Update: CalArts, FESTE, and more
A few months ago, I finally finished my BFA2 year at CalArts! Huzzah!
Now that I'm at the halfway point at school, I wanted to look back and reflect on how my training as an artist is going and give an update on what's happening in my life now and coming up soon! Gear up for a long one, folks.
Two Years Done at CalArts.
My journey at CalArts has been really rewarding so far. After an enjoyable first year of training, I thought I was totally prepared for my second year. Boy, was I wrong. BFA 2 focuses on Shakespeare all year but it's also when you get to finally be cast in shows on campus. I was totally not prepared to be busy 60-80 hours each week, working tirelessly. But I did it anyway. This year I've increased my knowledge on Shakespeare tenfold. It's funny how you think you know something and then once your surrounded by these professors, your mind is blown on how little you actually know about it.
I was lucky enough to be in two shows this year. First, I played Leonato in Much Ado About Nothing directed by Damian Lewis. This was a great way to start off on shows here. Damian is a class act, a kind and honest man, and friggan Juilliard graduate. He wanted to do one simple thing with this show: Tell the story. It's amazing how simple and yet incredibly effective that direction is. Under his keen senses, we were able to put together a really beautiful piece and I felt good about the work we did.
The other show I worked on this year was the Commedia dell'arte show The Servant of Two Masters directed by the amazing Daniel Passer. After 7 years, I got the chance to return to the role of Truffaldino. This was truly a dream to be in this production. Daniel is absolutely incredible to work with. The man has an extensive Commedia/Clown/Improv background and he teaches everywhere from Cirque de Soleil, to Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Moscow Art Theatre, Second City Chicago, and a ton of other places. Working with Daniel, I've really gotten the opportunity to get better at everything I've wanted to get better at. The show rehearsal process was grueling. Tons of work done outside rehearsal every weekend to come up with new jokes and lazzi daily was exhausting, but so damn rewarding. I pushed my brain and body to the limit during the rehearsal process. By the time we reached run throughs, I was burning 1500 calories a night doing this show. And I mean, sure I may have gotten a mild concussion from a nasty spill on to a light fixture, BUT, that's theatre right? Our cast was incredible and we put on a wildly successful show that enjoyed a sold out run! I'm super lucky to have been part of this. There have been some talk about taking the show to LA and beyond, so I'll keep you updated if/when that happens.
My next project at CalArts will be over the summer and will bleed into fall semester.
Through the first week in July, myself and two other students will be headed to the village of Yanhuitlán in Oaxaca, Mexico and be working with the theatre company Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol in association with the CalArts Center for New Performance and Duende CalArts on a brand new theatre piece. I'll talk more about the piece once I return, so look for more information on that soon. I'm super excited to be able to travel and work with kids in Yanhuitlán and with Largartijas on something unique and exciting!
I'm really looking forward to getting more good work done in my BFA 3 year. This is gonna be epic.
FESTE, Fancy Hobo, and more!
With the amount of work I've been doing recently, it's been a challenge to really dive deep into my other projects. But, with a relatively light summer happening, I've been very eager to get lots done!
FESTE has been on a hiatus while I'm in school, but this summer Charlie, Mark and I are coming together to get a ton of work done. I don't want to spoil too much of what's coming, but I can tell you that work has begun on a new EP, our second studio album, and new videos. I keep getting asked about how the band is doing, so I'm very excited to be able to bring new work to you all.
Fancy Hobo Improv, the improv company I'm the Artistic Director for, is chugging along swimmingly! Our brand is growing stronger, our content has been really stellar, and more and more people are coming out to enjoy shows monthly at Stage Door Repertory Theatre in Anaheim. I'm excited to be back and working with the team to make a great product and put on some awesome shows throughout the rest of 2019! Catch us playing every month!
In addition to these continuous projects, I have a new show in the works that's almost complete! I'm currently working on my first one-man-show, Dirty Cuban. My goal is to be finished with the final draft of it by the end of the year and start workshops in early 2020.
I've got a few other things in the works, but I'll post another update when those are finally starting to make some noise. For now I'll leave you, but I'll do my best to update more regularly.
Don't let the man keep you down.