Ray Caspio

"a shapeshifter of an actor" - Cleveland Plain Dealer

Filtering by Category: teaching

The Art of Storytelling Returns to the Cleveland Museum of Art

Four Saturdays, February 6–27, 2016, 11:00–1:30 p.m., with a final storyteller’s showcase on Saturday, February 27, 2:00, Lecture Hall. Led by Ray Caspio (writing & performance) and Laura Mlakar (writing).

"Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced teller of tales, this four-week workshop challenges you to find new depths in both art and yourself as you craft, polish, and perform a personal narrative inspired by works on view at the museum. With exercises in performance, writing, and more, discover how art can become a catalyst for powerful stories and personal expression. Can’t make the workshop? Join the storytellers as they share their stories in a final showcase on February 27."

Registration & workshop information can be found at the Cleveland Museum of Art's website:
http://www.clevelandart.org/learn/workshop/art-storytelling

Last March I asked eight people, anonymously, to write what their goal in The Art of Storytelling was.

•"To create a moving or funny story + have the courage to tell it."
•"To shape a story that will be theatrical and enlightening."
•"Fun"
•"To refine writing style to better connect with people, make story more enticing, engaging, relevant."
•"Learn how to select events from my own + other's lives that would form a compelling story, and how to describe those events."
•"Create a piece. Surprise myself."
•"Make the ghosts of my family storytellers proud of me. To do it well."
•"To create a strong image of feeling in another's head. As well as learn techniques in both writing and performing arts."

It's pretty safe to say these goals were surpassed. Last year's inaugural storytellers took huge risks and were fearless in their writing and performances. This diverse group, ranging in age from 14 to 60, created moving, hilarious, and poignant pieces, and opened their hearts—their whole selves—in performance, to create a magical afternoon of storytelling theater. They were unforgettable.

Authentic, honest, barrier-free storytelling creates a space for empathy to be cultivated and allows for profound transformative experiences in both the artist and the audience. I believe that Art is saying "Yes!" to your truth and sharing it with the world. When someone is being exactly who they are and sharing their story from their heart—and sharing it in a simple way that allows me, as an audience member, IN—well, that feeling…I hope we've all had it happen at least once.

In my work as a performance and teaching artist, that feeling is what I seek from myself and those who have given me their time and trust to guide them, whether from the stage or in a classroom.

I recently conceived and performed a show (Theater Ninjas' TingleTangle) that leveraged stories from my journey with sexuality and marriage equality to show how oppressive laws and hate speech effect the queer population (its second run closed, by the way, the night marriage equality was made legal across the United States: kismet). During its first preview performance in 2013, I noticed a visibly uncomfortable audience member while performing a monologue and song that dealt with me being called a "faggot." After the show, he approached me, extended his hand, and said in a choked-up voice, "I don't have the words right now except to say I need to go home and think about how you made me feel. What you said and did brought up and made me rethink so many things I've said and done. Thank you." It was...huge. I believe everyone has the power to do this.

In The Art of Storytelling, we celebrate, as an ensemble, the myriad ways visual art can effect the individual. You will be guided through the creation of your piece. You will develop tools and learn techniques to cultivate an authentic, honest performance and then get on stage and share the truth of how art has impacted you. If you've had no writing and performance experience: great. If you've had writing and performance experience: great.

The Art of Storytelling will benefit everyone. Laura and I will make sure of it. We can't wait to find out your goal and guide it to the stage.

-Ray

Creative Workforce Fellowship

"Forty Cuyahoga County artists working in the disciplines of craft, dance, design, literature, media arts, music, theatre and visual arts will each receive $15,000 in 2016 through the Creative Workforce Fellowship...which are made possible by the residents of Cuyahoga County through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the County's public funder for arts and culture." - Link to full press release at Community Partnership for Arts and Culture's website

I am elated to be one of those forty artists and it's a great honor to be among such stellar company, which includes several past collaborators. My Fellowship is in the Theatre: Improvisational/Spoken Word/Storytelling discipline. Authentic, honest, fearless, barrier-free, from-the-heart storytelling creates a space where empathy is cultivated and allows for profound transformative experiences in both the artist and audience. This Fellowship will allow me to travel and further study techniques vital to my foundation as a performer, creator, and educator in Cuyahoga County. It will provide me the formal training in improvisation and comedy writing I've craved for years. And I'll have the time and brain space to focus on creating and developing my own projects, which includes bringing a certain Uncle Toots to his next level in a live performance piece!

Much more exciting stuff to come.

The past few years, especially 2015, brought great focus, belief, and acceptance in myself, my work, and what only I'm able to do. This Fellowship is the product of that. To everyone who has been a part of who I am, both as a person and an artist (same thing)...thank you. I'm looking forward to what the Creative Workforce Fellowship adds to my story.

