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November 2007
ELEVEN QUESTIONS WITH MICHELLE BRANDT
1. What is your code name?
Peanut.

2. What is your personal slogan?
“That’s ridiculous.”

3. Do you have an allegiance to any particular fictional character, cartoon, or celebrity?
Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

4. What is the first thing you'd buy with a million dollar inheritance from a long-lost relative?
Party at my new house!

5. If you could have a super-power, what would it be?
The ability to breathe underwater.

6. What were you hoping no one would find out about you?
My inability to parallel park.

7. What would be the title of your first book?
Living with Dos Jesus’.

8. What are your power foods?
Bananas and cranberry juice.

9. What are some of your favorite quotes?
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” - Jimi Hendrix.

10. Finally, are you a ninja, a pirate, or a cowboy?
Ninja, for sure.

11. Do you “double” as anything else?
A stand-up comedian!

November 2007
THIRTEEN QUESTIONS WITH TOM COINER
1. What is your code name?
Agent Artom, 006.

2. What is your personal slogan?
“Where’s my..?”

What is your spirit animal?
Bear.

4. Are you a ninja, a pirate, or a cowboy?
Cowboy.

5. Do you have an allegiance to any particular fictional character, cartoon, or celebrity?
Jimmy Stewart.

6. If you could have a super-power, what would it be?
The power to drive ten feet above the other cars.

7. What were you hoping no one would find out about you?
My vasovagal.

8. Do you “double” as anything else?
An apron.

9. What is your theme song?
High and Dry, by Radiohead.

10. What is your power food?
Cheeseburgers.

11. What are some of your favorite quotes?
“I am almost completely confused practically all of the time.”
- My dad.

12. Since you’ve figured out everyone else, what kind of HOUSE are YOU?
I am a farmhouse!

13. What would be the title of your first book?
Neuroticism, or How We Are Just Checking to Make Sure We’re Still Kinda Sexy, Right?

November 2007
THIRTEEN QUESTIONS WITH LISA DEL ROSARIO
1. What is your code name?
Cat with 9 lives.

2. What is your personal slogan?
“Change is happening.”

3. What is your spirit animal?
Spider.

4. So is Jude’s! Have you ever been bitten by a spider?
Yes, a brown recluse… twice within 3 months in 2007!

5. Do you have an allegiance to any particular fictional character, cartoon, or celebrity?
Betty Suarez / America Ferrera.

6. What is the first thing you'd buy with a million dollar inheritance from a long-lost relative?
Green building materials and land for a wellness center with some awesome studios.

7. If you could have a super-power, what would it be?
To take away suffering.

8. What were you hoping no one would find out about you?
My guilty pleasure for pumpkin spice lattes from Starsucks.

9. What would be the title of your first book?
What Is Your Own Unique Path?

10. What are some of your favorite quotes?
"May all beings be happy." - S.N. Goenka.
"Dance like no one's watching." - Anonymous.
"Whhaaaa???" - Kirk German in Mrs. Bob Cratchit…

11. What is your power food?
Any kind of cabbage!

12. What is your theme song?
Jeff Buckley's version of Bob Dylan's I Shall Be Released.

13. Finally, are you a ninja, a pirate, or a cowboy?
Ninja....Hiiii-yaa!!!

Saturday, February 23, 2008
THIRTEEN QUESTIONS WITH STEPHANIE DENSON
1. What is your code name?
Llamaface.

2. So then your spirit animal must be a…?
Llama!

3. What is your personal slogan?
“Don’t be a hero.”

4. Do you have an allegiance to any particular fictional character, cartoon, or celebrity?
Baloo from The Jungle Book!

5. What is the first thing you'd buy with a million dollar inheritance from a long-lost relative?
I already bought a scooter. Maybe new mats for DA?

6. Good answer! If you could have a super-power, what would it be?
Flying. Unimaginative, I know.

7. What were you hoping no one would find out about you?
My second belly button. I’m kidding…No, I’m not…Yeah…

8. What would be the title of your first book?
That Ain’t Right.

9. What are your power foods?
Chocolate and homemade popcorn.

10. What are some of your favorite quotes?
“If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.”
“It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.”
“If you hold on tight to what you think is your thing, you may find you’re missing all the rest.”
“If you should die before me, ask if you could bring a friend.”

11. What is your theme song?
Circus music!

12. So are you a ninja, a pirate, or a cowboy?
Me loves the open seas, arrrr!!!

13. you “double” as anything else?
A sexy secretary…

January 2011
Kirk Hears the Darnedest Things
After introducing and mediating performances of Heron + Crane over three different production seasons, from central Austin to downtown Manhattan, from Pflugerville to Florence, you'd think I'd be ready for anything... But with each location and every show, I always encounter a new surprise. There always manages to be at least one kid who says something unexpected and delightful. Whether shocking, moving, hilarious, or just plain random, it's a special (and sometimes humbling) experience to encounter the honesty of children in this context. Here's a sampling of a few (twelve, to be exact) of my favorite responses that kids have made during Heron + Crane. ''From the mouths of babes,'' as they say...

