My research and artistic work blur the divide between theory and practice, looking to understand the nature of the embodied mind through performance. I am interested in how performance practice transforms our notions of self -- socially, politically, and personally. My explorations with voice for performance have revealed new vistas: I have been investigating alternative vocal techniques and language as an abstract medium, as means towards heightened onstage expression. This has led me to new practices with multi-lingual and choral performance, using as many as six languages in a play, creating work that occupies the precipice between knowing and unknowing. I am intrigued by our visceral response to performative moments that exist outside our literal comprehension – the distillation of experience that remains when linguistic clarity is obscured. This distillation can be both wrenching and moving; something essential can be revealed. Finally, I have spent much of my career as an actor, with over 50 professional roles around the country and the world, the latest in Philadelphia last spring as Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.
For the past 10 years, I have focused my writing attention on two main projects: the first was a novella, set in Baltimore and focused on a recent Russian Jewish immigrant named Dmitri Abramovich, and the second, a long novel about a Czech Jewish teenager. Forced to leave his home north of Prague just before the onset of WWII, he ends up in London, by way of Rotterdam, and trains to fly bombers for the RAF. Told in two voices, this novel also includes a contemporary story, narrated by his young nephew, living in Boston, about the complicated reception of his memoir about his uncle's experience. The themes I’ve followed have informed each other—the long arc of the history of the Eastern European Jews in my own extended diaspora family, and the effect their experiences of war has had on the generations they brought to the United States, England, and Israel. These projects have recently found their way into the world. The novella, The Sensualist, was published in 2012. It won that year’s National Jewish Book Award for debut fiction. The novel, The Last Flight of Poxl West, was published in hardcover in March 2015 by St. Martin’s Press. It has received a review on the cover of The New York Times Book Review, a laudatory daily review from New York Times lead book critic Michiko Kakutani, and an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. A paperback of the book will be published by Picador in 2016, and Japanese, Czech, French, audio book, and large-print editions are forthcoming. While I have focused on fiction of late, I have been publishing personal essays throughout the time I’ve been working on fiction. I am currently at work on a new full-length novel, a short novel, a collection of essays, and a collection of short stories.