Elissa Goetschius is a multidisciplinary artist with a strong focus on theatre and performance-based interactive installations. In theatre, she recently directed EURYDICE at Notre Dame of Maryland University, A COLOSSAL THING at Catholic University, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM with Glass Mind Theatre, and A BRIEF NARRATIVE OF AN EXTRAORDINARY BIRTH OF RABBITS and NIGHT SWEATS with the EMP Collective, an interdisciplinary theatre company in Baltimore. Prior to that, she developed and directed REFLECTIONS with Andy Wassenich, a tour of short plays written by patients at St. Elizabeths Hospital, produced by Wandering Soulsand co-directed AMAZONS AND THEIR MEN at Forum Theatre. Her ongoing collaboration with playwright Liz Maestri includes development of the plays SOMERSAULTING, TINDERBOX, FALLBEIL, CONDO CONDO CONDOLAND, and HOUSE BEAUTIFUL.

Recent non-theatre projects include collaborating on the inaugural issue of 24 Magazine (twentyfourmagazine.com) and “Layered Portraits,” a mixed-media installation piece for the 24 Hour City Project first presented at the Intelligent Cities Conference and again as part of Digital Capital Week in 2011.

Formerly the Literary Manager at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Elissa worked on many first and second productions collaborating with playwrights and directors including David Adjmi, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Laura Schellhardt Armbrust, Daniel Aukin, Sheila Callaghan, Melissa James Gibson, Noah Haidle, Anne Kauffman, Pam MacKinnon, Peter Nachtrieb, Howard Shalwitz, Rebecca Taichman, and John Vreeke. She has worked as a dramaturg at Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte, Portland Center Stage, Marin Theatre Company, Florida Stage, Rorschach Theatre, Forum Theatre, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

She has worked for Manhattan Theatre Club, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, studied at the British American Drama Academy, and holds a degree in English from Columbia University.

1) What excites you most about participating in Directors JAM?

I’m excited for the opportunity to create a piece from start to finish and put it in front of an audience in such a short time. There’s so much freedom in it. Usually, unless it’s a full production, I’m working on a reading of a new play and then my job is to present the playwright’s work as clearly as possible. Here I get to be a messy artist trying new things and getting feedback on my experiments. I’m also looking forward to seeing how each director interprets the prompt differently. To see what catches their eye or ear. To what they latch onto and develop.

2) How do you personally understand the director’s role in a devising process?

I think a director’s role in any process is to inspire and foster good ideas be it with a playwright, designers, or actors. Then, they edit and refine to unify the production and make sure all of the pieces are working together in a cohesive manner. I think the difference between devising and directing a set script is more a question of where you lie on the spectrum of artistic freedom. There’s a great deal more freedom for a director when devising.

3) What do you hope to get out of your JAM experience?

I want to stretch my muscles. Try new approaches. Experiment in the rehearsal hall and see how the moments we find come together to create a satisfying theatrical experience. I spend so much time with text, which means I’m eager to begin from a different starting point.


twitter: @egoetschius.