12.
''You are a rabbit! You! Are! A! RABBIT!!''
One little boy in Manor was convinced that a heron was a kind of rabbit, not a bird at all. He was very frustrated when Michelle put on wings, so he just couldn't hold back from demanding that she look like a rabbit instead (until his teacher calmed him down)... I guess he was thinking of a ''hare?''

11.
''Snakes! Snakes!''
This was at Florence elementary in response to Jude asking "What kinds of animals are herons and cranes?" Or maybe the child was just expressing a deep-seated phobia? Jude went along with it and started hissing...

10.
''Well, I'm a vegetarian, so I don't eat fish.''
A very poised young lady at Bryker Woods was so concerned about the birds' natural eating habits that she wasn't able to answer whatever question I'd actually asked. I quickly assured her that one of the actors was a vegetarian, too, and that it was only his character who ate fish... as waterfowl do in the wild. She wasn't remotely appeased.



9.
''My mommy and I like to make cupcakes together.''
I always try to get the kids to suggest an activity that Heron and Crane could enjoy together in their effort to get along, which the actors then improvise. This was one of my favorite suggestions from our VORTEX run, since it involved the revelation of Heron's invisible kitchen in the swamp, which apparently included a quick-bake oven.

8.
''Hey, my name is Sammy!''
A kid in New York was really excited that he shared a first name with our Fringe venue manager. He raised his hand at the very beginning of the show to share this information with me, right as I'd entered and was about to introduce out the actors. Instead, Sammy (the kid, not the venue manager) introduced me to his entire family (I don't remember their names).

7.
''I like to go to school to get away from my mom.''
An older student in New York, when asked what some of their favorite activities were. I agree with the Wall Street Journal that this response was one ''can of worms'' not to touch. After the audience laughter died down, I said ''OK'' and moved on... (I mean, the mom was right there!)

6.
''They should kiss!''
From a precious pre-kindergartner at Menchaca elementary, at the very top of the talk-back section. I was about to ask ''Why do you think Heron and Crane are having trouble being friends?'' I told him that this was an excellent solution for a different kind of story...

5.
''Well, she's beautiful, and he's... hahahaha... he's... hahahaha... he's CRAZY!!''
An enthusiastic girl who came to our workshop at the Children's Museum of Manhattan was so tickled by the show what she could barely get out the words to answer my query of ''what do you notice that's different about the characters?'' Her answer was certainly accurate-- but personally, I think that they're BOTH beautiful and BOTH crazy.

4.
''Oh, I've read this... Is this the story about the wolf who gets a bone caught in its throat?''
Another top-of-the show response, from a student in Round Rock who very politely raised his hand as soon as he learned that the story was a Russian folk-tale. I think I may have disappointed him when I told him there was no wolf in this show...

3.
''Bird costumes.''
This was from Pleasant Hill, and is possibly the only time I've seen Michelle almost laugh on stage. She'd just inquired ''What would we need to look like birds?'' We've actually heard this response a few times since then, but that first time was unforgettable, said as it was so matter-of-factly. (Usually the kids say ''feather'' or ''wings.'')

2.
''Um, they're both white.''
This curve-ball came after I asked what Jude (who's Hispanic) and Lisa (who's Filipino) have in common. So far, the only time I ever invalidated a kid's response; after several seconds of a stunned pause, I finally said "Actually, they're not."

1.
''They both have a heart.''
This answer literally took my breath away; a little bilingual boy in the back row of what was probably our most engaged and involved audience ever, at Oak Springs in East Austin, said this in response to the same question. I had to take a moment to hold back the tears. With that simple answer, I knew for sure that our show was accomplishing something special in its quest to help kids articulate the importance of diversity and compassion.


November 2007
THIRTEEN QUESTIONS WITH JUDE HICKEY
1. What is your code name?
Mountaineer.

2. What is your personal slogan?
“I am but a spirit, floating through this world.”

3. What is your spirit animal?
The spider.

4. Are you a ninja, a pirate, or a cowboy?
Cowboy.

5. Do you have an allegiance to any particular fictional character, cartoon, or celebrity?
Hiro Nakamura (of Heroes).

6. If you could have a super-power, what would it be?
The ability to find all weapons and make them disappear…for-evah!

7. What were you hoping no one would find out about you?
My gas problem.

8. What is your power food?
Black beans.

9. What would be the title of your first book?
Why, God… Did You Create the French Fry?!

10. What are some of your favorite quotes?
“I’m not a people person” – from Batman.

11. What is your theme song?
Hey, Jude (of course)!

12. What is the first thing you'd buy with a million dollar inheritance from a long-lost relative?
A plane to Argentina, or my family’s financial freedom.