To close this out, here is a work sample from my Fellowship application, written and performed by me, from a Fall 2014 performance of TingleTangle: a show conceived by yours truly and created with some crazy-talented Theater Ninjas who gave their souls to the production during its experimental Prelude performances in 2013 and 2014 (directed by me, original compositions and arrangements by Sean Ellis Hussey), and its full runs in Fall 2014 and June 2015 (directed by Jeremy Paul, original compositions and arrangements by Eric M. C. Gonzalez: both CWF recipients), which poignantly closed the night marriage equality was made legal across the United States. 

 

This Show Is So Gay

Last week, I was interviewed by Ken Schneck for the full hour of his This Show is So Gay podcast! We talk Oh, My Stars!, TingleTangle, performing, classic pop culture, game shows...it's really fun!

Link to the interview: http://thisshowissogay.com/node/740

The Art of Storytelling at the Cleveland Museum of Art

I am thrilled to be leading The Art of Storytelling at the Cleveland Museum of Art!

With inspiration from the CMA galleries, you'll share how art has impacted your life. I'll lead you through performance and improv exercises designed to give you the ease to be yourself in front of an audience, as you craft and prepare to perform your personal narrative. More details are below.

Please consider registering! Registration is limited, so it would be great to have you be a part of what is sure to be a fun and inspiring four weeks!

To register and for more information:
http://www.clevelandart.org/learn/workshop/art-storytelling?date=2015-03-07

Class Type:
Workshop
4 Saturdays, March 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2015, 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
final performance free and open to the public at 2:00 p.m. on March 28

Good stories connect us. They surprise us, they make us think, and they help us understand the world around us. Everyone has a story to tell. Share yours.

In this four-week workshop, led by performer Ray Caspio, with assistance from writing teacher Laura Mlakar, you’ll craft, polish, and perform your own personal narrative. Through exercises to hone performance ability, trips to the galleries for inspiration, and writing exercises, you’ll improve and explore your storytelling skills whether you’re a beginner or an experienced teller of tales. The workshop culminates in a showcase open to family, friends, and the public on Saturday, March 28.

Ray Caspio is a performer, monologist, writer, illustrator, educator, and a veteran of 18 original theatrical pieces. His original work explores queer identity and the performer-audience relationship. In Fall 2014, he conceived, co-wrote, and performed TingleTangle: the lauded Weimar cabaret-inspired evening of personal storytelling from Cleveland’s Theater Ninjas that investigates sexuality, gender, the seeds of oppression, the evolution of hate speech, and compassion’s transgressive power.

Laura Mlakar is an English teacher at Twinsburg High School. She is a graduate of the National Writing Project, and has taught grades 9–12 including AP Language and Composition.

$95/$75 CMA members. Register online or by calling the Ticket Center at (216) 421-7350.

Meet in the Recital Hall. Please wear comfortable clothing and shoes and bring a notebook and pencil.

Theater Ninjas Creative Expression Workshop at the LGBT Community Center

Theater Ninjas Creative Expression Workshop
Open to LGBTQ youth, ages 12-17
Led by Theater Ninjas’ Associate Artistic Director, Ray Caspio
E-mail Ray Caspio to register

Monday, March 9th
6:00-7:30pm
at LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland
6600 Detroit Ave, Cleveland
www.lgbtcleveland.org/youth--young-adult-programs.html

Participants will learn theater games and performance techniques to build confidence, awareness, and improve speaking skills while encouraging personal and creative expression.

Please wear loose clothing you are comfortable moving in (no jeans) and tennis shoes!

Ray Caspio is a performer, writer, illustrator, educator and a veteran of 18 original theatrical productions. His original work explores queer identity and the performer-audience connection. As Associate Artistic Director, Ray aids in the creation and implementation of Theater Ninjas marketing and programming. Ninjas’ credits include TingleTangle (conceiver & performer), Code: Preludes, The Excavation & Ninja Days @ the Cleveland Museum of Art, Black Cat Lost, Marble Cities, Monster Play, Inoculations and Telephone. Ray is a Teaching Artist for Theater Ninjas/PlayhouseSquare. He is the creator of the Uncle Toots web series, and starred in the multiple award-winning short film, Loss Prevention. He is trained in Alba Emoting, Michael Chekhov and Eccentric Performing. In May, Ray will perform The Turing Machine - { a Code Prelude }: a metaphysical take on the lives and death of Alan Turing, which he is co-writing with Jeremy Paul. His illustrations have been exhibited.

Theater Ninjas is the Food Truck of Cleveland Theater. We’re a nomadic company who seeks out new and exciting spaces to perform. Working in non-traditional venues gives us an opportunity to reimagine how and why we tell stories, and helps us to create deep, fascinating worlds for the audience to explore. We’re always experimenting; always rethinking what theater can be: as entertainment, as art and as out-of-the-ordinary experiences.

background photos by Frank J. Lanza Photography, courtesy of Theater Ninjas
Contents of this site copyright 2007-present, Ray Caspio & their respective owners.
Content on this site may only be used after obtaining written permission from the site owner.

Ray Caspio received a 2016 Creative Workforce Fellowship. The Fellowships is a program of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture. Funding for the Fellowship program is made possible by the generous support of Cuyahoga County residents through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.