(in alphabetical order)
EZEKIEL BASKIN -- Governing Member
Ezekiel Baskin is a freelance director, arts educator, stage manager, lighting & sound designer, poet, and arts administrator. Ezekiel has been a member of RLT since 2015. Other companies they have worked with include Pauline Productions, Silverthorne Theater Company, Serious Play Theatre Ensemble, New Century Theatre, and seven seasons with PaintBox Theatre. Recent productions include The Life and Death of Queen Margaret and She Kills Monsters with RLT, Mr Burns: A Post-Electric Play, Queer Intimacies, Caeneus, Stupid Fucking Bird, Intimate Apparel, and Next to Normal. They hold a B.A. from Hampshire College in Theatre & Education, with a focus on facilitating collaborative spaces. Ezekiel is delighted to serve as a Governing Member of Real Live Theatre and to play a role in steering this wonderful company!
TOBY VERA BERCOVICI -- Governing Member
Toby Vera Bercovici is a freelance director and teacher. In New York City, she has directed at Theater for the New City, the Looking Glass Theatre, and the Circus Warehouse. Her local productions include Stupid Fucking Bird and The Skin of Our Teeth (Silverthorne Theater), The Roommate, 4,000 Miles, and O Yes I will (I will remember the spirit and texture of this conversation) (Pauline Productions), Blind Dreamers and Of Turlygods & Time: The Tale of King Lear (Serious Play! Theatre Ensemble), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Ashfield Community Theater), Our Town (Northampton Center for the Arts), and The Life and Death of Queen Margaret (Real Live Theatre). She has taught theater at Colby College, Smith College, Holyoke Community College, American International College, and UMass Amherst. She holds a BA in Theater from Smith College and an MFA in Directing from UMass Amherst. She has trained at Shakespeare & Company and with the Michael Chekhov Association, is an associate artist for Pauline Productions, and has collaborated on three productions with The Talking Band at La Mama E.T.C. Most recently she was a 2018-2019 Directing Fellow at Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, FL. Toby is currently developing a new piece inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear, collaborating with her fellow RLT members as well as guest artists. www.tobyverabercovici.com
JEANNINE HAAS -- Associate Member
Jeannine Haas has been a member of Actor's Equity Association since 1982. She spent her early 20's working in NYC theatre in the 1980's which included a year as an actor-in-residence at LaMama ETC performing in plays and meeting actors she had just read about and studied in college. At age 28, she relocated to Western Massachusetts as an Ada Comstock Scholar at Smith College where she received a BA in Theatre ('86) and a Doctoral Degree from Umass, Amherst (’96). In 2006, she founded Pauline Productions Theatre Company, (PaulineLive.com), producing theatre with a focus on strong roles for women onstage and behind the scenes. Jeannine directs and acts with other theatre companies in MA and NY besides PP, including Real Live Theatre.
RACHEL HALL -- Company Member
Rachel is an actor, director, teaching artist, and all around storytelling enthusiast. She holds a BA in Theatre from the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she also dabbled in scenic and lighting design. She has worked as an educator at North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens and The Drama Studio. In addition to training with Real Live Theatre, she has also trained with Shakespeare & Company, The Drama Studio, and Hampshire Shakespeare Company. Some of Rachel’s favorite roles include Tilly in the 2017 and 2018 RLT production of She Kills Monsters, Jessie in the UMass Amherst production of Sweat, and Electra in The Drama Studio’s production of The Murders at Argos. She is most passionate about theater that is honest, bold, and uplifts the voices of those who are not often heard. She has been a proud Real Live Theatre company member since 2016.
TRENDA LOFTIN -- Governing Member
Trenda Loftin is most interested in theater's ability to raise awareness, inspire action, question patterns, and build community. She is an actor, teacher, writer, director, and group facilitator. She holds a BA from Smith College in Political and Social Theater. She has performed in Flirting With Danger: Power and Choice in Heterosexual Relationships (a film by the Media Education Foundation), The Lonely Soldier Project, Nickel and Dimed, and The Sexual Liberation of Mammy. With RLT she has performed in Hand Grenades, The Lion & The Clown: A Rumi Lovesong for Beauty & the Beast and co-directed When Last We Flew. She was a co-facilitator of Caught Off Guard, an educational theater troupe at Northampton High School, and an acting teacher at Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter High School. She is currently the Co-chair and Youth Engagement & Arts Integration Specialist of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network). Trenda is the author of When The System Swallows You and the children’s theater piece And Then…A Quest for an Original Story. www.trendaloftin.com
DAN MORBYRNE -- Governing Member, Co-Founder
Dan Morbyrne is an actor, director, teacher, writer, fight-choreographer, and fool. He co-founded Real Live Theatre in 2013 with his amazingly talented wife Ellen, and played the role of Iago in the company’s debut production, The Tragedy of Othello. In addition to his work with RLT, Dan is a Faculty member at the Drama Studio, a non-profit theatre conservatory for young people in Springfield, MA, where he has directed over twenty productions including Antigone, The Comedy of Errors, Hamlet, Cymbeline, Pinocchio, and Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom. Dan also spent many years as a member of the Serious Play! Theatre Ensemble, including a stint as their Associate Artistic Director. Dan has also worked with Hampshire Shakespeare, Chester Theatre, State of Play Productions, and the North Star Players. Dan has taught acting classes and workshops at multiple high schools and colleges including HCC, Smith College, Wilbraham and Monson Academy, Central High School, Northampton High School, and PVPA. Dan has been lucky enough to play a great many characters in his life thus far, but a few of his favorites would have to be; Iago, King Lear, and Captain Hook.
