THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D – Featured Artist, Jeff Miller

thumbnail.jpg1. In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D? I am one of the actors in Andrea Broman’s Voices. 
 
2. Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I? For a lot of the people involved in THE NAKED I, these are the first time our stories are being told by people who are actually apart of the community. For example, so often we see cis actors cast as trans characters and being praised for it while trans actors are not being cast because they “look trans” or don’t “look trans enough” (whatever that means). This is our chance to reclaim our stories. This is by us and for us.
 
3. Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production? I’ve been performing since I was a young kid as both a musician and an actor. From putting on “concerts” using a tennis racket as a guitar and a fireplace hearth as my stage to theater performances now, I’m fortunate to have found a home with the arts. Most recently, I had the honor of being the headline performer for the Black Hills Pride Festival.

4. What social issues are important to you and how do they inform your work? 
Accessibility with captioning. A lot of the content on the internet is not accessible for everyone. As someone who is a video content creator, I think we need to do better at providing equal access and one of the things we can do is add proper captioning so all are welcome.
 

5. When not involved in this production, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies? I have a 6 year old husky mix named Aspen who is my pride and joy. Outside of hanging with the coolest pupper in town, I spend a lot of my time listening to or playing music.

 

6. Finish this sentence: I feel the most naked when……. I let someone see me past the walls I put up.

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZED performs February 2-11 at Minnsky Theatre. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets now!

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THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D – Featured Artist, Dua Saleh

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1. In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D?
This year, I am involved in THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D as a director/choreographer of a movement-based piece called “Miskeena”. I cast two movement artists (Lea Reed and Zealot Hamm), and I will also perform the song/lyrics live as a part of the ensemble. In addition, I am a featured performer in another piece in the show that is written and directed by Marcel Michelle called “Shopping for Carrots”.

2. Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I? More often than not, the narratives of LGBTQIA+ communities are explicitly omitted and excluded from theatrical productions. If our stories are told, they are often encapsulated in a manner that is reductive and tokenizing. The stories featured in this show, however, highlight nuanced readings of identity and social placement, providing a wide array of complexity and emotional range. THE NAKED I is a radical space for exploration, where LGBTQIA+ identities are highlighted to their fullest breaths.

3. Finish this sentence: I feel the most naked when… I’m performing.

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZED performs February 2-11 at Minnsky Theatre. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets now!

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D – Featured Artist, Dakota Lancour

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1. In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D? I am the backstage manager of sorts? I make sure that scene transitions happen smoothly, and that all the props are where they need to be!

2. Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I?  The stories told in THE NAKED I represent a kaleidoscope of different experiences and identities that do not always get told! And THE NAKED I makes sure to tell these stories in a respectful and honest manner that we do not often (or ever) see in mainstream media.

3. What aspects of your identity do you hope to express through your involvement with THE NAKED I?  As I am a backstage helper, my identity as a nonbinary queer person does not really come into play on stage, but my work hopefully helps all the performers express their identities in their pieces!

4. Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production?   I majored in Theatre/Dance with an emphasis in design.  So I have a lot of experience in all aspects of technical theatre. I am also a dance artist, though that doesn’t come into play in this particular production.

5. What social issues are important to you and how do they inform your work? Obviously LGBTQ rights are an important issue for me.  As a bi-racial Native American, Native and enviromental issues are also extremely important to me.  I try to bring some of these issues forward when creating dance scores, and they also inform my movement research.

6. What other artists or shows have inspired you?  I have been inspired by so many artists of all different disciplines. Jennifer Tipton has inspired my love of lighting design, Martha Graham, Buffy Sainte-Marie. Most honestly my professors from college inspired me to be creative and resourceful and honest in all I create. The shows Cabaret and Spring Awakening and of course RENT have all inspired me.

7. When not involved in this production, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies? I spend a lot of my time moving and dancing. I also play the viola and crochet and knit. And I listen to lots of podcasts!

8. Finish this sentence: I feel the most naked when….. I use words to share my thoughts and feelings.

 

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZED performs February 2-11 at Minnsky Theatre. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets now!

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D – Featured Artist, Wren Hess

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1. In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D? I’m one of the actors in “Voices” – a piece about asexuality.

2. Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I? While it’s good that there is more and more queer and trans representation in the media, I think we often get told the same gay stories and the same trans stories. This can alienate people who haven’t had that experience, not to mention those identities that don’t get much representation at all. Especially when you’re questioning an aspect of yourself, it’s amazingly helpful to see other people like you talking about the same things you’ve thought, but that you maybe never said out loud.

