“Leslie North is as warm and generous-spirited a young woman as you are likely to meet. Sometimes funny, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes dark, she’s always just to the left of what you’d expect.” -Bobby Bermea
Leslie is a Memphis native who left a cushy job in the IT world to study at the Portland Actors Conservatory. Now living in Atlanta, Leslie is dipping her toes into the film world. She has already written a short film, Time Sensitive, as part of the BLVCK Film Collective in Portland. Next to acting, her current focus is rediscovering her voice as a writer through comedy sketches, pilots and other original shorts. Leslie is very passionate about telling authentic, relatable stories that represent the unheard and the ‘regular folks’. When she isn’t succumbing to the post-Covid pressure to constantly create, Leslie can be found binge watching her favorite shows, reading, or complaining about dating apps.
“Leslie North is as warm and generous-spirited a young woman as you are likely to meet. Sometimes funny, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes dark, she’s always just to the left of what you’d expect.” -Bobby Bermea
“Josie Seid is one of the warmest, most generous, most gifted artists in the Portland metro area. Extraordinary actor, singer, director, poet and playwright, she shares some of her outstanding work and magnanimous spirit with us.”
Currently living in Portland, OR, Josie Seid is a resident artist with Artists Repertory Theater. She’s an international creator of theater arts, who moves in several circles. As proud member of the LineStorm Playwrights Collective, she is the author of Petite Dames, which was nominated for the Kilroy list in 2015 and was recently workshopped at Lewis and Clark’s Ray Warren Symposium on Race and Revolutionary Struggle. Other works include but are not limited to: Path of Glory, The Great God of the Dark Storm Cloud, Jordan’s Wisdom, Overdue, Stand by Me, and This is Message Number 13. Her short play, A Wing and a Prayer was recently featured in the nationwide Play At Home project. As an actor and musical theater performer, she’s been seen in shows on Portland area stages such as: An Octoroon with Artist’s Repertory Theater, Men on Boats with Third Rail, and Into the Woods with Broadway Rose. She is also an international arts envoy who as performed in Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt. Josie has also directed productions in Portland to include two world premieres: Hazardous Beauty with PassinArt and A Dark Sky Full of Stars with Vertigo. Her most recent film, Forget Me Not, America, in association with the ART Mercury company has taken Josie to new creative places and she is excited to imagine what’s next!
At its heart, INDECENT is about the power of telling our own stories and the transformative dignity of having those stories seen and valuedJosh Hecht, Director
When we started conceiving this production of INDECENT, I was about to go into rehearsals for THE BALTIMORE WALTZ, an early work by Paula Vogel written in the months just after her brother Carl died of AIDS and in which she imagines the trip to Europe she never got to take with him. It is a comedic work nonetheless suffused with loss, and the familiar ache that lies beneath our favorite memories of loved ones gone. No one quite marries humor and sadness like Paula Vogel. It is a hallmark of her work.
One of the pleasures of being the Artistic Director of Profile Theatre is our unique ability to get to know intimately an artist’s body of work and to start to draw connections between those works. Like putting on the glasses of a dear friend or family member and seeing the world through their eyes. When I had lunch with Paula over the summer, I mentioned the similarities I had noticed between THE BALTIMORE WALTZ and INDECENT, from its adventurous form to the stunning final moment that dreams into being a healing embrace from the beyond. She smiled at me and said, “They’re book-ends. No one’s noticed that before.”
THE BALTIMORE WALTZ begins and ends in Carl Vogel’s hospital room, and though in between Vogel’s play takes us on a journey across continents and time, in one sense we never really leave the hospital in which it begins. As we started working, set designer Peter Ksander and I began to wonder what would happen if the dusty attic in which INDECENT begins never wholly leaves us either.
INDECENT is told through the eyes of a theatre troupe who have performed Scholem Asch’s THE GOD OF VENGEANCE for years in Jewish communities throughout Europe and in America. So moved are they by Asch’s story of love found in this obscenity of a world, that even during the horrors of the holocaust, they gather in secret in a cramped attic in the Warsaw ghetto to perform this play every week.
