THE FORGOTTEN LANGUAGE OF THE HANDSHAKE or THE TORSO PLAY

Creative Team

Cast

Jenna Morris (Sachs) is thrilled to be working with The Landing Theatre again, having previously performed in Ms. Emma Mole for their 2019 New American Voices Playwriting Festival.  She most recently appeared with Mildred’s Umbrella in Ladies’ Night with Samuel Beckett as Mouth in Not I, for which she was a finalist for best actress in the Houston Press Theatre Awards.  Additional credits include Boston Marriage with Dirt Dog Theatre Company; Antony & Cleopatra and Mr. Burns, a post-electric play at Obsidian Theater; Insomnia Café with Cone Man Running; and Rabbit Hole (finalist for best supporting actress in the Houston Press Theatre Awards), The Memory of Water, and Saturn Returns, among others at Theatre Southwest.

Marc Alba (Mac) is a Houston based actor with a passion for bringing voice to the voiceless. Recent Houston roles include Enzo in Borderlands (Stages’ Sin Muros Play Festival) and Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank (Mainstreet Theatre). Other roles and shows include: Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Echo in The Love of the Nightingale, Godspell, Smokey Joe’s Café, and directing Dying City at Sam Houston State University. Outside of theatre, Marc is a cofounder, writer, and director for the podcast company Honeystack Studios, as well as a playwright who aims to tell stories for those who don’t get their voices heard. Marc graduated from SHSU in 2020 with a BFA in Musical Theatre.

Arianna Case (Sarah) is board secretary and a company member of Mildred’s Umbrella; where she has appeared in: The Happiest Song Plays Last (Yaz), Ladies Night (Flo – Come and Go), Dark Matter (Andromeda/Mary Jones), Dollface (Medusa), The Other Woman (Layton), Cassandra (Chorus/Polyxena), Carnival Round the Central Figure (Kate). Houston Credits: Pulsate: A Vampire Musical (Prov) at Prohibition Theatre. Stages Repertory Theater: The Corrido of the San Patricios (Various) The Catastrophic Theater: Rhinoceros (Grocer’s Wife); The Landing Theater Company: Caught (Joyce/Curator); New American Voices (Miss Emma Mole); AD Players: The Miracle Worker (Vinney); Obsidian Theatre: A Drag Christmas Carol (Mrs. Persnickety/Handmaid); 14 Pews: Dialogues on Grace (Narrator); Alley Theatre: HYPE (Various); HITS: Hairspray (Prudy Pingleton); Music Box Theater: The Rocky Horror Show (Columbia), Little Shop of Horrors (Ronette); Queensbury Theater: The Music Man in Concert (Alma Hix), The Diary of Anne Frank (Miep Gies); The Taming (Patricia); Bayou City Concert Musicals: Promises, Promises (backup singer), One Touch of Venus, The Pajama Game (Ensemble), and The New Girl in Town (Mol). Arianna received her B.A. from Stephen F. Austin State University.

Lyndsay Sweeney (Guidance) is thrilled to be working with the Landing Theatre and helping to give a voice to an exciting new work of art! Lyndsay is an independent actor and teaches Theatre to PK-1st graders in FBISD. Acting credits include- The Landing Theatre Company: How I Learned to Drive (Houston Press Best Supporting Actress); Mildred’s Umbrella (company member): The Moors, The Flu Season, Large Animal Games, Dark Matter, etc.; Classical Theatre Company: Lysistrata, Henry V, The Birds; Catastrophic Theatre: Middletown; The Alley: Pygmalion, Mrs. Warren’s Profession; A.D. Players: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever; Main Street Theater: Translations, Mr. Pim Passes By, Anastasia Krupnik; Texas Repertory Theatre: Romeo & Juliet, Always, Patsy Cline, Crimes of the Heart (Houston Press Best Supporting Actress Nomination), Thoroughly Modern Millie, Our Town, etc.; Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble: A Winter’s Tale (Hermione), Pericles (Marina), Coriolanus. Lyndsay also created a one-woman show, “Shakespeare’s Women: Gnawing at My Soul”, produced by Theatre Collide & performed at MST & at TETA as an invited Guest Artist. She earned her MFA at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. Thankful! 

