Coffee and Classics
Wake up Saturday mornings to the smell of your morning coffee and the sound of artists chatting all things theater. These hour-long panel discussions are an opportunity to gather together in a conversational space and hear directly from artists and directors in the US and abroad about a range of topics impacting the future of theater around the world.
FREE to attend with a suggested donation of $15.
"Marat/Sade" by Peter Weiss
director Brenna Geffers
pictured: Steve Wright, Cindy Spitko, Jered McLenigan, David Blatt, and Ross Beschler
Staging Shepard: A Director’s Panel
Saturday, May 30th, 10-11:30am EST
Join us for our final coffee discussion with our season's directors on the relevance, importance, and challenges of staging the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Sam Shepard. Brenna Geffers, director of Fool for Love, Dane Eissler, director of Buried Child, and Lane Savadove, director of our postponed Curse of the Starving Class, share their vision and why Shepard's plays are a director's playground.
Dane Eissler, EgoPo Associate Producer, Director of Buried Child
Dane is a cis-male bisexual maker of theatre and visual art, as well as a freelance teaching artist. Serving as Associate Producer at EgoPo Classic Theater, he has directed Buried Child, The Nose, associate directed The Lydie Breeze Trilogy, co-directed Stairs to the Roof, performed "Medvedenko" in the Barrymore-winning production of The Seagull and "Jude" in Lydie Breeze Part III: Madaket Road and production designed And Tell Sad Stories of the Deaths of Queens and The Nose. Dane co-created EgoPo's theater education program at Nebinger Elementary in 2016 (which he now supervises), and has worked as a guest artist at multiple theater programs (Triple Threat Workshop in South Jersey, Windy City Performs in Chicago) and academic institutions including high schools throughout South Jersey and his alma mater Rowan University, where he most recently directed a theatrical staging of Beckett's The Lost Ones, among other Beckett short plays. In Chicago, Dane co-founded the multidisciplinary pop-up theatre collective, A Dead Whale Productions, which he still proudly serves as Artistic Director. www.daneeissler.com
Brenna Geffers, Co-Founder of Die-Cast, Director of Fool for Love
Brenna Geffers is a theatre-maker and director based in Philadelphia. She has been nominated for Outstanding Direction, Outstanding New Play, and Outstanding Choreography by the Barrymore Awards. She is the co-founder of Die-Cast with Thom Weaver, which creates immersive work for non-theatrical spaces. She has created work from spaces like burnt-out night clubs to model schooner ships and more. Brenna is also a freelance director who has worked with Theatre Exile, Revolution Shakespeare, Philadelphia Artist Collective, Curio Theater, Tribe of Fools, Winnipesaukee Playhouse Troy Foundry Theatre, The Tennessee Williams Festival, as well as a dozen Fringe Festivals. For EgoPo Classic Theatre, she has directed Anna, The Hairy Ape, Machinal, Marat/Sade, Waiting for Godot, and more. Brenna was part of the Philadelphia Opera Collective, an experiment in creating world premiere operas for a modern audience and wrote several librettos with this ensemble. She studied theater at Indiana University of PA and received her MFA from Temple University. Her new digital performance work Phyre is currently playing on www.die-castphilly.org. She/Her
Lane Savadove, EgoPo Founding Artistic Director, Director of Curse of the Starving Class
Lane is the Founding Artistic Director of EgoPo Classic Theater, now in its 27th season. He has directed over 40 productions locally, regionally, Off-Broadway, and on NPR. He is a TCG Leadership recipient, Independence Fellow, Drama League Directing Fellow, and Henry Luce Fellow, for which he served as the Resident Director of the National Cultural Center of Indonesia in Surakarta, Java, where he forged a company with Javanese artists. Notable productions: World premiere of John Guare’s Lydie Breeze Trilogy; Beckett’s Company (NPR, Phila Fringe); world premiere of Tennessee Williams’ House Not Meant to Stand (Southern Repertory); dual version of Genet’s The Maids (Jean Cocteau Rep.); Wedekind’s Spring Awakening (Annenberg); Maeterlinck’s Bluebird (Mandell Theater). His EgoPo production of Chekhov’s The Seagull won Philadelphia’s Barrymore Awards for Best Production and Set, among six nominations. He is a Professor and Head of Acting and Directing at Rowan University.