13. Finally, if you could meet one famous person, who would it be and why?
Jesus. I would ask him to clarify a couple of things.

February 2010

Artistic Director Heather Huggins discusses her philosophy of teaching.
We are all capable of excellence; pursuing that excellence requires a flexible, adaptable, and holistic approach to processing information. My classroom is a space where students can ask questions of themselves and the world around them so that they may make discerning choices both on-stage and off. To achieve this, I utilize curricula designed in the spirit of an incremental learning model.

One of my favorite exercises for incremental actor training is weight-sharing. In the first stage, students stand facing each other, a foot or so apart; they each outstretch a hand and then lean back with straight bodies until they find a place of balance using a shared equilibrium. Initially, this appears to be a primitive exercise in trust and an opportunity for actors to understand the physics of their own skeletal structure; but upon deeper exploration, it is an opportunity to understand who we are as actors and as humans. It is an invitation to commune with yourself -- to develop body and spatial awareness, to examine circles of attention, to observe (and perhaps let go of) your own attachment to the outcome of the exercise, and to acknowledge a variety of mental reactions (such as fear, control, disappointment, or pride). Furthermore, trying the exercise again with a new partner or on a new day becomes an opportunity to explore the immediacy of performance in an instant: no two partners are the same, every student is unique, and there are no identical moments on stage. Every time the exercise is practiced, it is a fresh chance to foster a spirit of immediacy. This exercise in skill-building also positively addresses several frequent pitfalls of the aspiring actor: the tendency to play the end of the scene, or to miss the present moment by focusing on the latest perceived "success" or "failure". With time, this introductory exercise can be applied to advanced weight-sharing and further ensemble development. The versatility and applicability of weight-sharing are limitless; the exercises are fertile ground for understanding ourselves, relationships, ensemble, community, and the world around us.

Weight-sharing is a perfect metaphor for my ideal teaching experience: I provide students with a historically established method, then let them try it out for themselves, problem-solve, and share resources. I offer guidance and a structure, but ultimately I encourage each student to make choices, take risks, and make the experience their own. I have learned all this and more from my time in the classroom; as I continue to dedicate my life to teaching, I know I will learn even more, and I look forward to greeting these lessons with the same open spirit that I hope to instill in my students.

May the beauty of what you love, be what you do. - Rumi


January 2011
THIRTEEN QUESTIONS WITH RHONDA KULHANEK
1. What is your codename?
THE QUEEN.

2. What is your personal slogan?
TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL.

3. Are you a ninja, a pirate, or a cowboy?
AVAST, YE! I BE MOST DEFINITELY A PIRATE!!!

4. Do you have an allegiance to any cartoon character or celebrity?
YES! CAROL BURNETT, LUCILLE BALL, and SNOOPY.

5. What is the first thing you'd buy with a million dollar inheritance from a long-lost relative?
A YORK PEPPERMINT PATTY, because they're so refreshing and have 70% less fat than other chocolate candies... and then, A HOUSE!

6. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
TO HEAL PEOPLE.

7. What were you hoping no one would find out about?
THAT TIME I WON A BOY GEORGE LOOK-ALIKE CONTEST! (Hey, it was the 80's!)

8. What or who do you double as?
DUH, BOY GEORGE!

Of course... 9. What will be the title of your first book?
THE MOMMY CONFESSIONS: UNCENSORED.

10. What is your power food?
CHEESE.

Mmmm, good choice. And lactose-tolerant! ...11. What are a few of your favorite quotes?
PEOPLE WILL FORGET WHAT YOU SAID, PEOPLE WILL FORGET WHAT YOU DID, BUT PEOPLE WILL NEVER FORGET HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL. ~ Maya Angelou

NEVER BE AFRAID TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF; AFTER ALL, YOU COULD BE MISSING OUT ON THE JOKE OF THE CENTURY. ~Dame Edna Everage

12. What's your theme song?
AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH.

13. And last but not least, what's your spirit animal?
I HAVE TO AGREE WITH THE REST OF DA!-- A BLUE-FOOTED BOOBY!

Thanks, Rhonda! Great answers... And welcome to DA!


December 2009
FIVE QUESTIONS ABOUT TAYLOR KULHANEK POSED TO DA!
1. What took you so long getting a Resident Stage Manager?
Well, we kept putting our stage managers onstage, like Robin, Stephanie & Kirk.

2. But it sounds like you want to put Taylor onstage, too?
Good point. But you see, you just haven't seen her video series that took the web by storm. She's clearly meant to perform. So, we'll just have to clone her.

