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ABOUT ME

dannietheatre1

The Loglines:

I am a narrative storyteller.  I work primarily as a Producer, Writer, and Director, but also have credits as a Production Manager, Music Composer, Editor, and Cinematographer/Photographer for both the stage and screen.  On the side, I also work “commercially” producing promotional videos and photography for indie artists, including music videos, promotional videos, head shots, event photography, etc.

I am the Founder & President of LIV creations LLC, a theatre & film production company, which has produced a feature film, three short films, and two stage productions since 2009.

I am a drummer/percussionist, performing mostly solo work, but I occasionally work with other ensembles.

Part-time, I am also a teacher in Theatre, Film, and Percussion for Creative Action and Music & Arts.


Private Screening of LIV creations’ The Long-Term Side Effect, 2013.  From left to right, Kathleen Mason (lead actress) and Dannie Snyder (Producer, Writer, Director, Cinematographer, Composer).  Photo taken by Sal Alonge.

Blue Kabuki (band), 2013.  From left to right, Dannie Snyder (drums) and Cat Green (vocals, guitar).  Photo taken by Dannie Snyder.  

Blue Kabuki (band) live performance at Black Heart, Texas.  Dannie Snyder (drums).  Photo taken by Hanly Banks.  

 

Puppet Improv Project, 2013.  Sara Farr (Artistic Director and Puppeteer) and Dannie Snyder. 

On the set of Unopened, 2009.  Photo taken by Tony Eckersley.

Talk-back after Giving a Troll a Greencard (playwright) at the 2008 Page-to-Stage Festival at the Kennedy Center, Washington DC.  Photo taken by Tony Eckersley.

The Synopsis:

Theatre, film, and music…  Three arguably dying or thriving art forms, depending on how you want to look at it.

My name is Dannie Snyder and I am a young artist working in Austin, Texas and often appearing in my hometown Washington DC for workshops and events.  Being young, I feel entitled to a little optimism and romance, but I will not be so naïve and say that my beliefs and goals will not change.  In fact I can only hope that with each new project, new co-workers may continue to shape my philosophy.  However, here is my “current” statement of purpose: Whether or not you believe theatre, film, or music are dying or thriving art forms, I believe I have the ability to re-empower them.

Let me go back a little…

From 2006-2007, I studied at the University of Huddersfield in England, lead by chancellor and practitioner Professor Sir Patrick Stewart.  My drama course concentrated on contemporary theatre and performance, especially devised theatre and community theatre.  During my studies, I focused a great deal on devised work and how to use devised techniques in other more “traditional” processes, but also on the transformative effects of theatre.  Upon returning to America, I continued to experiment with devised theatre in the community theatre through Peripeteia Productions 501 (c)(3) Not for Profit, Acting For Young People Inc. (AFYP), as well as with my drama students at J. L. Simpson Middle School where I was the musical theatre director for three years.

As a result, I now religiously follow John Lahr’s book Astonish Me: Adventures in Contemporary Theatre (1973) as well as Robert Brustein’s The Theatre of Revolt (1991); Victor Turner’s essays on treating the theatrical experience as a ritual along with Richard Schechner’s chapter on the differences between efficacious theatre and just “entertainment” in his book Performance Theory (1988); and all of Augusto Boal’s books.Overall, I believe 21st Century theatre and film have the potential for a major comeback through directors that aim to astonish audiences by truly transforming them, whether it be through inspiring change within themselves or within their community.

“…my intention was merely to mark a point by noting the hate of the marvelous which rages in certain men, this absurdity beneath which they try to bury it.  Let us not mince words: the marvelous is always beautiful, anything marvelous is beautiful, in face only the marvelous is beautiful.”  (Andre Breton, Manifestations of Surrealism)

One: I believe the terms “marvelous” and “astonishing” are one in the same and I believe Andre Breton is right: the act of transformation itself (that is what is astonishing) rests in the questions we, as an audience, are asked.  I am determined to find new scripts or, even better, to create devised theatre performances that defy convention and test audiences through these questions.

Two: I want to be a director that shapes those stories by exploring new methods and reexamining old ones.

Three: I want to make our collaborative process a symbol of something much more, a re-definition of the purpose and function of theatre and film in society.

