William Esper Studio

INTERVIEWS with ARTISTS

BEN VEREEN

JEANINE TESORI

PSALMAYENE 24

SYLVIA MCNAIR

MICHAEL McELROY

DEIDRE KINAHAN

BOB ARI

PAUL TAZEWELL

PATRICIA ROZARIO

NANCY RHODES

MAIA DANZIGER

EARL “PEANUTT” MONTGOMERY

WILLIE RUFF

DENNIS D’AMICO

GRACE CACHOCHA

KAREN SAILLANT

JENNIFER HORNE

JEANIE THOMPSON

ROBERT PERRY

WAYNE SIDES

JAMIE LEE McMAHAN

SPOTLIGHT ON ARTISTS

Zana Marjanovic

Dr. Ashley William Joseph

M. Safeer

Kevin Kimani Kahuro

Ilire Vinca

Avra Sidiropoulou

Sujatha Balakrishnan

Mihaela Dragan

Farah Deen

Katy Lipson

Juan Maldonado

Odile Gakire Katese

Hartmut von Lieres

Dragan Jovičić

Sachin Gupta

Jill Navarre

“To grasp the full significance of life is the actor's duty, to interpret it is his problem, and to express it his dedication.”  
– Marlon Brando

“The theatre should be treated with respect. The theatre is a wonderful place, a house of strange enchantment, a temple of illusion.”
– Noel Coward

 


Articles

Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company

Black Theatre United

Mabou Mines

Theater J

Pangea World Theater

Round House Theatre

Bucks County Playhouse

Charleston Stage

Maryland Ensemble Theatre

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

PURE Theatre Company

Ronald Rand’s “CREATE! How Extraordinary People Live to Create and Create to Live”

Virginia Stage Company

Constellation Theatre Company

League of Professional Theatre Women

Maryland Hall

BlackRock Center for the Arts

Great American Songbook Foundation & Academy

Kennedy Center REACH

Inter Act Art Theatre

“Grand Ball in the Belle Epoch” – Edwardian Period Style Salon

Hirschfeld

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ronald Rand in Let It Be Art

 

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action--and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly of the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching, and makes us more alive than the others.”
- Martha Graham to Agnes de Mille

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
- Harriet Tubman

“It is a great piece of good fortune when an actor can instinctly grasp a play with his whole being. In such happy but rare circumstances it is better to forget all about laws and methods, and give himself up to the power of his creative nature.”
- Constantin Stanislavsky

“Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching.”
- C.S. Lewis

“Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

They took away what should have been my eyes. But I remembered Milton’s Paradise. They took away what should have been my ears, Beethoven came and wiped away my tears. They took away what should have been my tongue, but I talked with God when I was young. He would not let them take away my soul – possessing that, I still possess the whole.”
- Helen Keller, Tuscumbia, Alabama

Ronald Rand in Let It Be Art

 

“We all bear within us the potentiality for every kind of passion, every fate, every way of life. Nothing human is alien to us. If this were not so, we could not understand other people, either in life or in art.”
– Max Reinhardt

Pangea World Theater

Pangea World Theater founded in 1995, illuminates the human condition, celebrates cultural differences, and promotes human rights by creating and presenting international, multi-disciplinary theater.

Marlina Gonzalez’s “Isla Tuliro” (Photo: Bruce Silcox)

Building bridges across multiple cultures and creates sacred and intersectional spaces, Pangea World Theater makes intercultural, sacred theater that stands for intersectionality and justice, creating authentic spaces for real conversations across race, class and gender. Through a nuanced exploration of privilege, our own and others, they craft ensemble-based processes with a global perspective. Through art, theater and creative organizing they strive for a just world where people treat each other with honor and respect.  

They believe that artists are seers giving voice and language to the world we envision, working with artists from many communities locally, nationally and internationally to create new aesthetic realities for an increasingly diverse audience.

Lue Thao of Cypher Side teaches a breakdance at Cafe con Pan on Lake Street.

