Kindergarten Truck (2012-2015) was my immersive, site-specific, touring street theatre performance staged inside a box truck. Audiences were briefly transported back to the magical world of childhood guided by playful actors. The design adapted improvisational drama therapy to become a communal storytelling experience that engaged over 1,000 strangers across chronic divisions of race and class in under-resourced urban neighborhoods across the US. I received the 2017 NADTA Performance Award honoring the project’s positive social impact in catalyzing civic engagement as a means towards collective transformation. I guide students to conceive their own innovative formats to enable vitality, meaning-making, and healing for their communities.
This site-specific immersive community-engaged performance explored The Book of Esther.
Each year from 2010-2015, I devised and directed a new community-engaged game/performance to critically explore the Jewish holiday of Purim identity through irreverent “shpiels.”
We co-created a unique collaborative performance to critically explore ethnicity, identity, and the sacred text.
The performances catalyze civic engagement and meaning-making.
As one example, for Shluff No More, I orchestrated a 60-member crew to guide 400 audience members around nine locations of a three-story synagogue in under 2 hours. Each scene playfully disarmed congregants as they encountered sacred text from The Book of Esther.
Participants reported how the event deepened their affiliation and transformed their relationship with the themes of ethnic strife.
Organizing the game logistics required tremendous planning. With the help of my dear friend Scott Osman, here is a glimpse at how I laid out the team coordination:
Each room featured participatory structures I designed to playfully disarm congregants and help them enjoy greater proximity. Three years later, many participants continue to report how the event deepened their feelings of affiliation and transformed their relationship with the themes of ethnic strife. The image below captured during the Costume Contest, conducted through Silent Disco headphones.
I had also had the opportunity to work with amazingly talented designers. For one example, Chantal Demorial and Gideon Solomon converted the basement into Vashi’s Den.
I co-authored, directed, and performed in this community-engaged Theatre of Faith performance project on The Book of Esther at Romemu synagogue, framed shamelessly around the structures and sketches of Saturday Night Live.
Our “Cold Open” was Caveman Lawyer defending King Ahashverosh against Vashti over her refusal to dance, and from there we were off to the races with other classics: Opening Monologue, Celebrity Jeopardy, Church Chat, Weekend Update, Spoof Commercials, and classic ending moment–a live band playing the SNL Closing Theme (Waltz in A) as the cast and crew celebrated together on stage.
Below is our version of the Spartan Cheerleaders: Cheerleaders for Compassionate Aggression, which was our symbolic treatment of the war between the Jews and Persians in Chapter 10.
This was my 3rd Purim Shpiel at Romemu, a community-engaged Theatre of Faith performance project on The Book of Esther at Romemu synagogue.
This year’s concept was all based on popular media themes. One of my favorite moments was a slow motion battle fought with giant pencils to music from Les Misérables.
The title of the show was a spoof on Gangham Style, the Korean pop song/dance that had recently gone viral on YouTube. And of course, we performed our own version! Here is a clip of it to enjoy, followed by a little sketch based on The Apprentice featuring the Rabbi’s wife playing him to the sheer delight of our audience.
NRDC commissioned Six Characters to create these two videos for their climate change awareness campaign.
In Arctic Margarita, I played the President of the United States:
In Global Warmth, I am featured as the Husband in a “Cold” and loveless marriage:
My award-winning silent physical comedy troupe Six Characters meshed vaudevillian stage antics with video.
We proudly earned praises from the New York Times.
Trailer of “Best Show Ever!”
And here’s Andrew in the skit “Tiny Pie Stand”