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View a video interview with Chris: http://vimeo.com/24238209
CPAC: Who or what has influenced you locally and elsewhere?
Chris: I have been influenced by numerous artists and theatre companies: In Cleveland, the work of Theatre Labyrinth and Wishhounds, Holly Holsinger, Raymond Bobgan, Jaime Bouvier, Mike Geither, Sarah Morton and Eric Alleman. I am also excited by new work from Faye and Joan Hargate, Renee Schilling and Jeremy Paul. In Chicago I was very inspired by New Crime Theatre and Steppenwolf, all the women of the Baubo Performance Project, and the people I worked with in Jellyeye Drum Theatre.
CPAC: How do you generate new ideas?
Chris: I generate new ideas through free writing and group collaborative exercises. Whether I am working with adult professionals, the inner city teens of Cleveland Public Theatre’s STEP program, or the homeless women of the Women’s Voices Project, the artistic process is basically the same: mining personal experience to generate dynamic movement and compelling text.
CPAC: What is the hardest part about creating?
Chris: The hardest part about creating is facing anything that threatens to slow my momentum. I must continue to train my body and my voice, write, teach, push my own boundaries, and question myself. I have to keep moving. Each day I become more aware of how short and precious life is.
CPAC: What is the best moment you have had creating or presenting your work?
Chris: I made a multi-media solo show called Cut to Pieces with Raymond Bobgan (Director/Co-Creator) and Spencer Padilla (Video Designer) which ran last spring at CPT. Every night of that show I sweat buckets and told our truth. Very rarely in my life have I felt so completely alive.
CPAC: Why have you chosen Cuyahoga County as a place to live and work?
Chris: I am a Cleveland native who spent ten years working and studying in Chicago. I decided to settle here in 2001 after I met James Levin, founder of Cleveland Public Theatre, and began collaborating with artists Raymond Bobgan and Holly Holsinger. I resonate with the mission of CPT – to raise consciousness and nurture compassion through groundbreaking performances and life-changing educational programs – and I feel deeply inspired by the staff and all the people who have made CPT what it is today.
CPAC: What is your favorite place, event, or “hidden gem” in Cuyahoga County?
Chris: My favorite places in Cuyahoga County are the revitalized green spaces and public art installations initiated by LAND studio (formerly ParkWorks and Cleveland Public Art) - especially the Blue Bird project in my Detroit Shoreway neighborhood - and any place where residents have planted their own flowers or urban gardens. And of course I love CPT– I think it’s still a hidden gem.