T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets :: Performed by John Farrell
John Farrell, Artistic Director
A native of Boston who grew up in Massachusetts, Holland and France, John Farrell's artistic explorations are rooted in his love of poetry and sculpture. As an undergraduate at Yale he pursued studies in fields as diverse as African history, Vedanta Mysticism, the anthropology of law, and Sioux religion. During a Civil Procedure exam at the University of Maine School of Law, a voice informed him that a career in the arts was what he really wanted in life, and he quit, co-founding Figures of Speech Theatre a month later with dancer/designer Carol Llewellyn. Together they forged a unique vision of performance incorporating puppets and actors, masks, music and dance. They have created 18 original works of theater, and toured the world for over 30 years. John has been an artist-in-residence at numerous colleges and arts centers, and has studied with the Japanese master puppet builder Toru Saito. In 1999 he was one of five American artists awarded a Creative Artists' Program Fellowship from the Japan-United States Friendship Commission, allowing him to spend 6 months in Japan studying Japanese theater and gardens. Hanamichi Design, the company he founded in 2003, creates gardens in the Japanese spirit for clients throughout New England. John currently serves on the board of directors of the Jim Henson Foundation. The Maine Arts Commission awarded him an Individual Artist Fellowship in 2002. John lives with his wife, costume designer Carol (Llewellyn) Farrell, and daughters Delia and Alida in a perpetually 250-year-old farmhouse in Maine.
Carol Farrell, Co-Founder
Carol Farrell, Co-Founder, began performing experimental theater in 1971 with the New World Energy Theatre in Switzerland, then moved to San Francisco to study dance. After returning to New England and completing a Master's degree in Theater Design, Carol joined the theater faculty at the University of Maine as Costume Designer, until visions of creating whole worlds from scratch inspired her to co-found Figures of Speech Theatre with husband John in 1982. She has studied at the Institut International de la Marionnette in France, and served on the Board of the international puppetry association, UNIMA USA. Since 2011 Carol has worked as the Costume Director for the Department of Theater and Dance at Bates College, where she collaborates with designers and choreographers, instructs students working in the Costume Shop, maintains the Department's costume collection, and generally makes sure that everything related to costuming comes off without a hitch. With FST Carol wears many hats, including writing and designing plays, performing, and creating teaching programs.
Ian Bannon, Director of Education
Ian came to Maine to study creative nonfiction at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies after graduating cum laude from Juniata College with a degree in Psychology & Theatre. Ian then served as Assistant Director of Short Fuse Interactive, a company providing customized dramatic training for the workplace. Ian has studied storytelling with Milbre Burch and Antonio Rocha, performing objects with Theodora Skipitares, improvisation with Keith Johnstone and collaborative theatre with Sojourn Theatre's Michael Rohd. Ian is also a founding member of the new Celebration Barn Ensemble, based in South Paris, Maine. As FST's Director of Education since 2005, Ian implements FST's Artist-in-Residence programs and performs Jester Kings of Java. For the past four years Ian has successfully directed The FOSSE (Figures of Speech Student Ensemble), whose latest project, a puppet/film adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, can be see on the web at The Entertainment Experiment.
Andrea Goodman first met Carol Farrell in 1993 when their babies crawled across the room to each other at an artists' gathering. Since then Andrea has composed for and performed numerous roles in FST productions, from the conductor of the Chorus of Angels in Festival of Light, to the Countess Odessa in Nightingale. Andrea weaves her vocal expression together with her technical voice study with John Devers in New York, her 17 years of touring with the world-renowned Meredith Monk Ensemble, and her practice of sound-healing. In Maine, Andrea also sings with the Resonance Residence, a voice-flute-trumpet trio., and she is the founder of Ruby-Throated Spirit, a sanctuary for healing and self-understanding.
Stoney Cook has been making FST productions look good for over 20 years with his exquisite, artistic lighting designs. He frequently saves us from certain disaster. His lights have graced diverse dance productions, from the works of George Balanchine and Paul Taylor at Lincoln Center, to regional ballet companies such as Ballet Theater of Boston. A true Renaissance man, Stoney is also a phenomenal web wizard (did they have computers in the Renaissance?), and a ballet teacher. His choreography has been produced by organizations including Dance Theater Workshop and American Dance Festival. Stoney is a graduate New York University School of the Arts, where he trained under Nanette Charisse.
Michael Rafkin has an association with FST spanning 30 years, as director, performer, co-creator and friend. Michael is the former Artistic Director of Portland's Mad Horse Theatre Company and a graduate of Beloit College and the University of Copenhagen. He earned his MFA in directing from Carnegie-Mellon and moved to Maine where he joined the Profile Theatre Company (now known as Portland Stage Company) and was appointed Artistic Director the next season. In New York, in addition to acting and directing, he co-founded the Playwrights and Directors Project at the Actors Studio and studied with Miriam Goldina, a former student of Stanislavski at the Moscow Art Theatre.
Annegret Baier, Collaborator and Percussionist, grew up in Germany and received her classical music training from the University of Music in Stuttgart. She has studied with master drummers from Guinea, Ghana, Cuba and Brazil, including several residencies with her primary teacher, Famoudou Konate in Guinea. Besides classical violin and piano, Annegret has mastered a wide variety of instruments including the djembe, conga, kpanlogo, African bass drums, berimbao, kalimba, and balaphone. She performs both solo and with the bands Inanna, Sisters in Rhythm, The Zulu Leprechauns, and the newest band Loopin'. When she is not touring or giving school residencies, she teaches individual and group drumming classes and gives workshops throughout New England.
Carl Dimow, Composer and Performer, is an eclectic musician whose performances include classical music, jazz, klezmer, middle eastern music, compositions for theater, and traditional blues. He has appeared in concerts, festivals and school residencies in the US, Europe and Central America. He composes for and performs with the Casco Bay Tummlers klezmer band, which has been featured at festivals throughout Europe and has released three CD's. Carl has also released two CD's of original compositions with the Kolosko-Dimow Duo, his collaboration with classical guitarist Nathan Kolosko. Carl is a member of the applied music faculty at Colby College, and maintains an active private studio in Portland, Maine.
Heath Allen is a Philadelphia-based composer, jazz pianist, playwright and Drama teacher. He has recorded three CD's of his original music as well as composed extensively for theater, dance and film. Heath has written over twenty plays especially suited for adolescent performers. More information about this work can be found at his website: www.heathallen.com.