ELLEN MORBYRNE -- Governing Member, Co-Founder
Ellen Morbyrne is a multidisciplinary theatre artist with 20 years of experience in the performing arts. She is an alumna of the Serious Play! Theatre Ensemble, trained with Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA, and has a BA in Theatre from Smith College, where she was privileged to direct Chuck Mee’s Big Love as a mainstage production for her senior project. She ran the theatre program at North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens from 2003-2019, where she directed dozens of productions, including her own adaptations of The Last Unicorn and Through the Looking Glass, and her own original scripts Persephone, a re-telling of the Greek myth, and The Lion and the Clown: A Rumi Lovesong for Beauty and the Beast. She is also a repeat director for the annual 24 Hour Theater Project in Northampton. Ellen’s favorite acting roles include Lucy in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown and Ilona Ritter in She Loves Me (North Star Players), Lily in The Skriker, Cressida in Troilus and Cressida, and Goneril in Of Turlygods and Time: The Tale of King Lear (Serious Play! Theatre Ensemble), York in The Life & Death of Queen Margaret and Agnes in She Kills Monsters (Real Live Theatre). Since co-founding RLT in 2013, she has been honored to adapt and direct their debut production The Tragedy of Othello, to direct her original script The Lion & The Clown: A Rumi Lovesong for Beauty & the Beast, and to co-direct When Last We Flew with Trenda Loftin. She is also RLT’s jack-of-all-trades, stepping in to produce, light design, and support our productions whenever needed. In addition to her work in the theatre, Ellen studies and teaches yoga, mentors homeschooling teenagers, co-parents two fabulous children with her life-mate Dan, and conspires to help the world save itself.
MYKA PLUNKETT -- Associate Member
Myka Plunkett studied music theater at the University of Central Oklahoma and resides in Northampton, Massachusetts. Shows include: Seminar, A Year with Frog and Toad, and Laughter on the 23rd Floor (New Century Theater), Uncle Vanya and Soldier's Heart (Academy of Music), The Life and Death of Queen Margaret, She Kills Monsters, and Hand Grenades (Real Live Theatre), Tar2fe! (Silverthorne Theater), An Inspector Calls, Iris, and Johnny Guitar (Majestic Theater), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (ACTh), Macbeth and King Lear (Hubbard Hall), and Annie Get Your Gun (Jewelbox Theater).
JULISSA RODRIGUEZ -- Associate Member
Julissa is an actor, teaching artist, and Latin percussionist with more than fifteen years of experience in the arts. She is half of the percussion duo called PUERTOMINICANA with Iréne “I-Shea” Shaikly, focusing on Afro-Caribbean Latino cultural roots and rhythms as well as youth development and women empowerment. Julissa graduated from Trinity College with a degree in Theatre and Dance. In addition to being an associate member of Real Live Theatre, Julissa trained for years as a member of Serious Play! Theatre Ensemble with whom she toured to NYC, London, and Edinburgh, Scotland where she performed at “The Fringe,” the largest theatre festival in the world. Her travels also include Cape Town, South Africa, where she was part of an artist exchange that afforded her the opportunity to work and teach with some of the most incredible artists, performers, and students she has ever met.
EMILY TANCH -- Associate Member
Emily Tanch is a singer and actor who graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with concentrations in performance and costume design. Recent favorite productions include: The Life and Death of Queen Margaret (Earl of Warwick, Witch), The Glass Menagerie (Laura), The Liar (Lucrece), A New Brain (Nancy D), Peter Pan (Jane), Company (Amy), Fissures (Casey), Donny Johns (Ann), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck), Fiddler on the Roof (Tzeitl), Words Words Words (Kafka), The Universal Language (Dawn).
LINDA TARDIF -- Associate Member
International: Milosevic at the Hague (JaokimInterfest, Serbia/Serious Play!) National: FoodPlay (FoodPlay Productions). New York: Sleep No More-Inferno (Punchdrunk/Emursive), Marcellus Shale, Hot Lunch Apostles (Talking Band/ La MaMa etc.), AliceGraceAnon, The Brink of Us (New Georges), African Drum (Shadow Box Theater). Regional: Voices In Conflict (New Century Theatre), 4,000 Miles (Pauline Productions),The Skin of Our Teeth (Silverthorne Theatre Company), Raggedy Ann, Three Pigs, Puss in Boots (PaintBox Theatre), The Winter's Tale (Eggtooth Productions), Grace for President (PaintBox Theatre), and The Life and Death of Queen Margaret (Real Live Theatre). B.A: UMass Amherst.
JULIA WHALEN -- Associate Member
Julia is a multi-disciplinary artist, specializing in costume design and prop creation. She has worked on scads of local theatre productions as well as several film projects and other independent artistic endeavors both locally and afar. She’s usually too busy to do things like write bios, particularly since the arrival of her first fabulous child.
CYNTHIA ZAITZ, Ph.D -- Company Member
Cynthia Zaitz is an author and political activist, as well as a painter, director, playwright, choreographer, and composer. She holds a BA in Drama from the University of California, Irvine; an MA in Consciousness Studies (Philosophy) from John F. Kennedy University; and a Ph.D. from Florida Atlantic University in Comparative Studies: Interdisciplinary Music, Theatre, Art, and Dance. She has been a teacher of music, theatre, English, and dance since 2003 - which she taught in Beijing, China from 2012 to 2013. Her new anti-Trump political satire book, The Art of the Steal, is available on Amazon. Help her make trouble – buy a copy, or three, today! Check out her website: www.theburningquestions.com
Current GUEST ARTISTS
SYL SIMMONS -- Mary Wallace in Athena 2019