3. What aspects of your identity do you hope to express through your involvement with THE NAKED I? “Voices” is about asexuality, and I don’t identify as ace, but as a nonbinary trans person, I can relate to the doubt and confusion in the piece, and the relief of finally finding community.

4. Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production? I did a lot of acting in high school, but I’ve only done one show besides this during the three years I’ve been in college. That show was called Acute Care: Performing Emotional Labors, and it was a piece put together from interviews with nurses by Beth Cleary at Macalester College, where I go to school. Acute Care told stories of people who often feel unheard, like The Naked I. Some of the nurses who came to see the show told us how meaningful it was to see us talk about their lives and work. I believe The Naked I will give people that same feeling of recognition.

5. What other artists or shows have inspired you? Would it be cheesy to say I’m inspired by all the other artists working on The Naked I? I was already wowed hearing all the pieces at our first full run-through rehearsal, and I’m really excited to watch them evolve as we get closer to performances!

6. When not involved in this production, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies? I do pretty much all kinds of art that I can get my hands on. I’m majoring in art and also study geography and urban studies, so I’m always in at least one studio art class, but I also try to keep drawing and painting and doing other little projects all the time. Other things I do with my time include reading books about cities, baking, watching horror movies with my housemate, and teaching myself to play guitar.

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZED performs February 2-11 at Minnsky Theatre. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets now!

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D – Featured Artist, Johnnay Leenay

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1. In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D? I am a directing apprentice/co-directing Morning Rituals with powerhouse Lisa Marie Brimmer for the brilliant Rica De La Concha!
 
2. Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I? Queer and Trans folks need spaces dedicated to sharing their complex lived experiences with other queer and trans folks. It is crucial for us to see other people who experience similar struggles, victories, and worries and it is equally important to be able to see the spectrum of what it means to embrace these identities today. It allows the community to be vulnerable with one another and to be critical.  Stories are most powerful when they are for us, by us, and about us and The Naked I fully commits to this.
 
3. What aspects of your identity do you hope to express through your involvement with THE NAKED I? My blackness and queerness. My need to be around artists who dream far beyond this world and allow me to do the same.
 
4. Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production? I have a hard time defining myself as an artist. I am just starting to feel comfortable using the word curator and convener but that is the beauty of this production. It allows you to test, and screw up, and learn, and grow. Artist have such a special place in the world and I am trying to be as inspiring as I have been inspired.
 
5. What social issues are important to you and how do they inform your work? Some days I feel like a walking talking social issue. I am an outspoken mixed race queer feminist. All of my identities inform how I view the world and that informs how I view art. I am envisioning a world where all my identities are welcomed and embraced and art allows me to get closer and closer to this utopia that I am redefining every day.

6. What other artists or shows have inspired you?Erin Sharkey and Junauda Petrus give me goosebumps. Whatever they touch is gold. Adja Gildersleve forces me to question and embrace my blackness. Albert Conteh. His vulnerability on stage allows me to feel soft. Sun Yung Shin is my favorite person to follow on Facebook. Mackenzie Owens. If I could buy all of her work I would. I could go on and on. The Twin Cities are overflowing with talent! You aren’t paying attention if you are not inspired.

7. When not involved in this production, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies? Exploring the queer art scene, gearing up for Queertopia 2018, celebrating the 14 days of Valentine’s Day, trying to find the perfect pair of thrifted overalls, facetiming with my best friends, eating ice cream, and pretending Lena Waithe is my girlfriend.

8. Finish this sentence: I feel the most naked when…….  I feel understood.

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZED performs February 2-11 at Minnsky Theatre. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets now!

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D – Featured Artist, Allison Knauss

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1. In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZE/D? I’m one of the directing apprentices for this project, and specifically I worked on Just Google It by Aubri Drake, with director Hannah Stein.

2. Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I? These are stories that don’t get told anywhere else. We’re lucky in the Twin Cities to have several companies telling queer stories, but it’s merely a drop in the bucket of cis straight white stories. There is something magical in seeing something of yourself on stage, and THE NAKED I lets us see things we rarely ever see.

3. Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production? Most of my experience has been as a stage manager, so I generally bring an organized and precise eye to plays and projects that I’m working on. I’m excited at the opportunity to stretch my creativity through this apprentice directing role.

THE NAKED I: RECOGNIZED performs February 2-11 at Minnsky Theatre. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets now!