paper chairs mission statement
“Paper Chairs creates sensorially dynamic theatre combining fractured subjectivity, music, unconventional audience situation, surrealism, labor-intensive mechanics, and heightened movement vocabulary. We favor tour-de-force fusions of various performance styles, music genres and historical periods to excite modern sensibilities and educate by irreverently suggesting past and present cultural connections. The work is outrageous, well-researched, and a little bit dangerous.”
resident company members
Theater is hard.
It calls for commitment, follow-through, and faith.
It requires a team.
If you want to work alone, paint a landscape.
This work demands endless hours of creative sweat in exchange for the small possibility of igniting one fleeting moment of something beautiful and true.
I believe in that possibility.
I fight for that possibility.
Much of my work explores the mind, imagination or dream world of people. I strive to create scenery that suggests imaginary spaces: unreal landscapes where our collective memories overlap. I prefer to work in flexible theatre spaces where I can manipulate audience configuration, establishing an intimate relationship between spectator and performer to celebrate the kinetic energy inherent in theatrical experiences. Often I choose to avoid masking offstage areas, and let the trickery of theatre happen in plain sight, accentuating the magic of performance. I use the systems in the theatre: sandbags, ropes, and pulleys to mimic the systems in the human body. I create an exposed working environment to enhance the attempts of the theatrical text to unravel the intricacies of the human condition. My collaboration with the paper chairs team enables me to produce works that are not easy or even popular, but that are meaningful, layered important. I am thrilled at the opportunity to share ideas with this group of artists and I expect them to push me in new ways, to keep me honest and to keep me challenged.
Eyeballs at attention
Touch down on the landscape of my mind
A penchant for high and lowbrow simultaneity.
Sticking by best foot forward. Then, in my mouth,
I cook at home; I eat my leftovers
Kelli Bland is a director, performer, seamstress, and puppeteer. Kelli wishes to create immersive, thoughtful, well-educated and accessible work. Kelli wants to explore the many facets of complicated human condition. To this end, Kelli works as producing director for the company, allocating resources for our productions.
I play with words and roles both onstage and off, and always well with others.
I enjoy exploring the space between the artist and the audience.
I believe in muscle and poetry.
I am searching for a name to call the sum of my many parts.
I am crackling with kinetic energy.
I expect to grow beyond my boundaries.
I hope to support and further the creation of good in a community I have come to love.
I am the Institutional Finance Chair: researching and applying for grants, as well as overseeing the organization’s financial management and booking-keeping.
I want to be self-defining. I want to be forgiving, compassionate, daring, human. I want to live to the ends of human experience. Then come back and share it all with the world.
I want to fuse the many disciplines of art. And then set them apart and watch as they stand alone with their own sense of integrity.
I want to gain a sense of community that will be around long before I’m gone. I want to lay roots that will pave the way for our family and the families in our community that will come after.
Three things I know to be true:
I feel the most alive when using my entire body. Yes. My heart, mind, soul, physicality and voice have reason and presence in my life.
I know no love greater than the exchange of energy, whatever form it may take. The spark of creativity ignites the flow of energy, and the world is renewed again and again.There is nothing more inspiring than stillness. Except everything else – music, sunshine, coffee, sunset, wine, friends, theatre, laughter, adventure, quiet, and always words, words, words.
I strive to unite the things I know in my work: to expose them to greatness. To burn, love, and remember the intricate, imperfect, impermanent, unknowable moments that comprise theatre. They speak to me.
I like stories. I do not like bananas. I believe in the power of theatre. I do not believe in benefit of war. I’m interested in creating theatre with impact. I’m not interested in wasting people’s time. I feel I can help our band stay together. I do not feel content. I am grateful to have found a brave group of artists to suffer with.
I intend to create dynamic, ensemble driven art littered with creative and interesting choices
I want to create pieces and characters that are raw and open, while steeped in methodology from Chekhov to Bogart.
I work everyday to obtain total body awareness so as to further my discovery in body specification to create compelling, moving images.
I want to discover the nature of objects that aren’t seen by the naked eye. I hope to help blend classic ideology with modern technology.
Mainly, I want to create theatre that, if I was in the audience, I would enjoy. Boredom isn’t in my vocabulary.
