Borders. He has worked extensively with Four on the Floor/The Arcata Playhouse on their outdoor spectacle Elemental, as a clown, musician, composer and shadow puppeteer, performing in Blue Lake, Cloverdale and Pender Island, British Columbia.

 

THE METTAWEE RIVER THEATRE COMPANY

The Mettawee River Theatre Company, founded in 1975, creates original theater productions which incorporate masks, giant figures, puppets and other visual elements with live music, movement and text, drawing on myths, legends and folklore of the world’s many cultures for its material. The company is committed to bringing theater to people who have little or no access to live professional theater. Each year Mettawee presents outdoor performances in rural communities of upstate New York and New England as well as performing in the New York City area. For more information visit http://www.mettawee.org

 

RALPH LEE

Ralph Lee first created puppets as a child growing up in Middlebury, Vermont. He graduated from Amherst College in 1957, and studied dance and theater in Europe for two years on a Fulbright Scholarship. Upon returning to the United States, Lee acted on Broadway, off-Broadway, in regional theaters and with the Open Theatre. During that period he started creating masks, unusual props, puppets and larger-than-life figures for theater and dance companies, including the New York Shakespeare Festival, Lincoln Center Repertory Theatre, the Living Theatre, the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, Shari Lewis and Saturday Night Live (he created the Land Shark).

In 1974, while teaching at Bennington College, Ralph Lee staged his first outdoor production, which took place all over the college campus, and featured giant puppets and masked creatures. That same year he organized the first Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, which he directed through 1985. For his work on the parade Mr. Lee received a 1975 Village Voice OBIE Award, a 1985 Citation from the Municipal Arts Society, and in 1993 he was inducted into the CityLore People’s Hall of Fame.

In 1976 Ralph Lee became Artistic Director of the Mettawee River Theatre Company, which has been a center of his creative activity ever since. Mettawee’s productions are based on creation myths, trickster tales, Sufi stories, legends and folklore from the world’s many cultures. In addition to annual tours to rural communities, Mettawee has presented Ralph Lee’s work at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the New York Botanical Garden, Provincetown Playhouse, the Henson Foundation’s International Festival of Puppet Theater, La MaMa E.T.C., INTAR, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Central Park Summerstage, The Bowery Poetry Club, and many other locations.

Ralph Lee is the recipient of a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship in Drama. Two of Ralph Lee’s Mettawee productions have been honored with American Theatre Wing Design Awards: The Popol Vuh in 1995 and Wichikapache Goes Walking in 1992. Under Mr. Lee’s direction, Mettawee has also received a 1991 Village Voice OBIE Award and two Citations for Excellence from UNIMA, the international puppetry organization. Additional awards to Mr. Lee include a 1996 Dance Theatre Workshop Bessie Award for “sustained achievement as a mask maker and theatre designer without equal” and a 1996 New York State Governor’s Arts Award in recognition of his many contributions to the artistic and cultural life of New York State. In 1999 Ralph received an award for “excellence in theater” from the New England Theater Conference.

Since 1989 Ralph Lee has made annual trips to San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, to develop plays and a performing ensemble with the Mayan writers group Sna Jtz’ Ibajom. He is an artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, where he has staged special events with masks and giant puppets since 1984. In addition, he has produced parades and pageants featuring his giant figures for celebrations in Central Park, the Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Garden, the Ringling Museums in Sarasota, Florida and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, Connecticut.

From February through May, 1998, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center presented a retrospective exhibition of Ralph Lee’s work that attracted record-breaking crowds to the gallery. As part of the Henson Foundation’s International Festival of Puppet Theater, the Children’s Museum of the Arts featured an exhibition entitled “The Masks and Magic of Ralph Lee” in September, 1998. During 2000 there were three exhibits in New York City featuring creations designed by Ralph Lee for Mettawee productions. Masks and puppets from THE WOMAN WHO FELL FROM THE SKY were on exhibit in the ambulatory of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; an array of giant figures were display in the Courtyard Gallery of the World Financial Center, and an exhibit of sketches and models were in the gallery of The Kitchen.

Lee has taught at Amherst College, Smith College, Bennington College, Hampshire College, Hamilton College, Colgate University, the University of Rio Grande and the University of North Carolina. He is currently on the faculty of New York University, and teaches puppetry at the Boys and Girls Republic on New York’s Lower East Side.