Leading the Theater’s growth since its founding, Meena Nataranjan is Artistic & Executive Director of Pangea World Theater. A playwright, Nataranjan has co-curated and designed many of Pangea World Theater’s professional and community-based programs. She has written more than ten full-length works for Pangea, ranging from adaptations of poetry and mythology to original works dealing with war, spirituality,
personal and collective memory. Her performance text, “Etchings in the Sand,” co-created with dancer Ananya Chattterjeahas, was published by Routledge in a volume called “Contemporary Plays by Women of Color: The Second Edition.” Meena leads ensemble-based processes in Pangea that lead to works produced for the stage. She has also directed and dramaturged several original theater and performance art pieces.

Pangea World Theater gratefully acknowledges that they exist are on the sacred traditional lands of the Dakota people, as it is an honor to live, work and create art and community alongside Dakota, Ojibwe and other indigenous people in the Twin Cities.

“No Expiration Date” (photo: Barbara La Valleur.

Over the years Pangea World Theater through artistic, community-based work and through their Lake Street Arts! Program, they strive for artistic and creative excellence in our articulation of craft, life, and work, with an awareness of space: energetic, physical, and political, with consciousness of Water, of Earth. They honor the Circle, to be authentic, responsible, and professional, engaging the whole body, mind, and spirit, valuing personal interaction over technology, collective wisdom through popular education and ensemble practice.

Pangea World Theater’s “Mother Courage and Her Children” at the Lab Theater.
(photo: Bruce Silcox)

Centering Story within a global and multicultural context, Pangea World Theater is committed to transformation at the individual and community level. They value leadership in participating Immigrant, Indigenous, and People of Color communities.

Pangea World Theater begins from the fundamental paradigm of multiplicity in the world. Since its inception, Pangea has continually redefined theater creation by exploring literature that crosses boundaries and traditions and by engaging in an inter-cultural and interdisciplinary process that delves into the urgent themes of our time.  
Presenting programs in conjunction with community-based activities, Pangea World Theater offers workshops, Open Ensembles, discussions, and outreach to schools. Their events are set in social, historical, and cultural contexts, providing an important link between the artists and the wider community.

One of their programs is the Lake Street Arts! (LSA!) is an interdisciplinary leadership and community development vehicle. It is a multi-year initiative focusing on placemaking and placekeeping through the arts. Working with artists from East African, Latina/o/x and Indigenous Communities along East Lake Street, LSA! uses art as a tool to shape development plans towards a more equitable, sustainable model of growth.

Through a generous grant from NEA’s Our Town grant, Lake Street Arts! (LSA!) is beginning is second phase of work. Strategies include launching the Arts Organizing Institute and working with the City of Minneapolis and South Minneapolis communities to engage in the planning and development of East Lake Street through Arts, Culture, and Arts Organizing.

Pangea World Theater and Art2Action collaborate to provide The National Institute for Directing and Ensemble Creation! This groundbreaking Institute provides a unique experience for theatre artists to collaborate and share methodologies of directing and ensemble creation in an environment with special emphasis on non-Western techniques and social justice.

National Institute for Directing & Ensemble Creation

In 2019, the Directing Institute offerings drew upon previous Professional Peer Exchanges, Indigenous Artist Gatherings, and the Next Generation Institute, held in 2012-18.  It included Master Artists from around the U.S. and across the world, including First Nations Artists of Turtle Island, and their invited mentees.

The Indigenous Voices Series, created in 2001, highlights the diverse, contemporary work of indigenous theater and performance artists. Indigenous Voices continues to bring local, national and international Indigenous artists to audiences in the Twin Cities. 

Plays and films presented included:

“Ady” by Rhiana Yazzie, a Navajo playwright based in Minnesota. A two-time Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellow (2010/2011 and 2006/2007) and a Playwrights’ Center Core Member, her most recent commissions include the Ashland Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Public Theater to write a play for American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle and coincidentally enough, the Minnesota History Theater.

Yazzie’s play is the story of a Navajo woman, Adrienne, who finds a 1937 photograph of a Caribbean dancer that is her mirror image. This opens the door to a moment before WWII when the surrealist movement was blooming. Characters including Picasso and his lover, Dora Marr, surrealist photographers Man Ray and Lee Miller guide Adrienne through her mother’s suicide back home on the reservation. As it tells story of a surrealist muse, the play shows how easy it is to be lost to history, especially if you were a brown woman.

