Technical Engineering background. Extensive knowledge of professional sound and video equipment with excellent troubleshooting abilities. Great understanding of computers and electronics. Leadership qualities, multi-tasking abilities, strong work ethic, extraordinary ability to learn quickly.
The open sequence for Plum TV's coverage of the Hamptons International Film Festival. I created/edited and conceptualized the open. This was for a show I was DirectingDuration: 01:05
From a production of the history boys, this was filmed prior to the live show and projected on screen while Mark (Irwin) was on stage, synced up to the video. I shot/light/directed/edited this for the production.Duration: 00:34
A tribute video for the late Thom Birch. I directed and technical directed all shoots seen in the video, all shoots were part of a live show for plum tv. I also did the sound and lighting, as well as directing a 4-5 camera shoot in the live broadcast environment.Duration: 05:21
Superb Portrait of a Tragedy
By Elise D'Haene
(1/29/2010) Certain towns or areas become redefined by an incident that occurs within their borders, such as Columbine or Love Canal, the names entering the culture in a broader, more controversial context than merely defining a geographic point on a map.
Allison-Rose DeTemple as Officer Reggie Fluty.
As a character in "The Laramie Project," which opened last night at the Center Stage at the Southampton Cultural Center, says, "Now, after Matthew, I would say Laramie is a town defined by an accident, a crime. We've become Waco. . . . We're a noun, a definition, a sign."
Shortly after the murder of a gay college student, Matthew Shepard, on Oct. 6, 1998, in that Wyoming town, Moises Kaufman, the director of the Tectonic Theater Project in New York City, asked his company of actors: "What can we as theater artists do as a response to this incident?"
This was a similar question asked by Margarita Espada in her play "What Killed Marcelo Lucero?," based on the alleged stabbing death of Mr. Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant, by seven high school males near the Patchogue train station in 2008.
Mr. Kaufman and nine members of his company traveled to Laramie and began interviewing its residents, returning six more times over a year and a half and conducting over 200 interviews. The result is a work of theatrical journalism, which had its debut in 2000. Since then, it has been produced frequently by regional, college, and high school theaters across the country, but not without controversy (it has been banned more than once by school boards that considered it "profane.")
Michael Disher's elegant and sublime direction of this sad and powerful piece yields a superb and spare portrait of a modern tragedy, and as other reviewers have pointed out, "The Laramie Project" has become the "Our Town" of the 21st century, with Laramie filling in for the fictional Grover's Corners.
Mr. Disher has cultivated a gold mine of exceptional actors who have appeared in other Center Stage productions, and his influence on them is fully realized in this challenging production, which requires each actor to assume several personas based on the interviewees and members of the Tectonic acting company.
The 15 actors give us a bird's eye view of the town, its history of ranching and past as a onetime railroad hub, its big sky and open vistas; the kind of place where everybody knows your business. The hidden underbelly of Laramie, similar to those of other towns across the country, is slowly revealed -- the effects of unemployment, the division between the working class and the students and employees at the university, and the growing problem of drug and alcohol addiction.
Drumbeats of mistrust, prejudice, hate, and fear grow louder throughout, punctuated powerfully by Peter Eilenberg's painterly lighting design, which adds texture to the canvas of the stark stage set consisting of a dozen chairs. Mr. Disher has also included a rear projection of images from Laramie, from Main Street to the buck fence on which Matthew Shepard was left to die.
There are lines in this play that resonate long after the lights dim, words that serve as reminders that these crimes of hate are not limited to out-of-the-way towns like Laramie, where one character says, "We don't grow children like that here." Or the sole Muslim resident, a woman, questions why, when these inexplicable acts of violence occur, people say, "We're not like that." She repeats, as if wrestling with the collective conscience of the whole town, "We are like that! We are like that!"