Victoria Nicolette Gist (Stage Directions & Costume Design Assistant) received a B.F.A. in Theatre Performance from Baylor University and an M.F.A. in Costume Design from the University of Houston.  In addition to having a passion for costumes, designing numerous productions in Houston - including From White Plains (Thunderclap Productions), Pass Over, The Children (Rec Room), The Book of Magdalene, and The Hard Problem (Main Street Theater) -  Victoria has a passion for new play development.  From 2018 to 2020, Victoria served as a Script Reader for the Alley Theatre’s New Work department and costumed two workshops for the 2020 Alley All New Festival, Enlightened and Survivors, an Alamo Play.  Victoria can be seen in the critically acclaimed short film Shotgun and features My Father Is A Tyrannosaurus Rex, Closet Memories, and In Paradise, the latter of which she also Costume Designed. 

Production Team

Kelsey McMillan (Director) is a director of plays and musicals originally from Austin, TX. She relocated in 2015 and is now based in Houston. She is in her second year working towards an MIS in Arts Entrepreneurship at Stephen F. Austin State University. Most recently, she directed Blood Wedding for San Jacinto College. Before that, she directed All Through the House, The New Sincerity, Love/Sick, Becky Shaw, Belleville, and No Exit with Firecracker Productions. She also directed The Feast, A Drag Christmas Carol, The Evil Dead, The Last Five Years, Mr. Burns, 1984, and El Nogalar with Obsidian Theatre. This is Kelsey's second time directing for Landing Theatre's New American Voices; she enjoyed directing The Last Train for the Developmental Reading Series in 2019.

Madison Elaine Sutton (Stage Manager) has stage managed Wakey, Wakey (Catastrophic Theatre White Plains (Thunderclap); A Picture of Two Boys, Daphne in the Laurel, The Ark is a Metaphor, The Whole Shaker of Salt, Talking is Hard, We Don't Do Coke, Backseat, First Pregnancy Scare (The Quarantine Series); The Grand Ol' Christmas Show (Grand Ol' Production - Texas Tour);); The Carrier, 10 Minute Play Festival 2020, The Nest, 10 Minute Play Festival 2019, Mr. Marmalade, Twelfth Night (University of Houston).  She has been a General Management Internship-2020 Season (Alley Theatre), Company/Production Manager-2020 (Opera Steamboat). She received a BFA in Stage Management from the University of Houston.

Danielle Aldea Hodges (Scenic Designer) is a Houston based artist and designer working in many mediums and creative outlets. She has enjoyed a freelance career as a muralist, visual artist, set designer, costume designer, puppetry artisan, movement performer and choreographer. Danielle holds a B.S. in interdisciplinary studies from Cornell University, B.F.A. in Set and Costume Design from Syracuse University, and an M.A Arts Leadership and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from University of Houston. Danielle has collaborated with many Houston based arts organizations including Mainstreet Theater, Houston Arts Alliance, Mildred’s Umbrella, HUE Mural Fest, A.D. Players, Magpies & Peacocks, and ROCO. Out of state collaborators include, Syracuse Stage, Cortland Repertory Theatre, Syracuse Dance Theatre, Cornell University, Open Hand Puppet Theatre, and The City of Ithaca. She is passionate about abstract painting, historical fashion, fabric dying, and papier mâché. Danielle’s favorite credits include HellCab, Set Design-Costume Design (University of Houston-Downtown); West Side Story, Set Design (AD Players); Sunset Floral Sunrise Floral, 2D Relief (HAA-Caydon); It’s a Wonderful Life, Costume Design (A.D. Players); The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Costume Design (A.D. Players); Charlotte’s Web, Costume Design (A.D. Players); Beyond The Dust, Public Art Mural (The City of Ithaca). Merrily We Roll Along, Costume Design (SU Drama); CATS, Properties Design (Cortland Repertory Theatre); and Fuddy Meers, Set Design (SU Drama). Danielle’s creative style whimsically celebrates people, place, and nature, while investigating the power of imagination. With each project, Danielle aims to honor diversity and connect communities through the arts. 

