Meet the Retreatant: Phil Berman

20 Jul

Phil Berman is thrilled to return to the Freedom Art Retreat after interning with the 10 incredible retreatants from last year.

Phil makes theater in the Boston area: acting with Moonbox Productions and Puppet Showplace Theatre; dramaturging shows and managing the literary department for Company One; and creating puppets, plays, and music for Free Hands, a company founded with retreatants from last year.

His plays include “The Last Confession of the Virgin Maria,” directed by Corianna Moffatt at Boston University, and “The Three Blessed Brothers,” produced by Free Hands last June, designed by Allie Herryman.

Meet the Retreatant: Lenelle Moïse

20 Jul

Lenelle Moïse creates jazz-infused, rhythmic performance texts about Haitian-American identity and the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality, memory and magic. Her two-act comedy, Merit, won the 2012 Ruby Prize for women of color playwrights. She also wrote, composed and co-starred in the critically-acclaimed drama, Expatriate, which launched Off-Broadway at the Culture Project. Moïse was the fifth Poet Laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts, the 2012 Visiting Performing Artist in African & African Diaspora Studies at UT Austin, the 2011 Artist in Residence in Performance Studies at Northwestern University and a 2010 Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival Fellow. She holds an MFA in Playwriting from Smith College (2004). Her work has been published in several anthologies including Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution.

Check out Lenelle’s website, which is packed with awesome content., and watch some of her work, HERE.

Meet the Retreatant: Barbara Whitney

11 Jul

For someone who regularly finds her wallet in the freezer, bakes challah at 3 am, sleep crafts, and occasionally eats a sandwich in the shower, you know, just for fun, Barbara Whitney is a model of sanity. A model of sanity who is really struggling with writing this bio. She’s ‘turged, directed, devised, performed, puppeteered, production managed, and taught at a variety of places around the world – from Carnegie Hall to Chicago’s South Side St. Patrick’s Day Parade to under a tree in Bangkok. She spent years touring internationally and causing a theatrical ruckus domestically and is proud to have made a living as a freelance artist for 13 years. For the past 4 years she’s been a high school theater teacher where she encourages students to think of themselves as vast beings who exercise curiosity in the out-of-the-ordinary. And who embrace looking like an idiot, and say please and thank you. She is much less of a hippy than this bio makes her sound and, for the skeptics, has a legitimate theatrical resume with credentials and stuff that she’s happy to share if they’re happy to turn their clothes inside out to confuse the fairies. Mainstream is often interesting and worthwhile but the edges are where things happen.

 

Meet the Retreatant: Peter Staley

11 Jul

Peter Staley is an actor and dramaturg entering his senior year with the Theater Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he is working towards a BA in Performance and Dramaturgy. His passions include, but are not limited to: equality, making lists, pretending to understand wine, and attempting to learn every language (at least a little bit). Peter is a lifelong resident of the Boston area, and thus has the city to thank for his exciting artistic upbringing (while most boys his age might have been seen cheering along at a Red Sox game, he was busy attending such classics as Cats and Jesus Christ Superstar). As his passion for theater and expression blossomed, he dove into the artistic community as a staff member at Saint Joseph’s Summer Theater, a local youth theater in his native town of Needham. Upon seeing just how beautiful a product can come from a group of inspired and passionate young artists, he understood at once the power and importance of the arts. As an artist, Peter endeavors use theater to discover and explore truths new and old in the fascinating world around him, and to continue asking questions through art. His education has only affirmed his understanding of the power that theater has to promote change and understanding, and has him more excited than ever to graduate into the ranks of professional Boston artists. Peter’s most recent theatrical roles include A Little Night Music (Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm), Cabaret (Clifford Bradshaw), For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls (Lawrence), and dramaturg for the UMass Theatre Guild. After graduation, Peter looks forward to throwing himself into the beautiful and diverse world of Boston theater (perhaps literally, depending on the traffic).

Meet the Retreatant: April Ranger

11 Jul

April Ranger is a poet and a playwright. While pursuing a B.A. in Theatre from Emerson College she discovered the weekly open mic and poetry slam at the Cantab Lounge and began writing poems for performance. April was selected three times to perform as a member of Boston Cantab’s National Poetry Slam Team and twice as their Individual Representative. She has completed multiple short-leg national tours with fellow poet Carrie Rudzinski, and has performed her poems at venues ranging from The Bowery Poetry Club in Manhattan to a warehouse in Detroit to an art gallery in Roslyn, Washington. Her poems have appeared in Off The Coast and Muzzle.
Her ten-minute play Frabjous Day premiered at the Boston Theatre Marathon in 2008 and was later produced by Caffeine Theatre in Chicago. Those Still Living, produced at the 2011 Boston Theatre Marathon, was originally conceived while studying at the Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive. In 2010, Whistler in the Dark theatre company adapted a selection of her poems into a theatrical piece entitled The Last Flame Left. April recently returned to Boston from a four-month sojourn to her roots in Maine to complete a full-length play, The Mouth of Jordan. She loves to ride her bicycle through all the various neighborhoods and nature spots in Boston.

Check out her mad skillz, right HERE.