3. And, is it true that she's actually worked for you before?
Yes. She stage managed Leave it to Beverly and also went with the team to NYC for Heron & Crane at FringeNYC. Collectively, these shows involved 833 props, including play-doh "placenta balls","dancing" utensils, several square yards of Astroturf, pumpkins, rakes, fish... And the NYC trip had to travel. On a plane.

4. Was that some type of hazing?
No comment.

5. What do you have in store for her in the future?
We're not at liberty to disclose... but here's a hint: American Sign Language. Rainbow Ribbons. Eternal Flame by the Bangles.

Alrighty then... Welcome to DA!, Taylor!

February 2008
THIRTEEN QUESTIONS WITH JAMIE RHODES
1. What is your code name?
James. Or Pinkie

2. What is your personal slogan?
“Your life is what you LET is be.”

3. What is your spirit animal?
A bunny!!!

4. Do you have an allegiance to any particular fictional character, cartoon, or celebrity?
My childhood hero, MacGyver.

5. What is the first thing you'd buy with a million dollar inheritance from a long-lost relative?
A house for my son Louie-Bean and an amazing trip to Disney World.

6. If you could have a super-power, what would it be?
Teleportation. It would just save so much time.

7. What were you hoping no one would find out about you?
My giggle fits! Heh, heh, heh, a little late, I think...

8. What would be the title of your first book?
The Art of Being.

9. What is your power food?
Does coffee count? No, really the bad stuff in moderation: pizza, burgers, Twizzlers (I looooove Twizzlers).

10. What are some of your favorite quotes?
“Sometimes you just feel like a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest but you gotta keep kickin' over-off-and-up-and-in there.”

11. What is your theme song?
Somewhere Over The Rainbow / What a Wonderful World as performed by Israel “Iz” Ka’ano’i Kamakawiwo’ole.

12. Are you a ninja, a pirate, or a cowboy?
I am all things; I am one with the universe.

13. Wait! …How can you be a ninja, pirate, and a cowboy all at the same time?
I am far too faceted to just hold one role. I am a ninja when I dance, walk, clean, drive, and when I'm teaching my son about life. I am a pirate when I treat myself to a day of relaxation, and sometimes in my relationships with men, or when I'm running errands, gardening, doing laundry, and when I'm teaching my son about life. I’m a cowboy when I'm grocery shopping, cooking, eating, out on the range, or going for a stroll (which is not regular walking!)… and when I'm teaching my son about life.

Saturday, February 23, 2008
THIRTEEN QUESTIONS WITH SCOTT ROSKILLY
1. What is your code name?
Rosco.

2. What is your personal slogan?
“No worries.”

3. What is your spirit animal?
A mountain lion.

4. Do you have an allegiance to any particular fictional character, cartoon, or celebrity?
Scooby-Doo!

5. What is the first thing you'd buy with a million dollar inheritance from a long-lost relative?
A large house in town to support a little hippie community that was self-sustaining. Anybody wanna’ join?

6. If you could have a super-power, what would it be?
Telekinesis.

7. What were you hoping no one would find out about you?
That one time at band camp…

8. What would be the title of your first book?
The Migration of the Midwest.

9. What is your power food?
Peanuts.

10. What are some of your favorite quotes?
“...lean down stream, the rock is your friend…”

11. What is your theme song?
The Greatest American Hero.

12. Wait! …How can you be a ninja, pirate, and a cowboy all at the same time?
A mode of transportation.

12. Finally, are you a ninja, a pirate, or a cowboy?
A cowboy, but no, I don't eat pudding.

February 2008
NINE QUESTIONS WITH ROBIN GRACE THOMPSON
1. What is your personal slogan?
“I am. I will. I choose. I love. I thrive. I create.”

2. What are your spirit animals?
Song birds and koi fish.

3. If you could have a super-power, what would it be?
To breathe underwater.

4. What would be the title of your first book?
The Mud Dauber Archives. (It’s my autobiography about all the memories storied in my parents’ attic: Rolling Stones ticket stubs, high school poetry, old marriage licenses, et cetera… all covered in dust and mud dauber nests.)

5. What is your power food?
Hot or iced herbal tea.

6. Are you a ninja, a pirate, or a cowboy?
Cowboy!

7. What are some of your favorite quotes?
“What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible." - Vincent Van Gogh. "There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost." -Martha Graham.
8. What is your theme song?
Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now or End Of The Line by the Travelling Wilburys.

9. What is the first thing you'd buy with a million dollar inheritance from a long-lost relative?
204 Parklane Drive, my Grandparents’ old house. I would buy it, fix it back to the way it used to be, and host a huge Thompson Thanksgiving… just like we used to.
Heron and Crane
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