With understated bravura the cast as a whole, despite a couple of weaknesses, presents a collage of identifiable, flawed human beings struggling to understand what has happened in their town. A few of the performers approached their many roles with affecting nuance and stirring conviction and deserve to be recognized. With a slight shift of expression, the mesmerizing Paul Consiglio transforms from a middle-aged, soft-spoken gay man who lives in Laramie, into the tough, surly chief investigator of the murder, Officer Rob DeBree.
Allison-Rose DeTemple, who plays Reggie Fluty, the first police officer on the scene, who ended up contracting H.I.V. from Mr. Shepard in her attempts to revive him, is simply remarkable in conveying the startling grace and no-bullcrap integrity of Ms. Fluty.
A handful of others, who so dazzled in last year's production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," also stood out, including the shape-shifting Adam Fronc, Bethany Dellapolla, and V.J. Chiaramonte. It will be interesting to see what Mr. Disher will do with this young, talented stable of artists next.
"The Laramie Project" is an invigorating piece of contemporary theater, and is the third and last play in the Center Stage's triple play event, which included Noel Coward's "Private Lives" and "12 Angry Men." Mr. Disher has hit a homerun, presenting a stripped-down, barebones Brechtian production, the kind of play that offers no answers, but somehow leaves one feeling hope.
The play can be seen tonight (Jan. 29) and tomorrow at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2:30 p.m., and Feb. 4 and Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. On Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 7 at 2:30 p.m., the Center Stage will present the last two performances of "12 Angry Men." Tickets cost $22, $10 for students.
'The Laramie Project' At Southampton Cultural Center - Brilliant!
By Eileen Casey | 1 Comment
Actor James Macaluso, Director Michael Disher and actor Bob Beodeker at Southampton Cultural Center after performance of "The Laramie Project." (Eileen Casey)
Southampton - The final show of the "Triple Play 2010" put on at the Southampton Cultural Center is "The Laramie Project." The moving chronicle is about the town of Laramie's (Wyoming) reaction to the brutal 1998 murder of gay student Matthew Shepard. The prior two plays were "Private Lives" and "12 Angry Men."
Actresses Vay David and Mary Ellen Roche. The play draws on hundreds of interviews conducted by the members of New York's Tectonic Theater Project. The company went to Laramie and interviewed the people of the town and combined the interviews with their own experiences there. Director Moisés Kaufman and the company are credited as the authors and also are depicted in the play. The company visited Laramie six times over a two year period.
Shepard was a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and murdered near Laramie in October 1998. He was attacked on the night of October 6, and died at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, on October 12 from severe head injuries.
Speaking with SHCC's director of "The Laramie Project," the always insightful Michael Disher following Sunday's performance, he relayed that "I was interested in doing a comedy, drama and tragedy this year, and since many of the younger cast members in 'The Laramie Project' had never heard of Matthew Shepard, or had little or no recollection of this tragic incident, it seemed important and appropriate to be reminded."
Actor Matthew O'Connor. In particular, Disher expressed that currently this play is very relevant as this Fall President Obama signed anti-hate legislation into law that is partly named for Shepard.
During the trial of his attackers, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, witnesses stated that Shepard was targeted because he was gay. Henderson pleaded guilty on April 5, 1999, and agreed to testify against McKinney to avoid the death penalty; he received two consecutive life sentences. The jury in McKinney's trial found him guilty of felony murder. As they began to deliberate on the death penalty, Shepard's parents brokered a deal, resulting in McKinney receiving two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.
The events leading up to the attack, the media storm that descended on the community; the death, trial and sentencing of the attackers, as well as heart-wrenching and emotional condemnation made by Shepard's father at the sentencing are all contained in "The Laramie Project" - what is also part of the play - and second only to the death of Shepard is the destructive, biased, unforgiving, hateful fearfulness one human being is capable of rendering to another.
Disher's cast must have experienced a few sleepless nights getting into character for their roles. This play is brutal and upsetting in its subject matter, and disturbing and saddening in the realization that events that led to the death of a young man more than a dozen years ago are still prevalent in our society today.
