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"I Tapped My Husband's Back" and Charles Aznavour's "What Makes a Man (Comme Ils Disent)" closed Act 1 of the 2014 run of TingleTangle. Here is video of this segment, one of my favorites to perform in the production. These pieces talk about societal, familial, and ingrained prejudices, as well as Love in various forms.
I'll never forget performing and exploring these pieces—their words—the day marriage equality became a thing, which happened to be the closing performance of TingleTangle's second run! To say they took on an entirely new meaning would be an understatement.
(You'll also hear a bit of Mischa Spoliansky's "Maskulinum-Femininum" at the beginning of the video.)
produced by Theater Ninjas (2014-2015)
conceived & performed by Ray Caspio
original compositions, arrangements & accompanied by agleam/Eric M. C. Gonzalez
directed by Jeremy Paul
lighting design by Ben Gantose
costumes by Kevenn T. Smith
stage managed by Kaitlin Kelly
assistant stage managed by Christina Dennis
at Guide to Kulchur
Theater Ninjas’ original production, TingleTangle, was an evening of personal storytelling, songs and conversations about sexuality, marriage equality, the many angles of oppression and the power of compassion. It reveled in the nuances of identity and how we all use performance to communicate our truest selves to the world. Monologues I wrote and performed, drawing on my experiences as a married gay man in Ohio, formed TingleTangle’s core. TingleTangle sold out and extended its run in Fall 2014, and returned in June 2015, poignantly closing the day marriage equality was fully legalized nationwide.
"Maskulinum-Femininum" music and lyrics by Mischa Spoliansky
"I Tapped My Husband's Back" written by Ray Caspio
"What Makes a Man (Comme Ils Disent)" music and lyrics by Charles Aznavour, arranged and accompanied by agleam/Eric M. C. Gonzalez
"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.
Opening today and running through December 20th for 19 performances at Playhouse Square: The SantaLand Diaries!
written by David Sedaris
adapted by Joe Mantello
directed by Cathleen O’Malley
starring Ray Caspio
Outcalt Theatre at Playhouse Square, 1407 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland
Produced by Cleveland Public Theatre, The SantaLand Diaries by acclaimed author David Sedaris is the semi-autobiographical story of a 33-year-old out-of-work actor who takes a job as “Crumpet,” a Macy’s Christmas Elf, in 1989. Crumpet’s hilarious recount of the trials and tribulations of the Holiday Season is sure to bring a smile to even the grouchiest face! Starring Ray Caspio.
Tickets: $30.00, various dates and times
Available through Playhouse Square's box office:
Interview with Dee Perry on The Sound of Applause
Thrillist Cleveland: "The one man tour de force Ray Caspio"
News Herald: Ray Caspio finds lots with which to identify in David Sedaris' "The SantaLand Diaries"
My new portrait of the icon that is Paul Lynde as Uncle Arthur from Bewitched. I'm excited to have him join my Oh, My Stars! series.
Available as prints, clothing, mugs, home decor, phone cases, iPod cases, bags, and stationery:
"So don’t tarry. If you’re in the mood for a fascinating trip that will have you laughing out loud multiple times, get a zesty taste of gender and sexual transience in TingleTangle."
- Christine Howey, Cleveland Scene and Rave and Pan
“Presented in the creative context of a decadent Weimar-era cabaret – with its naughty period song list, bawdy humor and displays of nudity and sexuality – TingleTangle boils down to an intriguing personal journey with creator and featured performer Ray Caspio. It is a journey worth taking.“
- Bob Abelman, Cleveland Jewish News
"Ray Caspio...once again proves he is definitely an actor who is willing to take creative chances. ...intensely honest and unflinching...humorous, heartbreaking, and in many ways, heroic."
- Land of Cleve
"Ray Caspio...identifying pivotal moments in his sexuality that are painful, explosive, and heartwarming...opens his heart and his soul on this personal journey...Whether delivering slices of his life in dialogue or singing his emotional journey, the path of his sexual life is honest, beautiful, shocking, and inspiring. You have one more weekend of performances to go underground to reach your destination. You will come back up with a challenge to free yourself to be who you are."