 

SARA FELDER

is a solo theater artist, playwright and juggler. While the themes of her plays and performances are serious, her form is comic, engaging, and vaudevillian. She strives to integrate personal experiences with the urgency of this moment in history. Out of that mix she creates funny and provocative theater.

Sara began performing in 1984 with San Franciso’s beloved Pickle Family Circus. She has also toured with Jugglers for Peace in Cuba, the Women’s Circus in Nicaragua, Joel Grey’s Borscht Capades and at Festivals of Jewish/Yiddish Culture in Berlin, London, Amsterdam, New York, Los Angeles and Toronto. Through juggling, she has been able to find her theatrical voice, create compelling performance, teach alternative populations and pursue social justice.

Sara’s body of work, including radical solo circus theater and witty multi-actor plays, explores political and social frictions: a lone cellist playing defiantly on the war-ravaged streets of Sarajevo; the scientists who – in a gargantuan effort to save the world from Hitler – ended up making the bombs that annihilated the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; a gender-bending cross-dressing 19th-century vaudevillian; two urban neighbors who confront racism; victims of radioactive fallout from U.S. nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands; and women named Joan.

Her newest solo play, Melancholy, a Comedy probes the dark corners of mental illness in this radical solo comedy about Abraham Lincoln, a woman on the bus, and the civil war within ourselves. She continues to tour her highly-acclaimed June Bride, which tells the story of a traditional Jewish lesbian wedding. In its hundreds of performances over the last 13 years, June Bride has become part of the grass-roots effort to keep same-sex marriage on the national agenda and has given audiences a way to talk about this controversial issue.

Sara has received fellowships in performance from the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts and the Independence Foundation, and has been awarded the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative. She has been an artist-in-residence at Intersection for the Arts, the Headlands Center for the Arts and the California Arts Council, the latter for teaching juggling and performance in California’s prisons. She has been commissioned by the San Francisco Art Commission, the National Performance Network and the Irvine Foundation for New Plays. She has received a playwriting fellowship from the California Arts Council. Her work has received nominations from the Bay Area Critics Circle (The Lady Upstairs, best play) and the Cable Car Awards (best performer.) She was part of the Animating Democracy Initiative in Anchorage, Alaska, where, with two other artists, she created performance pieces to encourage civic dialogue about same-sex marriage. She is on the roster of PennPAT: Pennsylvania Artists on Tour.

“Felder is a master story-teller and social satirist whose gentle but incisive humor recalls Lily Tomlin or Jerry Seinfeld — if they could juggle.”
— Santa Cruz Sentinel

“Out Of Sight needs to be seen. Not just by Philadelphia audiences, either.”
–Edge Philadelphia

“A charming night with a charismatic performer…”
— Philadelphia City Paper

 

ERIC DAVIS

currently resides in New York. His original creations have won him both critical and audience acclaim. He performs and teaches internationally. Lauded as one of the premiere clowns of our time, Davis is a master improviser, clown and bouffon, his work ranges from subtle and realistic to the absurd. His work has been described by critics as “genius” “subversive” and “very, very funny”.

In 2007, Mr. Davis was nominated for a Golden Nose for Clown of the Year in New York. In addition, he was a Finalist for the NY Comedy Festival’s Andy Kaufman Award, and the award winning director and co-writer of The Bouffon Glass Menajoree which was nominated for Best Director, Best Script, Best Ensemble and Best Production by the NY Innovative Theatre Awards.

Mr. Davis is a Founder and Co-Director of the NY Clown Theatre Festival, an international festival celebrating and promoting the art of contemporary theatrical Clown. (www.bricktheater.com) Oct 5-28, 2007.

Performance credits include the clown in Cirque du Soleil’s highly celebrated production: Quidam, as well as being contracted for developmental workshop of Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza, under the direction of Tony Winner, David Shiner and Cirque’s 2009 Touring Production.

Mr. Davis has trained in Pochinko clown technique, a Native American form of performance, and Bouffon with masters Sue Morrison as well as Phillipe Gaulier. He has also been a practitioner and teacher of improvisation, movement, Lecoq technique, and mask for over 15 years.


ABOUT BOUFFON PERFORMANCE

Bouffon, is a bold style of performance that has proved to be an excellent form for deconstructing and commenting on societal ills!

Grotesque in nature, often physically deformed, the bouffon is the outcast shunned by society and told to live outside of the village. On rare occasions, he is asked to perform for the pleasure of those who previously persecuted him. On these occasions the bouffon willingly accepts. (What choice does he have? Perform or be killed!) Thus this hideous creature enters the circle of society once more, light on his feet, eternally smiling with hateful eyes. Charming, entertaining and smart, he plans to take the piss out of you all!

