Something Different: Ensemble Theater Now
Joe Sykes and friends at Actor’s Express just picked up an array of awards for outstanding work on Angels in America, including a Suzi Bass Award for Outstanding Ensemble. And now Joe is back on stage in a new cutting-edge ensemble piece by Steve Yockey—Reykjavik at Actor’s Express.
What’s happening here? Ensemble theater has changed—offbeat scripts, fractured story lines, ambiguous characters whose stories spill over from one scene into another. Plays like Reykjavik explore what it means to be human with new structures and a whole new vocabulary. The result? Big choices and big risks for actors. Read more…
Gil Eplan-Frankel; Joe Sykes and Michael Vine (right); Stephanie Friedman, Gill Eplan-Frankel and Michael Vine in Reykjavik. Photos by Casey Gardner
Angels in America—2018
Outstanding! Winner Suzi Bass Awards: Outstanding Acting Ensemble! Outstanding Director! Outstanding Production!
“A resourceful ensemble of eight actors, each playing several roles, excels…. (Joe Sykes is) … outstanding. Besides truly registering as the tortured Joe, Sykes offers fleeting kicks, too, as the incarnation of a prior Prior Walter, and even a mechanical diorama mannequin.”—Bert Osborne, Atlanta Journal Constitution
About Joe Sykes
“One of Joe’s greatest strengths is his versatility. He attacks with equal skill very masculine alpha characters along with more sensitive and vulnerable characters. His range never ceases to surprise me.” — Freddie Ashley, artistic director, Actor’s Express.
“I’ve seen Joe range from caregiver to predator in the course of one show. He’s an incredibly versatile performer. His work is exceptional.” — Lara Smith, managing director, Dad’s Garage Theatre. Read more about what directors say…
Versatile. Oh yeah. Joe has pingponged from edgy, unsettling dramas like Wolves and Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo to the family musical Winnie-the-Pooh. In film, Joe vaulted from farce in Good Grief Suicide Hotline to lethal menace in Those Who Deserve to Die. He famously sacrificed vital body parts in the cult horror favorite V/H/S (Amateur Night) and later seduced a much-loved character in the popular BET televison series Being Mary Jane.
There’s a humanity about Joe that can’t be faked. He’s comfortable with the unsettling ambiguities of life. When audiences see parts of themselves in the bigot Karl in Clybourne Park or look to Death for comfort in Steve Yockey’s disturbing play Pluto, that’s Joe. That’s Joe making it ok for us to look into the raw, damaged places. Maybe it’s even funny. Joe can do that. Of course, if he’s playing a psychopath, it’s unnerving. Read Joe’s bio.
Stage and Film…