Our need to tell our own stories is one of the most ancient needs we have. Recently, a board member of ours went to France, where he visited the caves in which Neanderthals painted images of their lived experience 64,000 years ago. Before humankind had fully emerged as a distinct species, the urge towards creative expression was strong. And though we may not have had stages like Lincoln Hall and large producing organizations like Artists Rep or Profile, there has always been someone who stood up and told a story to someone else who listened. For it’s not just the telling that is important. It’s the witnessing. It’s the confirmation that comes from speaking our truths and having someone else say, “Yes, that’s me, too. Yes, I recognize that. We may be different, but in this way we are the same.” It’s why, in ancient Greece, the entire city-state would gather on the eve of battle to watch plays together, to listen and be seen, and to have their place in the universe, their belonging, confirmed.
This is why it’s so important to present a diversity of stories and lives on the stage. Because this need to tell our own stories, to have them witnessed and valued, and to feel our place in this world is an essential need. And if we believe that the theatre can be, in the words of Anna Deavere Smith, a convening ground, a place where communities come together to practice seeing ourselves in each other’s stories, a place to exchange ideas and expand our souls, then we must make space in our theaters for many to be seen and known. It is one of the ways we fold many threads into the American tapestry we live in.
At its heart, INDECENT is about the power of telling our own stories and the transformative dignity of having those stories seen and valued — a feeling so strong, this troupe will risk everything for it, even their very lives. The attic in which their fate was sealed is, for me, a reminder of how delicate our lives and culture are. 75 years ago, more than a third of the world’s Jewish population were destroyed. What if we were not here to witness this story, told by ghosts in an attic whose whereabouts have been long-forgotten? Very few write stories in Yiddish anymore, as Paula writes in INDECENT. And yet, these stories are an essential desiderata, rising from the ashes to claim their space in the world night after night, asking us to witness, to take them into our hearts, and to be transformed.
Josh Hecht (Artistic Director) is a Drama Desk Award-winning director whose productions have been seen in New York at MCC Theater, The Cherry Lane, The Duke on 42nd Street, New World Stages, Culture Project, regionally at The Guthrie Theater, the Berkshire Theatre Group, the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Signature Theatre (DC) and internationally at the Dublin Arts Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and elsewhere. His collaboration with Ping Chong and Company was commissioned by and premiered at The Kennedy Center before touring the northeast. His writing has received the support of the Jerome Foundation. He is formerly the Director of Playwright Development at MCC Theater and the Director of New Play Development at WET. He’s served on the faculty of the New School for Drama MFA Directing program, the Fordham University MFA Playwriting program, Purchase College SUNY’s BFA Dramatic Writing program and has been a guest artist at The Juilliard School, NYU’s Dramatic Writing MFA, Carnegie Mellon’s MFA Playwriting, University of Minnesota’s BFA Acting program and others.
Peter is a scenographer and media artist whose stage design work has been presented both nationally and internationally. In 2006 he joined the curatorial board of the Ontological-Hysteric Incubator. In 2008 he won an Obie award for the scenic design of Untitled Mars (this title may change), and In 2014 he won a Bessie award for the visual design of This Was the End. He holds a MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, is an Associate Professor at Reed College and is an associate company member with the Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble. This is his second design with Profile having designed Bright Half Life last season.
Brynne received her BA from Drew University in 2013. She works as the wardrobe supervisor for Broadway Rose Theatre Company and is also the costumer for David Douglas High School and St. Mary’s Academy where she enjoys spreading the love of costumes to the next generations. Brynne has worked as a costume designer for Broadway Rose, Third Rail, and CoHo. Highlights of her recent shows Fly By Night (BRTC), The Nether (TR), Angry Brigade (TR), and db (CoHo). She is very excited to work with Profile for the first time on these two incredible shows with this outstanding creative team.
In three seasons with Profile Carl has designed: Orlando, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Eyes for Consuela. Recent designs with Artists Rep (Grand Concourse, Broomstick), Third Rail (The Angry Brigade), Broadway Rose (Trails, Beehive – Drammy Best Lighting), Theatre Vertigo (Carnivora), NWCT (Mary Poppins). Regional: Arena Stage, Boston ICA, Williamstown Theatre Festival. Touring Production/IT: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Touring Associate Lighting/Video: Bon Iver, The National. Lighting Artist: Eaux Claires Music Festival. Founding Member: Woodshed Collective NYC. Staff Assistant Lighting Designer: Portland Opera. Broadway Assistant Designer: The Book of Mormon. Education: Catlin Gabel, Vassar College. Member: United Scenic Artists Local USA-829. www.carlfaber.com
Represented by United Scenic Artists
Matt is excited to be a part of Profile’s Quiara Alegria Hudes season. Recent work includes Pen/Man/Ship, How I learned What I Learned, and You For Me For You, at Portland Playhouse. Matt would like to thank his family for their support and encouragement!