Meet the Retreatant: Julie Saltman

6 Jul

A Beantown girl born and bred, Julie Saltman grew up in Needham, Mass., and was a Boston Children’s Theatre kid starting at the age of six. She was accepted to the Walnut Hill School for the Arts acting program, but when, at age 11, she saw the dress rehearsal for Julie Taymor’s The King Stag at the American Repertory Theatre, she knew backstage was the place for her. Julie’s been there ever since.

After completing her undergrad work at Carnegie Mellon University, she headed straight down the block to her favorite position at Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Costume shop credits range from all over the country, including stints at the Arena Stage and San Diego Repertory Theatre.
Julie returned to Boston for grad school at Brandeis University. She also returned to BCT for a season as an adult—repayment for how much that program had done for her as a child. Her internship toward her master’s degree was completed at WGBH when Zoom was revived (things do come full circle!). In 2005, armed with her master’s degree in costume design, Julie hit the ground running. Her several Broadway shows include Lestat, High Fidelity, and most recently, working for the producers of Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark. Julie’s favorite costuming experience, however, was Twelfth Night at New York’s Shakespeare in the Park. She has designed two Off-Off Broadway shows as well. Film credits include Disney’s Enchanted (Susan Sarandon’s costume), Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe, and several independent films. But no matter where she is or where she’ll go, Boston will always be her true home.

Meet the Retreatant: Lia Romeo

6 Jul

Lia Romeo is a playwright, novelist, and humor book author. She earned her B.A. from Princeton University and her M.F.A in playwriting from Rutgers, ending up with staggering quantities of student loans and no marketable skills whatsoever. She managed to secure a part-time job writing standardized test questions, and spends the rest of her time writing plays and novels and daydreaming about pretty shoes. Her play Hungry premiered at the Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City in the 2011-2012 season, and was produced by Stillwater Theater subsequently. Her play Green Whales premiered at the Unicorn Theatre in 2010, and was produced by Renegade Theatre Experiment in 2012. Her play Right Place, Right Time premiered at Renegade Theatre Experiment in 2010, and was produced by Stillwater Theatre subsequently. Her play LoveSick was produced by Project Y Theatre Company at 59E59 in New York in 2012. Her plays have also been developed at the Kennedy Center, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, New Jersey Repertory Theatre, Kitchen Dog Theatre, HotCity Theatre, Abingdon Theatre, and elsewhere. She has been a finalist for the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, PlayPenn, WordBridge, and the Heideman Award. She was the 2008-2009 National New Play Network Emerging Playwright-in-Residence at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey. Her humor book, 11,002 Things to Be Miserable About, was published in 2009 by Abrams Image. It is currently in its second printing, with over 30,000 copies sold, and has earned favorable reviews in the Boston Globe and other national publications. Her first novel, Dating the Devil, will be published by BelleBooks in 2013, and is in development as a TV movie with Vast Entertainment. She is currently at work on a commission from HotCity Theatre in St. Louis.

Check out her Things to Be Miserable About blog and twitter feed!

Meet the Retreatant: John J King

5 Jul

John J King is part Texan and part Tyrannosaur.

He lives in Boston where he makes plays, art, music, and scares little children who thought dinosaurs were dead.

He has a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Boondocks and an accent from his mama.

Goals include recording a great dance tune, making impossible things from cardboard, and singing in a girl group.

Artistic Mission: to incite in all people wonder and delight at the world.

Meet the Retreatant: Steven Bogart

5 Jul

Steven Bogart is a playwright, director, teacher and visual artist.

He has worked with the likes of Neil Gaiman, James Carroll, Kate Snodgrass and Amanda Palmer. He directed Cabaret at the American Repertory Theater in 2010 and will devise a new piece for the A.R.T. Institute in 2013. He is an Artist-in-Residence at Southern New Hampshire University, adjunct acting professor at Emerson College, and the University of New Orleans. His plays have performed in Boston, NYC, and Chicago. He leads workshops in collaborative playwriting around the state of Massachusetts and has created over 50 workshop theater pieces. In a previous life, He was a high school drama teacher for too many years to mention. He left Lexington High School last year to live more directly as a free-lance artist. He lives with his wife Amory in Maynard, Massachusetts.

Find him on twitter: @StevenBogart

2012 Freedom Art Retreat Participants Announced

4 Jul

We’re thrilled to announce this year’s roster of emerging Boston theatre artists for the Freedom Art Retreat:

Phil Berman – 2012 Retreat Dramaturg/Playwright/Puppetry Practitioner
Steve Bogart – 2012 Retreat Designer/Visual Artist/Playwright
John King – 2012 Retreat Designer/Visual Artist/Playwright
Lenelle Moise – 2012 Retreat Playwright
April Ranger – 2012 Retreat Playwright/Poet
Lia Romeo – 2012 Retreat Playwright
Julie Saltman – 2012 Retreat Costume Designer
Peter Staley – 2012 Retreat Dramaturg
Barbara Whitney – 2012 Retreat Dramaturg/Deviser/Puppetry Practitioner
Watch this space over the next week for individual artist profiles!

The 2011 Retreat