Ray Caspio

Performance & Teaching Artist

Ray Caspio received a 2016 Creative Workforce Fellowship in Theatre. The Fellowship 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.


Sunday Dinner with Toots
produced by Ray Caspio & Kevenn T. Smith
created by Ray Caspio
with performer-creators Benjamin Gregorio, Cassie Neumann Lucas & Lauren B. Smith


Sunday Dinner with Toots invites audiences to join the eccentric Uncle Toots and his adversarial family around his dining room table with the promise of homemade food, camaraderie and conversation. Inspired by interviews with first and second generation Italian-Americans who grew up on Cleveland's East Side in the 1930s through 1950s, Toots is a hilarious, improvised, interactive exploration of how living characters coexist with diverse people while dealing with alcoholism, cancer, love lost and found and lost again, the loss of a child, aging in America, and America’s health care industry. Audiences are spurred into thinking about themselves and the people in their lives in new ways, such as discovering compassion for adversarial relationships and igniting curiosity about the differing stances of those whom they encounter in life.
 

clothing consultant Kevenn T. Smith

performance space donated by Cleveland Opera Theater
Developed as part of the LAUNCH performance creation residency program of the Community Engagement & Education Department at Playhouse Square, Cleveland, Ohio.
partially supported by the 2016 Creative Workforce Fellowship
photos by Frank Gallo
February 2017


TingleTangle
produced by Theater Ninjas
conceived by & starring Ray Caspio
directed by Jeremy Paul
original compositions, arrangements & accompaniment by Eric M. C. Gonzalez
contributing creators & performers (2014) Katie Beck, Valerie C. Kilmer, Ryan Lucas, Dan Rand & Amy Schwabauer
contributing creators & performers (2015) Ryan Lucas, Michael Prosen & Amy Schwabauer


Theater Ninjas’ original production, TingleTangle, is an evening of personal storytelling, sketches, songs, and conversations about sexuality, marriage equality, the many angles of oppression, and the power of compassion. It revels 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, form TingleTangle’s core. TingleTangle set Theater Ninjas box office records and was the first production in the company's nine year history to extend its run. A faithfully updated version of the production returned in June 2015 to sold out crowds, poignantly closing the day marriage equality was fully legalized nationwide. The monologue below, “First Time,” talks about that single moment when we discover who we are.

Press:
Interview on this show is so gay with Ken Schneck
The Sound of Applause: NPR/WCPN 90.3 Ideastream interview with Dee Perry
Cleveland Centennial (David Hansen) Review
Land of Cleve Review
Sound of Applause's Best of Theatre 2014: for TingleTangle (at 23 minute mark)
Cleveland Scene's Best Risk-Taking: for TingleTangle
Tpography's Special Project Recognition: for TingleTangle
Land of Cleve's Top Theatrical Experiences: for TingleTangle


lighting design by Ben Gantose (2014) & Franny Gallagher (2015)
costumes by Kevenn T. Smith
stage managed by Kaitlin Kelly (2014) & Franny Gallagher (2015)
assistant stage managed by Christina Dennis (2014)

performed at Guide to Kulchur (October-November 2014) & Maria Neil Art Project (June 2015)
photos by Frank J. Lanza Photography, courtesy of Theater Ninjas


Tingle-Tangle: Preludes I & II
produced by Theater Ninjas
conceived, written, directed & performed by Ray Caspio
original compositions, arrangements & accompaniment by Sean Ellis Hussey
special thanks to Jeremy Paul


Tingle-Tangle: Preludes is a queer performance of songs and stories in which the lines of gender and sexuality bend and redefine themselves. Frightened voices around the world are adapting to recent social changes through an influx of hate speech, violence and oppressive laws aimed at LGBTQIA individuals. This transgressive cabaret that looks at a world filled with fear, oppression, and hate speech, but responds with love, compassion, humor, and the desire to understand...not to mention some out-and-out DESIRE. There are no easy answers, and laughter and tears make great dancing partners. Tingle-Tangle: Preludes is a seductive tango between pain and pleasure.


lighting design by Ben Gantose (2013) & Greg Falcione (2014)
stage managed by Kaitlin Kelly (2013) & Bryan Ritchey (2014)

performed at Survival Kit Gallery (November 2013) & 78th Street Studios (February 2014)
video courtesy of Theater Ninjas


The SantaLand Diaries
produced by Cleveland Public Theatre & Playhouse Square
written by David Sedaris
adapted by Joe Mantello
directed by Cathleen O'Malley
starring Ray Caspio


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!