Kyra Bishop Sanford
Kyra is excited to be part of this production! Local credits include scenic and props designer and TD for You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (Enlightened Theatrics) and Troilus and Cressida (Portland Actors Ensemble), scenic and props designer for The Pillowman (Life in Arts), production designer and TD for Men Run Amok (part of Fertile Ground 2017), props master for The Events (Third Rail Rep), Plaid Tidings (Enlightened Theatrics) and Reborning (Beirut Wedding), as well as carpentry and paint work at various theatres in the area. She received her BFA in Scenic Design from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University. www.sanfordscenic.com
From Berlin’s aerialist street ensemble, Grotest Maru to Wellington’s all female dance ensemble JAVA, Jamie has been exploring this powerful tool of connection and change for over 2 decades. Serving as an award winning director, designer, and performer, she has worked up and down both coasts and as far away as Australia. She does however also love to plant roots, building a human-resource-focused way of working, as a foundation for extraordinary art. To that end, it has been her pleasure to serve as Production Manager for Jewish Theatre Collaborative for 9 years, for Enlightened Theatrics for the past 3 years, and by project for many others including Sojourn Theatre and The Beirut Wedding World Theatre Project.
Baleigh is delighted to be working with Profile Theatre for the first time, marking her Portland debut after spending a dozen years in Chicago. Her Chicago credits include productions at Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, Chicago Shakespeare, American Blues, Remy Bumppo, and Drury Lane as well as Million Dollar Quartet, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, Old Jews Telling Jokes, and Motherhood the Musical. Baleigh has also worked with the Alliance Theatre and Georgia Shakespeare in her hometown of Atlanta. Her NYC credits include Les Miserables, The Rhythm Club, and Summer of ’42.
Member of Actor’s Equity Association
Assistant Stage Manager
Breydon is ecstatic to be working with in rep with Profile this fall! He is a stage manager with credits at Portland Playhouse, and independent projects with Michael Streeter, Beth Thompson, and Elizabeth Huffman. He is a proud member of Theatre Vertigo and a production manager at Clackamas High School.
Ashlin is thrilled to be collaborating on her first project with Profile. Other recent directorial credits include Nice Town, Normal People (Rhizome Theater Co.) and This Must Be the Place (Reed College)—both devised, interview-based performances aiming to sow seeds of social cohesion, compassion, and kindness.
Get a sneak peek of Quiara Alegría Hudes’ 26 Miles with this brief podcast with an introduction by Artistic Director Josh Hecht and listen to a scene from the play with actors Julana Torres and Alex Ramirez de Cruz.
Buy tickets to 26 Miles here.
Pictured: Director Rebecca Martinez with actors Julana Torres and Alex Ramirez de Cruz. Photo by Sharath Patel.
I attended the last dress rehearsal of Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue, which was a full run-through without pause. In sitting in a theatre in which you are the only person not connected to the production, you notice so many things you might not normally think of, such as the difference the absence of an audience makes, especially when, for example, a funny line is spoken. Getting to look behind the scenes makes crystal clear how much theatre is a collaborative endeavor with hundreds of small parts coming together to make an amazing whole.
-Pancho Savery, Profile Community Council
Profile’s Community Council are people from the Portland area of varying ages, ethnicities and backgrounds who are invited to view the backstage process from beginning to end and share their perspectives with our communities.
After studying at Southern Oregon University and performing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Jimmy is happy to be back in Portland where he began his acting career years ago on the stages of Miracle Theater, Stark Raving Theater and Portland Center Stage companies. In Southern Oregon, he performed a variety of roles working with such esteemed directors as Bill Rauch, Libby Appel, and Pat Patton to name a few. He has most recently performed in ART’s A Civil War Christmas and can next be found at Miracle Theater’s world premiere Oye Oya.