Actors and brothers James and Daniel Yaiullo. With absolute consummate professionalism, integrity, taste and courage the entire cast is to be commended for their performances. In particular, Vay David and Paul Consiglio are simply outstanding. Each performer was required to assume the identity and character of multiple persons in this tragedy, and all do so with grace, intelligence and sensitivity.
The cast moves about a stark stage design with only black chairs and a screen behind them showing pictures of Laramie - making it all the more difficult to channel their dialogue or emotions anywhere but 'in your face.' With expert lighting by Peter Eilenberg a tone and mood of oppressive sadness and outrage are immediately inferred.
Even the dark wardrobe worn by each cast member instills an unkempt and downtrodden visualness that only confirms the bleakness of a community that was dumbfounded to find themselves in the national spotlight following such a tragic event.
Actor Randall Krongard. Disher additionally commented that "It has been fascinating to see how important this show has become to the cast with each performance. Sometimes actors may feel buried in fictional characters, and this was an opportunity for many of them to not only portray a real character but multiple characters as well." He continued "You could see the responsibility each cast member naturally assumed to portray 'their' character with as much honesty and sensitivity as is possible for any actor to bring to a role."
There are some old (young) favorites in this production as well, including Adam Fronc, V.J. Chiaramonte, and Bethany Dellapolla, whose performances are, as always, top-notch and mesmerizing. As mentioned in the past - keep your eyes on these three - they are destined for very long careers in the theatre, or in any acting medium they pursue. However, be assured that each and every performer from this large cast is individually noteworthy by the obvious professionalism brought by each to the stage.
Disher is well-known for assembling the finest performers the East End has to offer, and "The Laramie Project" once again confirms that this man is a local treasure for what he brings to the community and to the stage.
Actors V.J. Chiaramonte and Bethany Dellapolla. Reference is made in the play to "Laramie - Like No Place On Earth - Population 26,687" - well, that population did explode with the subsequent media frenzy that descended on this town, and unfortunately, Laramie did turn out to be like other places on earth, however, a tremendous candor and honesty is revealed by its citizens as documented by the Tectonic Theater Project in the original production, and Disher with a tremendously talented cast of veterans and newcomers assures that "The Laramie Project" is revealed with all its blemishes, but also with the hope of a community to move past a horrific crime that took place where they live.
This play should be required attendance for any high school age, college bound or current college student - not to mention adults - as Disher and cast have once again managed to bring an important piece of theatre to the East End that will require much thought and conversation long after the final bow.
The show runs through February 5 at the SHCC Levitas Center for the Arts, 25 Pond Lane, across from Agawam Park in Southampton Village. For tickets, call Southampton Cultural Center at 631-287-4377 or go to www.southamptonculturalcenter.org.
A memorable peek inside 'Private Lives'
By Lee Davis
Jan 12, 10 2:28 PM
In the midst of this brutally frozen winter, there is, at the Southampton Cultural Center, an island of warmth and wit and wonder which Michael Disher and his troupe of hugely talented actors have built as a richly hued escape from the elements.
This time, they’ve mounted an iridescent production of Noel Coward’s comedy of bad manners, “Private Lives,” the 1931 romp in the South of France and in a Paris apartment created for Gertrude Lawrence and Coward himself as an apology for his failure to star Ms. Lawrence in his 1927 operetta “Bittersweet.”
The work was written while Coward was on a voyage to the Far East, and its allusions creep into some of the bright and brittle dialogue between the two leading characters: “How was China?” “Very large.” “And Japan?” “Very small.” And•well, you get the music of it. And speaking of music, Mr. Coward not only starred in, directed and produced the original production of “Private Lives,” but composed its underscoring music, particularly “Someday I’ll Find You,” a song that has a relevance and effect upon Amanda, the Gertrude Lawrence character, an effect that she quickly tries to dismiss with a scoffing remark: “Extraordinary how potent cheap music is.”