Saturday, April 25th, 10-11:30am EST
EgoPo Artistic Director, Lane Savadove, moderates this panel of international guests including Maria Tri Sulistyani of Papermoon Puppet Theatre (Indonesia), Fred Abrahamse of Abrahamse and Meyer Productions (South Africa), and Peter Clerke of The Occasion (Scotland, UK). Join us for a discussion focused on the global impact of social distancing on theater directors' and visionaries' ability to create and produce work. How are creative minds responding to this international crisis and can we envision the way forward?
MARIA TRI SULISTYANI (Papermoon Puppet Theatre, Indonesia)
Papermoon Puppet Theatre was founded in April 2006 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Co-Artistic Director Maria Tri Sulistyani (Ria). She has since nurtured, developed, and expanded the company together with Co-Artistic Director Iwan Effendi. To date, Papermoon has created more than 20 puppet performances and visual art installations and exhibitions, which have toured to more than 10 countries. In 2008, Papermoon launched Pesta Boneka, an international puppet biennale that welcomes puppeteers from around the world to their home city, where they can share their work in a community setting. Papermoon Puppet Theatre believes that anything can come alive.
FRED ABRAHAMSE (Abrahamse & Meyer Productions, South Africa)
TRAINING: University of Cape Town Drama School. THEATRE: Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Richard III, Romeo & Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (four productions), Shakespeare’s R&J; Tennessee Williams’ The Night of the Iguana, The Glass Menagerie, Kingdom of Earth, The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel, Stairs to the Roof, The Hotel Plays, One Arm, The Remarkable Rooming House of Mme. Le Monde, A Perfect Analysis Given By A Parrot; Steven Berkoff’s Decadence, Greek, The Secret Love Life of Ophelia; Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins; Mark Ravenhill’s Shopping & F*cking and Over There; Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms; Peter Shaffer’s Equus; Tony Kushner’s Angels in America; David Hare’s The Vertical Hour; Kramer & Petersen’s District 6 – The Musical; Noël Coward’s Private Lives and Present Laughter. OPERA: Sacred Bones and Mozart’s Requiem. AWARDS: Fleur du Cap Best Director for District 6 – The Musical and Beautiful Thing; Fleur du Cap Best Set Design for Assassins and Kingdom of Earth; Vita Awards Best Director for The Glass Menagerie, Beautiful Thing, Shopping & F*cking; St. Louis Theatre Circle Award Best Director Nomination for Stairs to the Roof. Nominations for Best Production of a Play, Best Set & Lighting Design for Macbeth at the 2019 Naledi Awards. 2019 Naledi Award for Best Costume Design for Macbeth. 2020 Fleur du Cap Nomination for Best Director (The Glass Menagerie), Best Production (Equus), Best Puppetry (Macbeth), Best Lighting Design (Equus), and Best Costume Design (Macbeth).
PETER CLERKE (The Occasion, Scotland, UK)
Peter is currently co-Artistic Director with The Occasion whose production, The Monster and Mary Shelley has recently toured throughout Scotland and England. Born in Dundee and currently based in Glasgow he has worked extensively across the UK, mainland Europe and the US. Peter studied at Middlesex University, London, and the Ecole Philippe Gaulier in Paris. He is a founding member and Co-Artistic Director of the international touring ensemble, benchtours (1991-2009). Peter directed or performed in all of the company’s productions. Prior to benchtours, Peter’s work included the co-founding and artistic direction of Lung Ha (1984-86), now firmly established as Scotland’s leading learning disability theatre company, and spent five years at Edinburgh’s iconic Theatre Workshop (1986-91). From 2009 -16 Peter was the Artistic Director of Blue Apple Theatre, Winchester, one of South-west England’s leading learning disability arts organizations. Peter’s freelance work has included numerous projects in the UK, the US – principally with Melanie Stewart of Rowan University – and Poland.