Tony holds a BFA in Acting and a Master of Theatre Studies in Production and Design from Southern Oregon University. Most recently Tony was seen in Defunkt Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of Hir, Jewish Theatre Collaborative’s production of Davita’s Harp and Into the Beautiful North at Milagro Theatre. Other Portland credits include American Night, O! Romeo!, How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent, BoomCrackleFly and the Drammy Award winning Oedipus El Rey at Milagro, Equus at Post5, Cymbeline with Anon It Moves, Antony and Cleopatra with Portland Actors Ensemble, King Lear, King John and Mary Stuart at NWCTC.
Anthony is excited to be performing at Profile Theatre for the first time. He was last seen as Atómiko in Into the Beautiful North at Milagro Theater. He graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.F.A. in Theater Arts. He has done commercial work throughout the Northwest and recently played the tactical cop in the season premiere of Grimm. When he is not acting, he spends his time with his wife, chasing his three children all over the place.
Cristi is a performer, director and teacher based in Portland, OR. Portland credits include: The Journey Play is the Whole thing, Enter THE NIGHT, The Three Sisters, Song of the Dodo and R3 with PETE; Midsummer (a play with songs) with Third Rail Rep, Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Dying City with Portland Playhouse. She is co-artistic director of PETE, an Assistant Professor of the Theatre at George Fox University and trained at The Oregon Center for Alexander Technique (AmSAT certified teacher). Brandeis University, MFA.
Alice is a New York-based freelance director. Credits include Jackie by Elfriede Jelinek at Boom Arts, Or, by Liz Duffy Adams at Shakespeare & Company, Phaeton (a diggle of a fragment) by Mac Wellman at Classic Stage Company, Enter THE NIGHT by Maria Irene Fornes with Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, The Miser by Molière with Brave New World Rep, Nomads by Julia Jarcho at Incubator Arts Project, I Came to Look for You on Tuesday by Chiori Miyagawa at La MaMa. She is the recipient of two Foundation of Contemporary Arts Grants, the Princess Grace Award (Fabergé Theater Award) and Princess Grace Special Project Grant, and was a Drama League Directing Fellow. Alice is Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in Directing at Barnard College. MFA: Columbia. alicereagan.com.
Kaye is a scenic, lighting, and props designer originally hailing from Sammamish, Washington. She earned her BA in theatre from Lewis & Clark College in 2012, and after a year working in New York, she is back in Portland and excited to work with Profile Theatre once again. Favorite past shows include: The Antigone Project (Profile), Annapurna (Third Rail), Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood LIVE (Mills Entertainment), A Winter’s Tale (Anon It Moves), Static (Third Rail), Ramona Quimby (OCT), Snowstorm (CoHo), In The Next Room (Profile Theatre), and Waxwing with String House Theatre, where she is also a founding company member.
Miranda K. Hardy
Miranda is a Lighting Designer based in Portland. Previously with Profile she lit Bright Half Life and Master Harold and the Boys. She is an associate company member with Portland Experimental Theater Ensemble designing lights for R3 [Drammy Award], The Three Sisters, All Well, or, the whale, and Procedures For Saying No, designing scenery and lights for Song of the Dodo and Drowned Horse Tavern. She has worked on shadow/animation spectacular The Letting Go and Kaddish For Bernie Madoff. Miranda has worked in New York City, as well as nationally and internationally including four seasons as the resident Lighting Designer at Festival Di Due Mondi (Spoleto, IT). M.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts.
Jenny is a designer based in Portland OR. Her costume work was last seen at Profile for Bright Half Life. She is an associate artist with PETE (Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble), Liminal, and The Late Now. Other local credits include, costumes for Third Rail’s The Realistic Joneses, Oregon Children’s Theatre’s Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Liminal’s 7deadly Sins (Drammy Award), scenery for PETE’s Enter THE NIGHT, Shaking the Tree’s A Doll’s House, Phame’s Up the Fall, and puppets for Strawberry Theatre Workshop’s This Land-Woody Guthrie. She received her BFA in Scenic and Costume Design from Cornish College of the Arts.
Phillip is a theatrical artist based in Portland Oregon and the Technical Director of Ridgefield High School’s drama program. His recent productions include Hands Up (Red Door Project), Worse Than Tigers (ACT Theater/Red Stage), Contigo Pan y Cebolla (Milagro Theater), The Antigone Project, A Lady Onstage (Profile Theater), and The Importance of Being Earnest (Valley Repertory Theater). When he isn’t designing or teaching Phil is traveling the world spreading art education to impoverished areas. He most recently taught theater in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. Phil Has a B.F.A. and M.A. from Ohio University. For updates, downloads and links to show soundtracks please visit PhilJohnsondesignstheworld.com.