Inupaiq Eskimo Inter-Disciplinary Artist, Allison Warden created a one-woman show, “Calling All Polar Bears.” With her roots from Kaktovik, Alaska, a village in the heart of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, through humor, tears, and engaging characters, she takes audiences on a journey in “Calling All Polar Bears” towards a new perspective on the fate of the polar bears and the Inupiaq People.

Allison Warden “Aaku-matu” is an Inupiaq Eskimo interdisciplinary artist with a passion for the self-determination of Indigenous Peoples. She raps under the name, “Aaku-matu,” creating her own beats for her rhymes, sampling traditional sounds and inserting her Inupiaq language into her songs. She recently performed at Columbia University, as a part of a concert put on by the Department of Ethnomusicology. She lives in Anchorage, Alaska and has close ties to her home community of Kaktovik, Alaska.

Heid E. Erdrich’s play, “Curiosities” moves between centuries to reveal how much contemporary American Indian identity is determined by history from the 1800’s. The performance features dance, visual art, Ojibwa hymn singing, contemporary and traditional American Indian music and media to show how much the images of nearly two hundred years ago haunt us today. Her work is in honor of the Ojibwe men and women who died in Europe while traveling as “curiosities” on display, and for American Indian artists and intellectuals who struggle with “performing Indian” today.

Erdrich is the winner of the 2009 Minnesota Book Award, authored three books of poetry: Fishing for Myth, The Mother’s Tongue, and National Monuments, and co-edited Sister Nations: Native American Women on Community. A member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibway. since 2007, she has served as Curator and Director for All My Relations Arts a contemporary American Indian fines arts initiative of the Native American Community Development Institute. “Curiosities” was first workshopped by Pangea in 2005.

“Four Sheets to the Wind,” is a film by Sterlin Harjo. Harjo belongs to the Seminole and Creek Nations, and is a native of Holdenville, Oklahoma. Interested from an early age in visual art and film, Harjo studied painting at the University of Oklahoma before writing his first feature-length script. Since then he has studied screenwriting in the Oklahoma’s Film and Video Studies Program and under the Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program. In 2004, Sundance Institute selected Harjo to receive an Annenberg Fellowship which provided extended support over a two-year period to facilitate the creation of his feature project. In 2006, Harjo was in the first class of the United States Artists award recipients.
  
“Thanksgiving Give-Away: Keeping Traditions Alive” was created by internationally acclaimed Cree-Saulteaux performing artist, Margo Kane, the Founder and Artistic and Managing Director of Full Circle: First Nations Performance. For over thirty years she has been recognized as a storyteller, dancer, singer, animator, choreographer, video and installation artist, director, producer, writer, community development worker and mentor.

Kane has toured for over ten years nationally and internationally in her acclaimed one-woman show, “Moonlodge.” Her work includes “The River-Home,” a video installation and performance, sourced from Aboriginal performance traditions. Another solo piece is “Confessions of an Indian Cowboy.” Over the last two years, Margo has developed the Aboriginal artists Ensemble Training Program, and she has presented the Talking Stick Festival with the community, and an Aboriginal Artists Series for ongoing cultural development in Vancouver where she lives.

Dianna Fuemana’s one-woman show, “Falemalam,” weaving together themes of immigration, indigenous identity, exile and womanhood. Fuemana is of Niuean and American Samoan descent, and an experienced performer. She created several plays including her own solo show, “Mapaki” (performed in Auckland, Wellington, at the Kaikoura Marae, and the International Women Playwrights Festival in Athens), “Frangapani Perfume,” directed by HoriAhipene, and “Decadence,” directed by Shimpal Lelisi. A multi-talented Pacific Island writer and performer, Furmana is currently working with the Ministry of Education to implement the new Arts Curriculum for Pacific Island Teachers.

Bently Spang’s play “One Gone Native” tears off the tattered cloak of Native stereotypes to reveal one man’s version of the Native experience in all its glory. Spang is an internationally known artist, curator, writer and member of the Northern Cheyenne Nation in Montana. He combines video, performance, mixed-media installation and sculpture to explore the intricacies and challenges of life as a contemporary Northern Cheyenne man. He currently maintains a studio in Billings, Montana and teaches video art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

“I Land,” a one-man show was created by Keo Woolford, a multi-disciplinary artist, born and raised in Hawai’i. “I Land” was nominated for an Ovation Award and toured for three years after it’s East-West Players and Ma-Yi Theater Company Off-Broadway debut. Woolford has starred as the King of Siam in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” at the London Palladium in London’s West End, opposite Elaine Page and Josie Lawrence, and has appeared in numerous plays, television shows and films.

