How I Got Here

When I was in undergrad, a tiger named Tatiana escaped its enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo and killed a teenager.  Through no fault of its own, despite only acting in accordance with its biology, the zoo’s officials euthanized Tatiana.  Learning about the tiger’s story from the evening news threw me into an existential crisis.  Did this tiger and I share more than a name?  Is my destiny to be killed for my existence, like Tatiana and so many of my marginalized brothers and sisters before me?  (As a child, I witnessed the coverage of Matthew Shepard’s death; I cancelled my thirteenth birthday party because of the race riots in Cincinnati sparked by the shooting of a 19-year-old unarmed black man named Timothy Thomas; I knew what was up.)  Why bother existing if I would only punished for it?  Since then, I've dabbled philosophically in existentialism, nihilism, and absurdism, and I make theater, which I think is pretty cool.

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Tati and Cookie.jpg

I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and as such claim both the Midwestern work ethic and a mildly Southern twang.  I went to an elementary school structured as a bilingual academy and studied Mandarin Chinese there for seven years.  Going to this public magnet school program afforded me the opportunity to meet and work with students from around the world, as well as the opportunity to travel to China and live with a family as part of an exchange program.  From this education, I took away a working knowledge the language and a global point of view, considering the work I do in the context of its global implications.

Middle and high school saw me attending the School for Creative & Performing Arts (SCPA), another public magnet school.  Here, I studied both drama and creative writing in a conservatory style training program, and received the foundations of my knowledge about Western theatre practices.  This training matured when I attended the Atlantic Acting School through New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.  The lifelong friendships and working relationships built at NYU have pushed me to be a better actor, producer, director, artistic collaborator and scholar.  I became a founding member of Pipeline Theatre Company and served as its managing director in its first year of existence.

After my time at NYU, I worked as an Artistic Associate at Fabrefaction Theatre Company in Atlanta, Georgia, went on tour as Rosa Parks in The Rosa Parks Story with the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, and taught improvisational comedy workshops with LADD (Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled).  When a former drama teacher of mine retired, SCPA hired me as their elementary drama teacher.  During my time teaching fourth, fifth, and sixth grade drama, my curriculum focused on giving students the tools necessary to create their own art.  Simultaneously, I worked professionally as a director, dramaturg, actor, and improviser.

After graduating from the University of Massachusetts with an MFA in Dramaturgy, I am currently exploring the intersections of dramaturgy and narrative improvisation.

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