Profile Theatre: 2014 Tanya Barfield Season, 2013 Sam Shepard Season, 2014 Sarah Ruhl Season, The Road to Mecca. Other Portland stage management credits: Trevor, The Skin of Our Teeth (ASM), The Price (Artist’s Repertory Theatre); The Light in the Piazza (Portland Playhouse). Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Production Assistant: The Unfortunates (2013), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013), Troilus and Cressida (2012), The Very Merry Wives of Windsor, Iowa (2012), Julius Caesar (2011), The African Company Presents Richard III (2011). BA in Theatre Management from Western Washington University, MFA in Stage Management from Columbia University. Active member of Actor’s Equity Association.
Esther is making her Profile Theatre debut with Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue. Recent credits include A Christmas Carol (PA), To Kill a Mockingbird, Blues for Mister Charlie, The Heidi Chronicles, and Julius Caesar (SM Intern) at Trinity Repertory Company, and Trevor (PA) and The Skin of Our Teeth (PA) at Artists Repertory Theater. Other favorites include Upside Down, A Musical Tale After the Christ (SM) with the Upside Down Theatre Company, Godspell (SM) with YA4Ever, and Chicago (SM) with the Young Artists Ensemble. She is a graduate of Emerson College.
*Member Actors Equity Association, the professional union of actors and stage manager.
Rehearsals are underway for the final play of the 2016 Tanya Barfield Season! Look at the team artists bringing Bright Half Life to the stage.
Get tickets to Bright Half Life HERE.
Chantal is honored to perform again in this Profile season. Working with this team of women has been transformative. Chantal performed a reading of Bright Half Life this summer with The Hansberry Project (Seattle). Training: Shakespeare & Co., Emerson College. She is a Third Rail Repertory company member. Credits: Seattle Rep (2017), Intiman, Third Rail Rep, Portland Center Stage, Artists Rep, Badass Theatre, Portland Playhouse, Clackamas Rep, NWCTC, Jewish Theatre Co. Educator/Actress: August Wilson Red Door Project, Portland Center Stage, & Exeter University (England). She is Artistic Director & activist of The Color of NOW. Representation: Arthouse Talent. www.chantaldegroat.com
Maureen is a Company Member of Third Rail Repertory Theatre where roles include Arphra Behn in Or, Maureen in The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Belinda in Noises Off, Marian in Sweet &; Sad and That Hopey Changey Thing, Lisa in The Wonderful World of Dissocia, Pam in The Gray Sisters, Eleanor in Dead Funny, and Mom in Number Three. Other local credits include Dark Ahab in Or, The Whale with Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, The Taming of the Shrew at Portland Shakespeare Project, Crooked at CoHo Theatre, No Exit and Betrayal at Imago. This is Maureen’s debut at Profile.
Rebecca is a local director, performer and educator. Directing credits include Peter and the Starcatcher (Portland Playhouse), Procedures for Saying No (PETE) Realistic Joneses (Third Rail), Tongues (Profile), Elective Affinities (Boom Arts), 448 Psychosis and As You Like it (Lewis & Clark). She is a company member at Third Rail Repertory Theatre and co-artistic director of Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble (PETE). Upcoming projects include co-directing The Angry Brigade (Third Rail Rep). Rebecca is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Lewis & Clark College. Columbia University, MFA.
Peter is a scenographer and media artist whose stage design work has been presented both nationally and internationally. In 2008 he won an Obie award for the scenic design of Untitled Mars (this title may change), and in 2014 he won a Bessie award for the design of This Was the End. He holds a MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, is an Associate Professor at Reed College and is an associate company member with the Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble. This his first show with Profile.
Miranda K. Hardy
Miranda is a Lighting Designer based in Portland. Previously with Profile she lit Master Harold and the Boys. She is an associate company member with PETE (Portland Experimental Theater Ensemble) designing lights for R3 [Drammy Award], The Three Sisters, All Well, or, the whale, and Procedures For Saying No, designing scenery and lights for Song of the Dodo and Drowned Horse Tavern. She has worked with Laura Heit on her shadow/animation spectacular The Letting Go and Alicia Jo Rabin’s Kaddish For Bernie Madoff. Miranda has worked extensively in New York City, as well as nationally and internationally including four seasons as the resident Lighting Designer at Festival Di Due Mondi (Spoleto, IT). Miranda holds an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts.