James Luna’s play, “The Storyteller,” focuses on the relationship between American Indian cultures and the familiar stereotypes that American society believes and wants to believe. Luna takes those stereotypes and humorously reconstructs them to extract real experience from the imaginary. Luna is a multidisciplinary artist working in performance, visual art, and videography, and his work has been presented at many venues including Whitney Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art.

Tammy Anderson’s “I Don’t Wanna Play House,” is a personal story about herself, her mother and grandmother in a background of country and western music. Anderson, a proud Palawa woman, was born in Tasmania and has been living in Victoria for the past 15 years. Anderson received a Green Room nomination for Best Actress in her performance of “I Don’t Wanna Play House,” which premiered at Playbox in 2001 and has since toured regional Victoria, Victoria University, Sydney, Tasmania, and was invited to Hong Kong 2002 Festival.
  
“Homeless in the Homeland is a new play by Bobby Wilson, who has conducted performance workshops at Pangea World Theater, Battle Creek School, Center School and the American Indian Center, and has acted across Minnesota, with collectives including Marking Oral History, Indian Uprising, and Minneapolis MOSAIC.

“Shaking Our Shells: Stories from On the Wings of Wadaduga” was created and is performed by Qwo-Li Driskill, is an ongoing historiographical performance project that focuses on revising archived and embodied Cherokee Two-Spirit / GLBTQ memories. Drawing on archival research and interviews, the one-person performance shares stories from Cherokee cultural memory about 2 GLBTQ people within the context of larger tactics for decolonization and continuance.

“Native Youth Voices” curated by Sophia Sarenpa, showcases Native American youth talent and voices through performances of dialogue, spoken word, dance, movement, video, music and more.

“Indian of the Future Vs. Buffalo Man” by visual performance artists Bently Spang (Northern Cheyenne) and Marcus Amerman (Choctaw) have separately developed signature performance characters over the years – Amerman’s “Buffalo Man” and Spang’s “Indian of the Future/Blue Guy.” In this piece, the two characters will finally be united in an epic battle for the right to protect Indian Country.

“Artifact Traffic” is curated by Heid Erdrich. “Artifact Traffic” is a multidisciplinary storytelling through spoken word, live visual art, film, animation, dance, and music. This was the first project of the MNdn Arts, a new group that creates powerful art to affirm Native American presence in Minnesota today. Performers included Daina Ashbee (in a special arrangement with Rosy Simas Danse), Andrea Carlson (live art!), Heid E. Erdrich (spoken word), Phil Fried (deconstructed bass improvisation), Elizabeth Day (filmmaker), R. Vincent Moniz Jr. (spoken word and flight), Briand Morrison (guitar improvisation), Big S2 (rap and roll), and Margaret Noodin (voice talent). Exhibiting artists are Carolyn Lee Anderson, Frank Big Bear, Andrea Carlson, Gordon Coons, Elizabeth Day, Jim Denomie, Zoran Mojsilov, R. Vincent Moniz, Jr., Peter Martin Morales, Jonathan Thunder, and Gwen Westerman. For info: Pangea World Theater 711 W Lake St # 101, Minneapolis, MN 55408, (612) 822-0015, www.pangeaworldtheater.org

 


"It is a law of life that man cannot live for himself alone. Extreme individualism is insanity. The world's problems are also our personal problems. Health is achieved through maintaining our personal truth in a balanced relation of love to the rest of the world. No expression is more emblematic of this relation than the creative act which we call art. No art by its very constitution typifies the social nature of that creative act more than the theatre. The theatre, to be fully understood and appreciated, must be seen as a manifestation of this process of interchange between society and the individual. It must be judged as a continuous development of groups of individuals within society, a development which becomes richer, acquires greater force and value as it grows with the society in which it originates. Only in this way can the theatre nourish us.  - Harold Clurman

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