The Future of Acting Training in America
Saturday, May 9th, 10-11:30am
As teaching moves from the classroom to the living room, how are acting and theater instructors adjusting to this change in connection with students? Panelists from local university-level training programs respond to the rapid adjustments and what this may mean for the future of theater training in America.
MELANIE STEWART creates darkly absurd movement-driven theatre focusing on the nuanced, weird, and vulnerable side of American culture. A critically acclaimed choreographer and director, Stewart’s awards include numerous fellowships and grants from The National Endowment for the Arts, Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, and The PA and NJ Councils on the Arts. Her most recent works include Interactive Alice (2018) and Interactive Wizard of Oz (2019) Summer Fest in Glassboro, New Jersey and In America, That is to Say Nowhere (2019) at Rowan University and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. In academia, Stewart teaches Medical Improv and Dance and Medicine for medical students at the School of Osteopathic Medicine at Cooper Medical School, and teaches Physical Theatre at Rowan University where she is a Professor of Theatre and Dance and the Associate Dean in the College of Performing Arts.
MARK WADE is the Artistic Director, Assistant Professor and Head of the Theater Arts Program at Arcadia University. Mark is a graduate of The Yale School of Drama in Acting, and The Neighborhood Playhouse (where he studied with Sanford Meisner). Acting and directing credits include work for The Westport Country Playhouse, The Long Wharf Theater, and Trinity Repertory Theater. He spent five years as a creative consultant for Joanne Woodward, and produced with her two television movies for the “Hallmark Hall of Fame.” In addition, Mark collaborated closely with Ms Woodward during her time as Artistic Director of The Westport Country Playhouse, serving as an education consultant and as her assistant director on The Constant Wife by Somerset Maugham and Three Days of Rain by Richard Greenberg . Mark served as assistant director to Lloyd Richards on the Hallmark Hall of Fame’s television adaptation of The Piano Lesson by August Wilson. He directed the New York premiere of The Sirens by Darrah Cloud. Mark has taught classes at The Wilma Theater Studio, and The University of the Arts. Mark taught acting for ten years at Wesleyan University in Middletown Connecticut.
NICK ANSELMO is Director of Theatre and the Mandell Professionals in Residence Project at Drexel University. He is the Founder/Executive Director of the Mantua Theater Project (MTP), a replication of New York’s 52nd Street Project. MTP is a youth outreach program based in the Mantua/Powelton neighborhoods of Philadelphia that uses theater to give positive self-esteem building experiences to at-risk youth. He was the Artistic Associate/Education Director of the Passage Theatre Company, where he ran the State Street Project and created several shows for youth, including his adaptation of Alice Childress’ A Hero Ain’t Nuthin But a Sandwich, and directed numerous shows including the world premiere of A Child’s Christmas in New Jersey by R.N. Sandberg. As an actor Nick has appeared Off-Broadway at the York and Ensemble Studio Theaters, and regionally at Walnut Street, Asolo, Arden, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Arkansas Repertory and Mill Mountain Theaters. He has an MFA in Musical Theater from University of California-Irvine. a certificate in Arts Administration from New York University, and is currently working on a certificate in Meisner Acting Training with Larry Silverberg.
PETER REYNOLDS is the Artistic Director of Mauckingbird Theatre Company in
Philadelphia and the Head of Musical Theater at Temple University. Philadelphia area: Act II Playhouse, Media Theatre, Hedgerow Theatre, Candlelight Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Philadelphia Young Playwrights, Walnut Street Theatre, Curio Theatre, Cape May Stage and the Lenape Regional Performing Arts Center in New Jersey. Regionally: 6 years as Artistic Director of HealthWorks Theatre-Chicago, winner of the Award of Excellence in Prevention Education; Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, HotCity Theatre-St. Louis, Chicago Dramatists, Theatre Building Chicago, Maples Repertory; Villanova Theatre, University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, Drexe University, Arcadia University, and Southern Illinois University.