Jenny is a designer based in Portland OR. She is an associate artist with PETE (Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble), Liminal, and The Late Now. With PETE, she just completed The Journey Play Constellation. Other local credits include, costumes for Third Rail’s The Realistic Joneses, Oregon Children’s Theatre’s Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Liminal’s 7deadly Sins (Drammy Award), scenery for PETE’s Enter THE NIGHT, Shaking the Tree’s A Doll’s House, Phame’s Up the Fall, and puppets for Strawberry Theatre Workshop’s This Land-Woody Guthrie. She received her BFA in Scenic and Costume Design from Cornish College of the Arts.
Mark is a sound designer who has made work in New York City, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Budapest. He is a proud member of Third Rail Repertory Theater and an associate artist with Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble (PETE). Third Rail credits include: Midsummer; A Play with Songs, The Mystery of Irma Vep, Belleville, Or, The Realistic Joneses, Mr. Kolpert, The New Electric Ballroom, Annapurna, and The Nether; with PETE: R3, The Song of the Dodo, The Three Sisters, Enter the Night, Drowned Horse Tavern, All Well, [or, the whale], and Procedures for Saying No.
With Profile Theatre: Blue Door, The Call; 2014 Sam Shepard Season; 2015 Sarah Ruhl Season, The Road to Mecca. Other Portland stage management credits: Trevor, The Skin of Our Teeth (ASM), The Price (Artists Repertory Theatre); The Light in the Piazza (Portland Playhouse). Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Production Assistant: The Unfortunates (2013), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013), Troilus and Cressida (2012), The Very Merry Wives of Windsor, Iowa (2012), Julius Caesar (2011), The African Company Presents Richard III (2011). BA in Theatre Management from Western Washington University, MFA in Stage Management from Columbia University. Active member of Actor’s Equity Association.
Charlie graduated high-school from Arts and Communication Magnet Academy in 2015. He has taken part in the Summer Musical Intensive program for the past two years, designing scenery and stage managing for Once Upon A Mattress (2015) and Into The Woods (2016.) Since graduating, he took an internship at Artists Repertory Theatre as a stage management and scene shop intern where he worked on productions such as Mothers and Sons, We are Proud To Present…, and Grand Concourse. He was a member of the PATA Spotlight Award winning crew for The Skin Of Our Teeth. Most recently he was production manager on The Gun Show at CoHo Productions.
Profile Theatre is pleased to announce Josh Hecht as its new Artistic Director after a seven month national search. Josh will be relocating to Portland and take up leadership of theatre in February 2017. “I’ve spent my career guided by the belief that it is our writers who help us dream our culture forward,” says Josh. “I’m thrilled to join Profile Theatre, whose distinctive mission uses one playwright’s vision as a lens to help us better understand ourselves and our world. And I am inspired by Profile’s commitment to artistic excellence, robust community engagement and to presenting artists who reflect the diversity of our shared culture.”
“Profile Theatre was honored to have over 80 qualified applicants from around the world express interest in becoming our Artistic Director,” says Richard Bradspies, Profile Board member and head of the Artistic Director search committee. “We are especially excited to have Josh Hecht join us because he brings outstanding experience coupled with a shared vision and passion for the unique place Profile fills in the Portland arts scene.”
Josh comes to Profile after having previously served in senior staff positions at two important theaters in New York, MCC Theater and WET. While at MCC, he commissioned new work by Terrence McNally and John Guare, dramaturged Tony-nominated plays by Bryony Lavery and Neil LaBute, and created and ran the Playwrights Coalition, developing new plays by some of the most honored young playwrights of the last decade including Stephen Adly Guirgis, Lucy Thurber, David Adjmi, Adam Bock, Itamar Moses and many others. At WET he developed new work by some of our most prominent female playwrights including Anna Ziegler, Melissa James Gibson, and Kate Robin. He has consulted with the Lake George Theatre Lab and the Great Plains Theatre Conference, helping them expand their programming and community engagement initiatives.