According to Eric Davis, “Bouffon is a joke told by a nightmare. He is smart, entertaining and like the most brilliant idea, or deadly of viruses- utterly infectious.”

DAVID FERNEY

has performed in over 20 countries around the world as a member of the comic acrobatic street theatre troupe, Los Payasos Mendigos and as a current company member the Dell’Arte Company of Blue Lake, CA. Performing credits with the Dell’Arte Company include Tartuffe, Malpractice, Road Not Taken, The Bacchae, Original Instructions, Journey of the Ten Moons, Slapstick, Out of the Frying Pan and Wildcard. Ferney is best known for his outlandish comic characters which are influenced by his work in clown theatre, commedia dell’arte and mask performance. As a graduate of the Dell’Arte School of Physical Theatre David has studied physical performance styles as well studying shadow puppetry and mask carving in Bali.

Ferney is a company member and co founder of Four on the Floor Theatre Ensemble, a community based theatre company that creates spectacle pageants using giant puppets, stilt walkers and fire performers, as well as producing and presenting original work at the Arcata Playhouse, an exciting new space in Arcata, CA where The Misunderstood Badger is premiering in April prior to its performances at the Ko Festival on July 17-19. Earlier this year Ferney opened Crawdaddy’s Odditorium. Set in the 1930s Depression era and centered around a traveling freak show. The piece explored the discrimination, individuality, and the sensationalism of the bizarre within the internal relationships of a family of performers, all of whom have physical oddities.

Regional credits inlculde Red Noses at San Diego Repertory Theatre and David Rabe’s Streamers at the Full Circle Theatre Collective of San Francisco.

 

SARA FELDER

is a solo theater artist, playwright and juggler. While the themes of her plays and performances are serious, her form is comic, engaging, vaudevillian. She strives to integrate personal experiences with the urgency of this moment in history. Out of that mix she creates funny and provocative theater.

Sara began performing in 1984 with San Franciso’s Pickle Family Circus. She has also toured with Jugglers for Peace in Cuba, the Women’s Circus in Nicaragua, Joel Grey’s Borscht Capades and at Festivals of Jewish/Yiddish Culture in Berlin, London, Amsterdam, New York, Los Angeles and Toronto. Through juggling, she has been able to find her theatrical voice, create compelling performance, teach alternative populations and pursue social justice.

Sara’s body of work, including radical solo circus theater and witty multi-actor plays, explores political and social frictions: a lone cellist playing defiantly on the war-ravaged streets of Sarajevo; the scientists who – in a gargantuan effort to save the world from Hitler – ended up making the bombs that annihilated the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; a gender-bending cross-dressing 19th-century vaudevillian; two urban neighbors who confront racism; victims of radioactive fallout from U.S. nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands; and women named Joan.

Her newest solo play, Out of Sight, which is being performed at the Ko Festival this summer, uses the relationship between a blind mother and her adult daughter to examine invisibility, family loyalties and the Israel/Palestine conflict. She continues to tour her highly-acclaimed June Bride, which tells the story of a traditional Jewish lesbian wedding. In its hundreds of performances over the last 13 years, June Bride has become part of the grass-roots effort to keep same-sex marriage on the national agenda and has given audiences a way to talk about this controversial issue.

Sara has received fellowships in performance from the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts and the Independence Foundation, and has been awarded the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative. She has been an artist-in-residence at Intersection for the Arts, the Headlands Center for the Arts and the California Arts Council, the latter for teaching juggling and performance in California’s prisons. She has been commissioned by the San Francisco Art Commission, the National Performance Network and the Irvine Foundation for New Plays. She has received a playwriting fellowship from the California Arts Council. Her work has received nominations from the Bay Area Critics Circle (The Lady Upstairs, best play) and the Cable Car Awards (best performer.) She was part of the Animating Democracy Initiative in Anchorage, Alaska, where, with two other artists, she created performance pieces to encourage civic dialogue about same-sex marriage. She is on the roster of PennPAT: Pennsylvania Artists on Tour.

“Felder is a master story-teller and social satirist whose gentle but incisive humor recalls Lily Tomlin or Jerry Seinfeld — if they could juggle.” 
— Santa Cruz Sentinel

“She has chutzpah up the wazoo.”    
— San Francisco Weekly

For more information visit www.sarafelder.com

 


2016-03-01T20:40:06+00:00

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