How did you become a Resident Artist at HERE?
I was a puppeteer in Basil Twist's Petrushka, then did some work in progress showings in HERE's Puppet Parlor. They then sponsored my show 10 to travel to San Francisco, after which it played for a run at HERE. After that, they commissioned Animal and I joined the HARP [HERE Artist in Residence Program] for two years.
What is Lone Wolf Tribe, and how was it started?
It's a one-man theatre ensemble (except when I work with other puppeteers when the play’s scope demands it). It's composed of myself and the tribe of life-sized puppets I create and animate in the shows I write and direct and act in. It's puppet theatre for adults that is poetic, brutal, visual and emotional — touching the heart, but breaking it sometimes. The roots of it began in my senior year at college with my first original solo show. Then officially in 1997 with my first puppet piece, Once Vaudeville.
Puppetry is enjoying a renewed popularity these days. Who are some of your favorites, both current and all-time?
I like theatre, puppet or otherwise, that takes risks and has something to say. Stuff with more imagination than budget.
Do you draw artistic inspiration from other mediums besides puppetry? If so, from where?
Visual art, chance, drawing, dreams, music, street scenes, character types on the subway, life experience, headlines. The puppets are partners in the story, collaborators. I never really make a distinction of puppet theatre versus straight. At least not in terms of what I do. They're surrogate actors sharing the stage with me.
You're from Philadelphia, which is a big sports town. Do you follow any of the hometown teams?
I never did even when I lived there. Whatever the competition, I always root for the underdog. Besides that, the fact that sports is such an entrenched part of the media big three: News Weather and Sports, baffles me. It’s way too important in our culture.
What are some of your favorite things about Philadelphia?
I’ve been in New York six years now. This is pretty much home. I really only go down there for family and when I'm doing a show. I don't recognize it anymore — it's become so trendy and filled with these overpriced restaurants. People standing outside in the cold waiting behind the velvet ropes. It’s finally catching up to New York.
What are some of your non-theater-related hobbies?
Drawing, reading, nuclear fusion.
What's up next for you?
I'm remounting a previous show of mine, Big Top Machine, that will play at the Brick in Williamsburg. It's about circus and sideshow and corporate America's takeover of nearly everything it can. I'm also working on Lone Wolf Tribe's fifth full-length production, The Bride. It's about a man creating a woman and an examination of culture, history, religion and creation.