As a freelance director, Josh’s work has received the Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience, Festival First awards at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Dublin Arts Festival, and has been nominated for the IRNE Award (Boston) and the GLAAD Award (New York). Productions have been seen at theaters around the country including the Guthrie Theater, the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theater of Louisville, the Berkshire Theater Festival, the Kennedy Center, No Rules at Signature Theater Company in DC, and in New York at MCC Theater, the Cherry Lane, the Duke on 42nd Street, The Culture Project and the Obie-winning collective 13Playwrights, among others. He has continued to develop dozens of new plays at theaters and play development centers across the country.
As an educator, Josh has been on the faculty of the New School for Drama’s MFA Directing program, Fordham University’s MFA Playwriting program and Purchase College, SUNY’s esteemed BFA Dramatic Writing program, in addition to guest stints at The Juilliard School, NYU, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Minnesota and others.
His writing has been seen at the Kennedy Center in a collaborative piece created with National Medal of Honor winner Ping Chong, at the Duke on 42nd Street, the Flynn Center in Burlington, VT and the Round House Theater, and has received the support of the Jerome Foundation.
Profile Board Chair Steve Young adds, “Along with other members of Profile’s Search committee, I was impressed by Josh’s credentials as an educator and award-winning director with broad and deep experience in American theatre—in NYC and across the US. I am also impressed by his communication, collaboration, and leadership skills and by his passionate belief in theatre’s responsibility to contribute to the civic life of our community.”
Josh will arrive at Profile Theatre to launch Profile’s 2017 Quiara Alegría Hudes Season. “I’ve been a fan of Quiara Alegría Hudes since seeing Elliot nearly a decade ago,” says Josh. “I find her plays profoundly optimistic in world-view, without ignoring the complicated, often painful realities of our lives. They seem to suggest that human connection is the salve that can begin to heal even the biggest traumas.” He will direct the rotating repertory productions of Water by the Spoonful and The Happiest Song Plays Last running November 1-19, 2017.
Adriana Baer first reached out to us at String House last year about collaborating on Antigone Project, and we (Alex Leigh Ramirez, Kaye Blankenship, and myself) were instantly hooked on the prospect of a project so crammed with amazing female artists working on such potent and timely stories. When she pitched us the script for Antigone Arkhe, however, the third piece in the festival written by Caridad Svich, I was admittedly daunted. Arkhe is arguably the most structurally experimental of these one-acts; the text alone is tricky to grasp in its poetic and fragmentary nature, but the added elements of tightly integrated projection, video, and sound also make it a logistically ambitious piece to implement on its own, let alone as part of a larger suite of work. A collaborative co-production made immediate sense as the best way to deliver it to an audience, and despite the obvious challenges I couldn’t help but get more hooked on the script the longer I sat with it. The ideas this piece contains about narrative ownership, female empowerment, and the politics of storytelling itself are just too interesting for a director like myself to pass up exploring. In the end we simply couldn’t say no.
To me, Arkhe is a story about a woman who has had her story stolen. Here she has been relegated in death to pieces of what she once was– shards of memory, artifacts of experience, and bits and pieces of hearsay. In her absence these pieces have been collected and commodified without her consent in order to reshape the story of what happened to her. The Archivist represents this act of appropriation. She has taken ownership of everything that once belonged to Antigone, primary of which is the trauma of her experience, and neatly packaged it all so that it can be delivered to us, the audience, in a palatable form. The journey of Antigone Arkhe, therefore, is that of Antigone’s attempt to reclaim what is rightfully hers.
String House is keenly interested in the practice of storytelling, and it is something we have focused on tightly in our previous theatrical work. However, examining this particular subject through the lens of race yields an even greater depth of field than what we’ve worked with before. As a mixed race artist working in the world today, I am avidly interested in how we as an artistic community tell the stories of people of color; as such, this piece raises fascinating questions for me. For instance, when are depictions of racial trauma on stage empowering, and when are they disempowering? At what point as art-makers do we cross the line from giving voice to a community’s experience into co-opting it for titillation, edification, or dramatic affect? In the terms of this particular story, whether or not the Archivist’s intentions are good or bad, right or wrong, what right does she have, at the end of the day, to Antigone’s story? All loaded questions. Difficult questions. Questions I am excited to drop into a room filled with other amazing female artists of color for some deep exploration.
– Emily Gregory, Co-founder of String House Theatre and Director of Antigone Arkhe