There’s nothing that’s cheap or inelegant about “Private Lives,” and it goes without saying that sustaining this tale of two divorced people who can neither live without or with each other demands top-notch, charismatic acting. And the Southampton production has it. Both Logan Kingston as Amanda and Mark Anderson as Elyot have just the right touch and just the right apportionment of theatrical magic to keep this fragile-as-meringue tale constantly and fascinatingly afloat. The bon mots fly in the verbal badminton game that passes for conversation between the two, and yet, they emerge as two realized, dimensional people in pain and in joy, all at the same time.
It’s a delicious time trip to the 1930s, when we all gladly escaped to Hollywood’s screwball comedies, and the theater, where Mr. Coward held sway as the writer of smart, witty comedies in exotic locations featuring very wealthy, very smart, very tippling and very articulate world travelers, very much like Mr. Coward himself.
Everything is of an authentic piece in the Southampton production: In Paris, Louise, Amanda’s maid, dashes off and on in high Gallic approbation, and Agneiszka Patak realizes the role with foot stomping affirmation. Sybil and Victor, the two new spouses of Amanda and Elyot at the top of the show, who accompany their new bride and groom to the same hotel on the French Riviera for the first act, are played with great intelligence and gusto by Laura Ahrens and Michael Contino. Ms. Ahrens is particularly delicious in her expression of a wedding bouquet of intense emotions.
But the starring roles and most of the onstage time are reserved for Amanda and Elyot. They demand much in their roles, and, done as they should be, reward a like amount. Mark Anderson is a true reflection of Noel Coward•comfortable in his skin, ever ramrod straight and clever, mostly in control, and emotionally unable to do without Amanda. Mr. Anderson conveys this with comfortable ease, and he and Ms. Kingston possess the chemistry that makes this all not only deliriously delightful, but touchingly real.
Thank heaven Logan Kingston has come back to acting after a noticeable absence. Her re-creation of Amanda is poetry in motion. Smart, yes, and volatile, too, but beneath this, there’s a poignant vulnerability that she emits without words. Her constantly mobile face delivers entire stories. It’s a performance to treasure, and one that Coward would have embraced.
On a restless night during his Far East voyage, he switched off the light, and in his words, “Gertie appeared, in a white Molyneux dress on a terrace in the South of France, and refused to go away until four a.m., by which time ‘Private Lives,’ title and all, had constructed itself.” Logan Kingston appears in white, in the same unforgettable way.
Michael Disher as usual has not only directed the play at mach speed and in unimpeachable taste, but has matched his source with a set that commands elegance in every way. His terrace is mood perfect to accommodate what has been called the second greatest balcony scene ever written. And his suggestion of a Paris apartment is in the exquisite taste it calls for. Peter Eilenberg’s lighting and sound design are equally tasteful and enhancing, and Mr. Disher’s costume design says 1930s in every inch and stitch.
Of his original production of “Private Lives,” Mr. Coward noted in his diary, “… tenuous, thin and … delightfully daring, all of which connote to the public mind cocktails, evening dress, repartee and irreverent allusions to copulation thereby causing a gratifying number of respectable people to queue up at the box office.” The present production at the Southampton Cultural Center richly deserves the same fate•it’s unforgettable and shouldn’t be missed.
“Private Lives” concludes at the Southampton Cultural Center this Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 and Sunday at 2:30, as the first of the inexhaustible Mr. Disher’s “2010 Triple Play,” followed on succeeding weekends by “12 Angry Men” and “The Laramie Project.” The box office number is 287-4377 or visit
Chalk up another triumph for local theater at the Southampton Cultural Center. Resident wizard Michael Disher and a cast of warmly adorable youngsters are offering 90 minutes of theater magic in their flawless, ignited production of Rachel Sheinkin and William Finn’s treat for the heart and the funny bone, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”
When the gloriously successful Off-Broadway production of this show moved to Broadway in 2005 and won two Tony Awards, it was cheered as a triumph of substance over ornamentation. Without super expensive sets, stage smoke, TV stars starring, or genius lighting, the sweetly contraptionless “Spelling Bee” held audiences spellbound as they laughed at Rachel Sheinkin’s often hilarious and Tony-winning dialogue and warmed to William Finn’s affectionate and simply melodious musical score. The same sort of experience is happening in Southampton.