Paige A. Willson (Costume Designer) is a Professor of Costume Design and Technology University of Houston, and freelance costume and mask designer for theatre, dance and performance art.  She received her BFA in 1994 at University of Louisiana-Lafayette in Performing Arts Dance Choreographic Design, and MFA in 2002 at University of Houston in Theatre - Costume, Lighting and Scenic Design.  She was a founding member of the Dancers’ Group in Lafayette, Louisiana from 1995-1999.  Her choreography explored the distortion of the human form and how mask and costume integrated into movement. An internationally known Mask and Crafts artisan, her dye, mask and millinery work has been seen in shows around the country and in curated exhibitions.  Recent projects include being one of the lead designers for the U.S. National Exhibit Space for the Prague Quadrennial 2019, Prague, Czech Republic, titled Concordance. Publications include The Encyclopedia of Musicians and Bands on Film, and Dracula’s Daughters; Chapter 3: Alienation, Essentialism, and Existentialism through Technique: An Analysis of Set Design, Lighting, Costume, and Music in Dracula’s Daughter and Nadja.  Costume Credits: Houston Shakespeare Festival: Henry 4.1, Two Gentleman of Verona, A Midsummer Night's Dream 2010, 2002, Much Ado about Nothing, Othello, The Tempest, As You Like it, The Taming of the Shrew 2011, 2004, The Winter’s Tale. Generations: A Theatre Company: Sweeney Todd. Karen Stokes Dance: Purple. Stephan Koplowitz Task Force:  Natural Acts in Artificial Water, Stages Repertory Theatre: Panto Hansel and Gretel, A.D. Players: The Hiding Place, Sound of Music, Main St. Theatre: Daisey, Relatively Speaking, Elliot A Soldiers Fugue.

www.paigeawillson.com

Andrew Vance (Lighting Designer) is a Houston based lighting designer, and has designed lights for more than 100 productions. Recent credits include Alley All New Festival 2020, Alley All New Festival 2019, An Act of God, and the HYPE Festival [Alley Theatre], Lysistrata [Classical Theatre] A Lie of the Mind and The Graduate [Dirt Dogs Theatre Company], The Whipping Man and Biloxi Blues [Omaha Playhouse], Much Ado About Nothing, Small Mouth Sounds, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The God Game [4th Wall Theatre/Stark Naked Theatre], Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play and The Motherf**ker with the Hat [Obsidian Theatre], and Rock Nativity, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Miracle Worker, Wedding Belles, The 39 Steps, Godspell, The Diary of Anne Frank, Arsenic & Old Lace, Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, and The Beams are Creaking [A.D. Players]. He was resident lighting designer for te Omaha Theatre Company and Omaha Ballet from 2002-2006. Favorites there include Stuart Little, Seussical, Dracula, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Nutcracker, and the annual Confetti dance program. Andrew has his BFA in Lighting Design from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  More information at www.andrewvancelighting.com

Nina Saunders (Sound Designer) Nina Saunders (Sound Designer) is a second year MFA Theatre and MA Arts Leadership graduate student at the University of Houston and a 500 hour certified yoga teacher who specializes in Trauma Informed Therapeutic Theatre.  Prior to UofH, she worked for 15 years as a high school theatre educator at Goose Creek Memorial High School in Texas, and Los Alamos High School and Santa Fe High School in New Mexico.  Prior to teaching, she worked in professional theatre as a director, lighting designer, and sound designer including working with the Tony Award-winning sound designer, Rob Kaplowitz, at the Eugene O'Neil Theatre Center.  She is a national sound design winner from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, a Client Care Specialist at Houston Creative Arts Therapy, a wife, and a mother of two amazing boys.