I am currently Associate Professor of Performance Studies in the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I am an artist-scholar specializing in devised theatre and the politics of contemporary performance. My research, teaching and artistic practice are expressions of my career-long commitment to integrating theory, context and performance practice.
My work addresses the ways in which theatre and performance operate as sites of aesthetic experimentation, social engagement, and political struggle. I am in the final stages of preparing the manuscript of my second book, On the Horizontal: Mary Overlie and the Viewpoints (under contract, University of Michigan Press). My book aims to bring to a broad audience of practitioners, scholars and students, the integrated theory and practice of Viewpoints actor training, as developed by its originator, Mary Overlie. On the Horizontalis based on over fifteen years of scholarly and artistic research on the Viewpoints, ongoing training with Overlie, as well as recently performing with her in Brain to Brain at Danspace Project in New York City.
I am currently working on my third book, Reality Frictions: From Ruptural Performance to Indecidable Theatre, a comparative study of what I term “Reality Frictions,” contemporary politically-engaged art practices that alternatively establish and break their framing as being “fictional” or “for real,” staging a “friction” between these two conditions. As in my initial publications based on this research in Theatre Journal, TDR, and Performance Research, I argue that these performances both emerge from and speak to new forms of aesthetic politics that have further undermined our already tenuous sense of “the real,” as captured by the currency of the terms “post-truth” and “post-fact” politics. Through close reading of contemporary US and European performances that alternately proclaim and disavow their status both as “theatre” and as a sincere “political action,” I investigate how contemporary theatre, performance, and visual artists, such as Teater NO99 (Estonia), the Center for Political Beauty (Germany) and Wunderbaum (The Netherlands), may provide a map for political engagement with the unstable frames that delineate the fictional from the non-fictional, the fake from the authentic, and the cynical from the sincere. I am interested in how these aesthetic interventions open up the possibility for a politics of critical engagement and participation through the aesthetic encounter of material politics. As with my first book, Paul Robeson and the Cold War Performance Complex: Race, Madness, Activism (Michigan 2012), this study addresses what I have previously termed the “performance complex” of artistic practice and political struggles for social, political and economic justice. My hope is that this study will help illuminate the ways in which the very crisis of “post-truth politics” may also form the ground for art and politics committed to social and economic justice.
Ph.D., New York University, Performance Studies
M.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Communication Studies
B.S., Northwestern University, Performance Studies
On the Horizontal: Mary Overlie and The Viewpoints. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, forthcoming.
“Irritational Aesthetics: Reality Frictions and Indecidable Theatre.” Theatre Journal, 70:4, December 2018, pp. 473-498.
"The New Thing: Three Axes for Devised Theatre." Theatre Topics, 28:3, November 2018, pp. 203-216.
"Sordid Ironies and the Short Fingered Vulgarian." TDR: The Drama Review, 62(1), Spring 2018, 191-200. (PDF)
"On Stealing Viewpoints." Performance Research. 22:5, 2017, pp. 113-124. (PDF)
"The Trump is Present." Performance Research. 22:3 September 2017, pp. 127-135. (PDF)
“Robeson, Paul Leroy.” Dictionary of American History Supplement, America in the World, 1776 to the Present. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2016. (PDF)
“Dog Sniff Dog: Materialist Poetics and the Politics of the Viewpoints.” Performance Research. 20:1, February 2015, pp. 105-112. (PDF)
“On Compagnie Marie Chouinard.” Carolina Performing Arts Season Catalogue: 2012-2013. (PDF)
“What the Fuck is That?: The Poetics of Ruptural Performance.” Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies Volume 5, Issue 3 September 2009, pp. 1-18. (PDF)
“Performance Complexes: Abu Ghraib and the Culture of Neoliberalism.” In Violence Performed: Local Roots and Global Routes of Conflict. Eds. Patrick Anderson and Jisha Menon. Palgrave MacMillan, 2009, pp. 357-371. (PDF)
“’Pretty, Isn’t It?’: Adapting Film Noir to the Stage.” In Performing Adaptations: Essays and Conversations on the Theory and Practice of Adaptation. Eds. Michelle Macarthur, Lydia Wilkinson, & Keren Zaiontz. Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009, pp. 73-85. (PDF)