With Paper Chairs, I hope to keep our web-based content constantly updated and evolving while also keeping our audience base involved and engaged with the growth of our company.
An old soul with conservative values and a progressive mind, I love to live and live to love. Friends are big in my life, but family is even bigger. Laugh at me and you’ve got a friend for a day. Laugh with me and you’ve got a friend for life. I want to engage, I expect to grow, and I hope to inspire.
I develop work involving many performers that begs for outrageous movement vocabulary, whether through choreographic storytelling styles, intricate transitions, or creating the aural world of the play using human bodies. I desire to expose my audiences to the mechanics and labor of theatre‐making as it contributes to active participation by offering multiple avenues of engagement. Most importantly for me, however, is exploring the theatre as a location where memory coalesces. Memory pervades every play. I consider each play from the subjective viewpoint of its central figure first. How does this person remember his/her story? What are the rules of this imagined world and how does that translate to practical directing application? And most importantly, how does this strengthen the story? When viewed from the subjective realm of memory, the real and the imagined intersect.
I create conversation by asking hard questions. I strive to manifest perspective and thoughtful discussion.
I aim to challenge people’s comforts and their values. I dig deep.
I believe in love. I believe art is the universal connector. I believe through art we can develop peace and understanding.
And I believe there is nothing more powerful than compassion.
I am consumed by words. I delight in entertaining. I find beauty in people’s flaws. I have deep affection for the letter F.
I love the earth in my mouth. I am most peaceful when crying. I am intense. I am passionate. I endeavor to make an impact.
A creative problem solver. I am thoughtful and innovative. I imagine.
I expect: communication, honesty efficiency.
I hope to find happiness and fulfillment in every moment. In my craft and my commitment. I hope for us to find inspiration and vitality
I believe creating theatre is a lesson in impermanence. It is precious. And it is spectacular
kim h. ngo
Kim H. Ngo (money chair, costume designer) has studied and professionally designs costumes for theatre, film, and all forms of art for eleven years. Kim H. Ngo graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelors of Arts in Theater and Dance with a concentration in costume design. In 2008, Kim was awarded the Costume Design Fellowship at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and since then, has been nominated for two Austin Critics Table Awards as well as a B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Costume Design. Kim has collaborated with companies such as the Mary Moody Northen Theater, Austin Shakespeare, Tutto Theater Company, Reversal Films, and artists such as experimental filmmaker Cauleen Smith, the band Sunset, and various filmmakers in Austin. Paper Chairs is an intricate part of a life long artistic endeavor to create an organization that offers the opportunity to explore creative ventures as a sustainable profession. These ventures must include a standard of quality, incorporation of new and unconventional media, and act as a catalyst to initiate discussion about today’s issues. Kim strives to create new avenues for sustainability within Paper Chairs and thus the Austin theater community by embracing new business models in funding and creating appreciation to a wider audience. Beyond the philosophy of theater and profession, we make cool shit and would like to share it.
Gabriel Luna is an Actor and Director born and raised in Austin, TX. He attended St. Edward’s University where he made his stage debut as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet and appeared in several Equity productions including the SITI company’s C/O the Grove and The Kentucky Cycle. He made his feature film debut in “Fall to Grace” which premiered at the SXSW film festival in 2005, and starred as “Nathaniel Hitchins” in DANCE WITH THE ONE, a locally shot film selected to the SXSW Narrative Feature competition in 2010. Recent film credits include “Kevin” in Rick Linklater’s “Bernie”, and “Eddy” in George Anson’s “Spring Eddy”. As a founding member of Paper Chairs Theatre Company he starred as “Baal” in Bertolt Brecht’s drama BAAL and garnered critical acclaim for his role as “The Lover” in MACHINAL, Paper Chairs’ inaugural production. Other stage credits include Clov in ENDGAME, Orestes in ORESTES, and Sergei in BLACK SNOW for which he was the recipient of the 2010 Austin Critic’s Table “Best Lead Actor” Award. As co-founder of Brains Everywhere Productions he produced and directed the official video for the single “Dolo” by 2011 Austin Music Award Winner for “Best Hip Hop Artist” Phranchyze, and is in production on a music documentary starring Warner Bros. recording artist Gary Clark Jr. entitled “Know My Name”. He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.