Press:
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"


performed at Playhouse Square's Outcalt Theatre
November-December 2015 & December 2016
photos by Steve Wagner, courtesy of Cleveland Public Theatre


The Turing Machine
produced by Theater Ninjas
written by Jeremy Paul & Ray Caspio
directed by Jeremy Paul
starring Ray Caspio


The Turing Machine is an original, 'post-human metaphysical biography' about the life and legacy of Alan Turing, the brillant pioneer of computer sciences. In this one-man show, a computer program believes it is the reincarnation of Turing and relives the complex contradictions of this singular genius' life, reflecting on his career, persecution and influence on the modern age. Starring Ray Caspio whose ‘transcendent’, ‘riveting’ embodiment of this character first appeared in 2014’s Code:Preludes.

Press:
Interview with Dee Perry on The Sound of Applause


lighting design by Tom West
projection design by T. Paul Lowry
original compositions & sound design by Eric M. C. Gonzalez
costume design by Jamie Farkas
stage managed by Christina Dennis
assistant stage managed by Franny Gallagher

performed at Survival Kit Gallery
May 2015
photos by Frank J. Lanza Photography, courtesy of Theater Ninjas


Code: Preludes
produced by Theater Ninjas
directed & devised by Jeremy Paul
contributing creators & performers Ray Caspio, Christina Dennis, Christopher Hisey, Valerie C. Kilmer, Val Kozlenko, Ryan Lucas, Michael Prosen & Sean Seibert

Code: Preludes is an explorable theatrical experience inspired by the beauty of mathematics and the programmers who operate on the boundary between our messy human lives and the pristine world of symbols and equations behind the code that envelops our world. Drawing from the experiences of real-life programmers and the legacy of Alan Turing, this sensory, interactive performance creates a kind of living science museum that uses theater techniques and software concepts to cultivate and rekindle a sense of awe for the power of mathematics, and highlights the individuals who encode our humanity into modern technologic society.

Press:
Interview with Dee Perry on The Sound of Applause
Land of Cleve interview and review


lighting design by Ben Gantose
original compositions & sound design by Eric M. C. Gonzalez
costume design by Jamie Farkas
animation by Kyllea Kerg
stage managed by Adam Seeholzer

performed at 78th Street Studios
May 2014
photos by Frank J. Lanza Photography, courtesy of Theater Ninjas


The Excavation @ the Cleveland Museum of Art &
Ninja Days @ the Cleveland Museum of Art

produced by Theater Ninjas
directed & devised by Jeremy Paul
lead creative team Ray Caspio, Ryan Lucas, Cassie Neumann, Jeremy Paul & Renee Schilling
performed by Davis Aguila, Ray Caspio, Katelyn Cornelius, Cassie Goldbach, Val Kozlenko, Ryan Lucas, Cassie Neumann, Michael Prosen, Renee Schilling & Lauren B. Smith
Ninja Days produced by Ray Caspio and featuring Davis Aguila, Ray Caspio, Lauren Joy Fraley, Valerie C. Kilmer, Ryan Lucas, Cassie Neumann & Renee Schilling
 

Theater Ninjas present the latest version of their original performance The Excavation, a theatrical celebration of the life, death and re-birth of Pompeii in popular culture. Using the Ames Family Atrium as a staging ground for this sprawling choose-your-own-adventure-style performance, the Ninjas explore the comic and tragic legacy of this famous city through a blend of site-specific performance and interactive storytelling. Theater Ninjas will also be integrated into the exhibition during special Ninja Days in March, April, and May, through a blend of site-specific performance and interactive storytelling. This exciting collaboration between the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland-based Theater Ninjas brings together performance and the visual arts in a one-of-a-kind experience filled with humor, pathos, and catastrophic volcanic eruptions.

