Jeffrey Mosser is a theatre-maker based in Chicago, IL, and Founder/Core Member of Project: Project Theatre Ensemble – a devising theatre dedicated to ensemble-based storytelling that blends scripted material with improvisation in site-specific/non-traditional spaces. Preferring creating to interpreting, they explore and experiment with form, participation, and the role of the audience.
Previously as Social Media and Community Outreach Director for the Plays for Presidents Festival he helped coordinate the largest election-year theatrical event in the United States since the Federal Theatre Project’s It Can’t Happen Here: 46 productions of 44 Plays for 44 Presidents in communities across the country.
Favorite directing credits include Shiver: A Fairytale of Anxious Proportions1 1. A Phobic Folklorist Fugues the Fuck Out, How May I Connect You? (Or, Scenes in the Key of D:\) and What Are You Doing Here? with Project: Project Theatre Ensemble, bobraushenbergamerica at the National High School Institute, 44 Plays for 44 Presidents at Bad Habit Productions, T: An MBTA Musical (Broadway World Best Musical, Best Director 2011, 2012) at American Repertory Theatre’s Club Oberon, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (DASH: Best Director Nominee) at the Footlight Club, and Imagination and A Threepenny Space Opera at Actors Theatre of Louisville.
In pursuit of better understanding new play creation he has trained with Liz Lerman, Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training, Augusto Boal, ImprovBoston, Dominique Serrand, Giovanni Fusetti, Double Edge Theater, and the inmates from Shakespeare Behind Bars located within a medium-security prison. His ten-minute play Love, Death and Latex was a finalist for the 2012 Heideman Award, and has been performed at the Source Festival in Washington D.C. He has assisted or observed new play development at Lookingglass Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, O’Neill Theater Center, Boston Children’s Theater, and Actors Theatre of Louisville with directors and playwrights including Mary Zimmerman, Aaron Posner, Jessica Thebus, Jamie Castañeda, Trip Cullman, Anne Bogart, Kirk Lynn, David Catlin, Israel Hicks, Mark Masterson, and Sean Daniels.
(Education and Producing Resumes are available upon request.)
And now, a list of beliefs to be completed by a performer in the dark to an audience with a flashlight.
(The Performer invites an Audience of one or more into a room. They ask one Audience member to hold a flashlight. The Performer then turns out the light. As the text is spoken, The Performer completes pushups or other strenuous activity. To optimize your experience, print this out first.)
PERFORMER: Can you please turn the light on.
(If they don’t turn the light on, the performance is over. If they do, please continue.)
Can you please shine it on my paper.
I believe that the medium of theatre is culture.
I believe that every human condition is a culture worthy of art.
I believe that the human condition is best explored through fantastic events. I believe fantastic events can be ordinary made extraordinary via theatrical qualities and human virtuosity.
I believe that humans are virtuosos and I am fascinated when you are fascinated.
I believe that the mundane has tremendous untapped potential.
I believe that theatre can frequently accomplish a better connection with Lo-Tech, Hi-Energy. Thanks for holding the light.
I believe that every rehearsal room is the chance to create a utopian society.
I believe that my sleeves should always be rolled up because there is always work to do.
I believe that no art happens without a time limit.
I believe that we all have the ability to express ourselves. That everyone can write, that everyone can create. I believe that generation and performance is possible by and from everyone.
I believe that theatre is about relationships. Actor/Actor. Actor/Audience. Audience/Audience.
I believe that the act of touching is an act of giving life.
I believe that the fourth wall is fucked up.
I believe that anyone who says improv isn’t art because it can’t be repeated isn’t someone I want to have over for dinner.
I believe in the fantastic, the postdramatic, and the anachronistic as ways for the audience to not only see themselves on stage, but understand themselves. To question their own ideas about themselves, and to realize the freedom that performers have isn’t so far away from their own.
I believe that Viola Spolin was right when she wrote:
(Hand this text to an audience member and kindly ask, “Can you read the highlighted part?”)
AUDIENCE: “The role of the audience must become a concrete part of theatre training.” (Thank you, Audience. Please hand this text back to The Performer to finish reading.)
PERFORMER: In fact, I still cry sometimes when I read pages 12-14 in her book Improvisation for the Theatre.
I believe that the only way to know if I actually believe in something on stage, and in life, is if I have a physiological reaction to it.
I believe that every audience member’s role is unique, just as every character played by every actor.
I believe that the audience wants the play to succeed, and their role, the work they do as the audience, is to support the outcome that they hope for. I want to put the audience into this place of engagement. You do want me to continue doing push-ups, yes?
I believe that every audience member is encountering something in a place that you nor I can ever fully understand. The things that make us unique are our experiences, our relationships, and how we choose to spend our excess energy. In other words, the things that make those audience members unique is capital-L “Life” and capital-L “Love.” The same goes for characters.
I believe the imagination of the audience is more powerful than the electricity powering a lighting instrument.
I believe that every moment on stage is bigger than it is, because it is exactly what it is and simultaneously representing something greater. And if it isn’t, then I am disappointed.
Please turn the light off.
(The Audience assistant ideally turns off the flashlight.)
I believe in the dark, we become more human because we know anything can happen.
I believe we can attain this in the theatre.