Like the 90-minute, intermissionless “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Spelling Bee” rushes by. And the show has as many belly laughs as “Chaperone.” But although it has its moments of send-ups of today’s frantic absorption in competition, both on TV and in life, it eschews glitter for simple humanity. And here•one last semi-comparison•as each of the very real and very heartwarming kids ultimately reveals touching personal secrets, it becomes a kind of adolescent “Chorus Line” without the glitzy finale.
With comforting ease, every one of the talented cast members in the local production not only plays but inhabits his or her role, so that the characterization of overachieving nerd types doesn’t become cartoonish (which they easily, in less sensitive hands, could become) but a depiction of real, breathing, fun-loving and inwardly deeply self-conscious ’tweenagers.
The cast enthusiastically flings itself into the original, delightfully organic and varied stage world that Mr. Disher, as the director and choreographer, has created. His dances and ensemble movements are precisely executed microcosms of sometimes Fosse-like caricature, and sometimes sharply original, arresting dance patterns. When the budding romance between Olive Ostrovsky (Bethany Dellapolla) and William Barfee (Adam Fronc) reaches something like maturity, it blossoms into an affectionately performed classical pas de deux, all in fun, as is the entire evening.
To separate out a single performance or performer would be an injustice. Everyone is adorable, even the two adults. Mary Ellen Roche as Rona Lisa Peretti, the organizer of the bee in pursuit of a trip to the National Spelling Bee finals, is perky and plausible. A former spelling bee winner, she’s joined at the head of this outing by Vice Principal Douglas Panch (Ken Rowland) from Lake Hemingway-Dos Passos Junior High. Mr. Rowland handles the goofy replies to the requests by bee participants for words used in sentences with dead-on comic delivery.
As for the kids: Alison Rose-DeTemple shines as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere (try spelling that), becoming a tiny sprite in fiercely spun pigtails who is unfazed by impossibly obscure words even though she doesn’t have relatives in the audience to support her. Bethany Dellapolla is a nervous wreck as Olive Ostrovsky, whose best friend is her dictionary, but who gains beauty and confidence through the mutual love between her and William Barfee (pronounced Barfay, he constantly reminds the others).
As Adam Fronc creates William, he enters as a surly know-it-all, but rapidly softens as he reveals his method of spelling, which is to trace the word on the floor with his magic foot, a movement that transcends into a deliciously developed dance number that collects the entire cast.
A strong-voiced William Finn is Chip Tolentino, an Eagle scout and proud of it, who scored third in last year’s competition, and is embarrassed into song by a manifestation of sexual awakening. V.J. Chiaramonte is cheerily bullyish and supporting as Mitch the enforcer. Holly Goldstein is delectably self-confident when, as the unflappable Marcy Park, she corrects Rona when she introduces her as fluent in five languages: “Actually it’s six,” Marcy says, haughtily. But later, as the rites of passage of the group unfold, she wonders if the notes about her “say that I only sleep three hours a night, and I hide in the bathroom cabinet and I’m not allowed to cry.”
If there’s a performance that rises a tad above the others, it belongs to the hilarious lining out of Leaf Coneybear by Christopher D’Amico. Tumbling and leaping around the stage in a sort of sustained nervous fit, he appears at the microphone and spells words only when he lapses into a cross-eyed trance.
The musical direction of Robert Peterson, joined at the piano by Annette Perry and her cello, is first rate and sensitive. Mr. Disher’s costumes are warmly right, and Peter Eilenberg’s lighting and sound design is embracing.
But the heart of the show is a sweet and wacky ensemble exuding happy energy that spreads like sunlight through the audience•even to the three audience members lured on stage to enter the competition. None of them wins the tournament, but the rest of the audience gets the better prize of constant laughter, enriched by poignancy. It’s a gem of an evening or afternoon of theater, and not to be missed.
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” rollicks at the Southampton Cultural Center on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 through November 1. The box office number is 287-4377