While directing and writing, I am also working as the Founder & President of LIV creations LLC, a theatre & film production company. Part-time, I teach theatre, film, and percussion/music classes with Creative Action and Music & Arts.  Holding a BA in Theatre Studies, BA in Film & Video Studies, and a Minor in Music from George Mason University, I obviously couldn’t decide between the stage and screen and concert hall.

I initially wanted my own website not for just displaying my work in all areas, but for self-reflecting on my work.  However, I’ll be honest: I personally only know a few artists who I would care to read about their profound discoveries during their artistic processes…  So my blog turned more into a diary that I did not advertise.  It is a great place to get to know me, as I can be quite vulnerable and open…  But since some recent controversy over a blog posting that was perhaps too bold, I am now trying to make my blog a place to raise questions and, thus, conversations.

My inspiration to create this website was when I became a member of the GMU Players at George Mason University.

Let me go back a little…

GMU Players is a faculty-directed student organization within the Theater Department which produces eight captivating productions each season.  Mainstage productions are directed by Faculty members and Studio productions are directed by Students.  I had the privilege of directing David Lindsay-Abaire’s Fuddy Meers before graduating in spring 2011.  However, one of the most memorable plays I worked on was Last Days of Judas Iscariot with professor, and playwright, Heather McDonald.

I became a big fan of Heather’s when I took her “Call To Story” group therapy course for writers.  She taught me to admit that I think Robert McKee is a grumpy old man who, no doubt, fantasizes about having a love affair with Jack Nicholson.  Really, don’t get me wrong, I love his book Story and admire him, as well as his followers like Pixar, for his strong belief in the fact that everything relies on a good story.  Of course!  And how he underlines the technicalities which have proven effective in good storytelling is beneficial, however his negativity and extreme ego just make me want to eat a pencil rather than putting it to paper.  It’s like watching X-Factor!  Going through all of his picky diagrams and charts.  Sometimes he makes me feel like if I break a single rule the whole system might fail and Simon Cowell will come beat me with a microphone.  I think Russell T. Davies, writer of Doctor Who, puts my way of thinking better than McKee,

“It all exists in this great big stew in my head, because any story can go in any direction.  It’s not what you write, it’s what you choose…  It’s like the ideas are fluctuating in this great big quantum state of Maybe.  The choices look easy when recounted later, but that’s hindsight.  When nothing is real and nothing is fixed, it can go anywhere.  The Maybe is a hell of a place to live.  As well as being the best place in the world.”

In McDonald’s class, we read a lot of were-you-abused-as-a-child? books that were supposed to help us understand why we are alcoholics and, thus, why we are suffering from writer’s block.  And even though I wasn’t abused as a child, I don’t drink, and I have never suffered from writer’s block, the class was quite helpful, and for all the wrong reasons I suppose.  The irony laid in the fact that through a series of rather dismal “Recognizing Your Inner Artist” tests, I realized that the basis of my ideas come from humorous human contradictions that I manage to pick out of life every other minute.  In other words, no matter what I am doing, I am writing, and no matter what I write, no matter how “dramatic” it may be, there is comedy in everything.  And I don’t suppose in that state of mind you can follow any particular method, because the absurdity of life cannot be put into a simple genre.  That being said, I’ll study all of the methods, because I’m not about to say I didn’t learn anything from them, but I don’t believe I’ll ever commit myself to one strict way of thinking – sorry Mckee.  That being said, I find photographer Joan Fontcuberta inspirational.  He develops intricately detailed fictional stories then bases a series of staged photographs on them, but exhibits them to audiences as if they were in fact documenting social and/or scientific truth, such as his Secret Society of Karelia, a group of monks who train and practice in miracle working:

“I don’t believe in the artist just suffering…  I believe in the artist transmitting joy.  A critical joy.  I think that humor is very important in my life.  Even when we talk about serious things.”

To sum up…  Where University of Huddersfield inspired a great deal of my director’s vision, Heather inspired me to look more deeply into my personal connection with art, specifically the writer side of me.  And this eventually lead me to adding a blog to my site – a blog where I can share these profound moments with all artists, which I believe everyone in the world is an artist…

That being said, please feel free to explore my site and share your thoughts!  Thanks for visiting!

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