Press:
Interview with Dee Perry on The Sound of Applause


technical direction by Chuck Karnak
stage managed by Kaitlin Kelly
special thanks Jon Seydl & Bethany Corriveau

March-June 2013
photos by Benjamin M. Coll, Howard T. Agriesti & Frank J. Lanza Photography, courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art & Theater Ninjas


Peek
created & produced by Ray Caspio
interactive installation designed & performed by Ray Caspio, Lauren B. Smith & Kevenn T. Smith
 

A flirtation in oration and creation outside of a bathroom as a man greets and reads to his guests from Carl Jung's Red Book while his every action is observed and recorded by a woman with a pen and a man with a crayon.

Press:
Cleveland Magazine
Examiner


based on an idea by Raymond Bobgan & Beth Wood
special thanks Ben Gantose, Faye Hargate & Joan Hargate

performed at Cleveland Public Theatre's Pandemonium 2012
September 2012


Telephone
produced by Theater Ninjas
written by Ariana Reines
directed by Jaime Bouvier
starring Holly Holsinger, Ray Caspio & Ryan Lucas
interactive "Recording Booth" installation designed & performed by Ray Caspio & Ryan Lucas


Two inventors change the world with a wire, a woman gets trapped in her own mind and lost voices reach out for each other through a web of static. A beautiful labyrinth of language and humor, Telephone is a rare play that uses history and poetry to talk about what happens on the other end of the line.

Press:
Review by Christine Howey at Rave and Pan


lighting design by Jeremy Paul
costume design by Stephanie Fisher
stage managed by Kaitlin Kelly
assistant stage managed by Franny Gallagher

performed at Ohio City Masonic Temple
May-June 2013
photo by Jeremy Paul, courtesy of Theater Ninjas

Telephone_Ray copy.jpg

An Apology for the Course and Outcome of Certain Events Delivered by Dr. John Faustus on this His Final Evening
produced by convergence-continuum
written by Mickle Maher
directed by Susan Soltis
starring Robert Hawkes & Ray Caspio


Faustus, a skittish, self-aggrandizing schmuck facing his final hour on earth delivers an extravagant, hilarious, and ultimately unnerving monologue about the sublime meaninglessness of nearly all human endeavors. A lean, tragicomic version of the Faust story, An Apology... presents Dr. Faustus in the last hour of his final night on earth: irritated, whining, and repentant of nothing save his failure to keep a proper diary. Over the course of the evening, he rails against his silent servant Mephistopheles and tells the fantastic tale of his life—a life filled with wonders, as well as an immeasurably vast evil.


lighting design by C.J. Pierce & Clyde Simon
stage managed by Clyde Simon

April 2015
photos by Sebastian Orr Photography


Give Me the Map
produced at convergence-continuum
written by Robert Hawkes
directed by Susan Soltis
starring Robert Hawkes & Ray Caspio
original compositions and accompaniment by Eric M. C. Gonzalez


The first scene of King Lear goes badly for the old man, as we know. But what the heck was he expecting anyway? Hawkes' one-act prologue to the tale seeks to answer that very question as the King (Robert Hawkes) and his Fool (Ray Caspio) try desperately to control events that have not even happened yet. 


lighting design by Terrii Wachala
stage managed by Jaclyn Cifranic

performed at The Liminis
November 2016
photos by Sebastian Orr Photography


Marble Cities
produced by Theater Ninjas
directed & devised by Jeremy Paul
assistant directed by Ray Caspio
contributing creators & performers Davis Aguila, Ray Caspio, Brittany Gaul, Ryan Lucas, Cassie Neumann, Emily Pucell & Colleen Uszak

You are invited to a meeting both secret and arcane. Your motives belong to you and you alone. No matter what you see, no matter what you believe, you have been summoned for one purpose alone: to change the world. This is the world of Marble Cities, a place of imagination and power exploring fate, desire and future of the universe.


original music by Filmstrip
lighting design by Ben Gantose
costume design by Kevenn T. Smith
set design by Val Kozlenko
installation design by Joan Hargate
stage managed by Kaitlin Kelly

performed at Ohio City Masonic Temple
October-November 2012
photos by Frank J. Lanza Photography and Jeremy Paul, courtesy of Theater Ninjas


background photos by Frank J. Lanza Photography, courtesy of Theater Ninjas
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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.