Here we are, folks. A new decade in the ongoing timeline of our lives. Where does it find you? Where am I finding myself? It’s hard to boil down to words, but I’m going to try because I believe when it comes to things you care about, it’s important to be as specific as possible.

Consequently I’ll stick to my life in the arts as this is my professional website, and I’m assuming that’s what you’re interested in the first place.

Artistically then, I feel myself at a bit of a crossroads. Since I was fourteen I’ve been acting nonstop and now, fifteen years later, I’m finding myself not “slowing down” but just shifting to another lane a little bit. The end of 2019 brought a revelation that as I commit to living in the theatrical landscape of the Twin Cities, I can dip, dive, duck and weave my way through other disciplines. Namely, writing and directing – two things that I love to do but have rarely ever had time to explore singularly. Now in 2020, as I become more selective about my acting projects, I’m making sure to dedicate more time to flex those muscles as well.

Next to acting, playwriting is my artistic jam and despite the successes I’ve been fortunate to have, I know I’m just get started. Sometimes I feel like I have so many ideas that I get overwhelmed thinking about how I’ll never have time to realize any of them. Maybe that’s the mark of passion? Maybe an unhealthy obsession? Either way, I know it’s an itch that I have to scratch. Therefore, my new years resolution is not only to write more but produce more. Yes, I’ll be submitting my plays like crazy to just about every company there is, but I can’t leave these stories to fate any longer. I have to be my own producer and for that, I’ve got to dedicate the time.

Productions already in the works are:

  • Some sort of podcast that’ll feature original drama
  • A staged reading of my horror-western, The Devil’s Outlaws
  • A full production of my action-drama, The Hunt for Hitler’s Brain. The latter of which will live at the Minnesota Fringe Festival if those same fates allow.

Of course, if not, I’ll find a way to get it out there because I believe in these stories so damn much. They have something to say about out current cultural climate, about politics and about how we treat each other (or should treat each other). Again, whether it’s passion or obsession, the time has come that I have to show the world my vision of what theatre can be.

Those impulses then bleed directly into… well, directing. When I can share a room with trusted collaborators and shape a story that can truly mean something – whether that’s through character relationships or expressive creativity – it’s the most exciting thing in the world. Ah! I love the craft of being artist! Actor, writer or director, just the thought of creating something that has never existed before is beautifully insane to me.

That’s why in the summer of 2019, I resolved to bring to life one story I absolutely had to see onstage: Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape. It’s absurd and weird, yet speaks to so much emotional truth about what it means to be alive. Humans are the most interesting subject in the world – our pains and joys are truly fascinating from an objective point of view. Like, what? Fundamentally we all should be fat and happy creatures running around making love, but over the eons we’ve invented every conceivable device to suck away our ability to simply enjoy. Life can really suck and plays that put those stories in front of people are what I love the most – because they mean something. The Hairy Ape is more than an a hundred year old experiment in Expressionism, it’s a self-portrait of our lives and I feel absolutely compelled to show audiences because in 2020, we could use some sympathy for how the other half lives.

This is being an artist to me this year and for all years. I want – I need – to tell the stories I’m compelled to and do more with my skills than bounce from gig-to-gig. I mean, I love that too, but in order to bring theatre to the masses and hold that mirror up to society, I have to let go of any trappings of “making it”. What. does. that. mean. WHAT. DOES. THAT. MEAN.

I’m an artist. A theatre artist and I will make art and tell stories my whole life. Whatever “fame and fortunes” come, they will only prove elusive because what will always be there is the work. The work I have trained for and have been working at the whole last decade. They can’t take that away, and now here we are in a new decade and I’m ready to keep it up. To ground myself in the dirty, glorious work of making art and to love it in myself.

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