March – April, 2017. The production was a multi-discipline collaboration with We Players, Rova saxophone quartet, and inkBoat Physical Theatre and Dance. Nathaniel co-devised the piece with an ensemble of 9 performers. It took inspiration and guidance from the ancient anglo-saxon poem and culminated in a post-modern fever dream of images, music, and text.
Shotgun’s BLAST Festival, March 2016; PianoFight, Sep-Oct 2016; UNO Fest & Vancouver Fringe, 2017. A solo bouffon show that features a misshapen and shameless mountain climber who has an obsession with the recently-deceased, real-life entrepreneur, Scott Dinsmore. Through storytelling, puppetry, catastrophic mime, and lip syncing to Joni Mitchell, he gleefully complicates the unquestioned pursuit of doing what you love.
Sep – Oct 2015. The ancient poem Beowulf served as a provocation for a two-person, theatrical poem that ritualized and challenged conceptions of heroism and monstrosity, kindness and shame. This was an immersive devising process with We Players Artistic Director, Ava Roy, performed at the Fort Mason Chapel.
June – July 2015. A co-production between Naked Empire Bouffon Company and Vancouver’s Karen Jamieson Dance. A seasoned choreographer who believes in the profundity of human movement is being taunted. A relentless bouffon is dismantling her serious practice with gleeful mockery. Trickster is a provocative, yet playful invitation to see what would happen if we didn’t take ourselves so seriously. It takes the form of a biting and funny dissection of dance and dance-making that we performed FOR dancers at the International Dancing on the Edge Festival.
May – June 2015. We Players site-integrated production of Ondine at San Francisco’s Sutro Baths by Jean Giraudoux and co-directed by Carly Cioffi and Ava Roy. I played the high strung Lord Chamberlain and then the grotesque 1st Fisherman. The production was nominated for 7 Theatre Bay Area Awards including Best Ensemble, Best Production, and several acting nods. It won two. One for costumes by Brooke Jennings and one for me. What an honor!
July 2014 – January 2015. Two bumbling mechanics attempt to break the world record for the fastest Formula One tyre change. Produced and performed at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the world’s largest indoor theme park. Also featuring Jerome Yorke Jr., with original writing and direction by Gabriel McKinney. Both are fellow graduates of the Dell’Arte International MFA program.
We Players site-specific production of the Scottish tragedy, June 2014. The concept for my character, the Thane of Ross, took its inspiration from the Roman Polansky film, and borrowed lines from Lennox. In one scene he’s Lady Macduff’s friend-turned-murderer, and in the next he gives poor Macduff the sad news just to watch him suffer. I also gave him a fake lame arm that suddenly worked when he needed to kill, Keyser Soze style. Ambition knows no bounds.
April, 2014. I performed an original piece lip syncing as a bouffon. “The longest-running circus cabaret in Toronto, Lunacy Cabaret showcases foolish clowns, skilled circus artists and fearless aerialists, uninhibited burlesque dancers, clever sketch and character comedy, and silly slappers of the stick! The endless buffoonery is applauded and appreciated by an audience of costumed revelers! It gets weird.”
Winter 2014. The Cutting Ball Theater. Directed by Yury Urnov. I was honored with BEST PUPPETRY in the SF Weekly who wrote, “Director Yury Urnov cast puppets as side characters. Performer Nathaniel Justiniano made this choice exceptional. His puppet consisted of only a cloth wrapped around a fake red crab apple, resembling a cloak wrapped around a head. But Justiniano’s dexterous tremors of fingertips gave the puppet body, personality, and an entire environment to relate to. This brief scene made a compelling case for the unique power of live theater: to build worlds with the most unassuming of tools.”
Produced by The Tomorrow Collective, Brief Encounters is an interdisciplinary performance series designed to fuse genres & push artistic boundaries. They pair 10 artists, each a practitioner of a different form of art, and provide for only 2 weeks to create an all new performance. For its 20th edition in September 2013, half of each pairing were comprised of artists like myself who were already participating in the Vancouver Fringe Festival. I was paired with legendary contemporary dance choreographer, Karen Jamieson. Together, we created a fun and satirical 10-minute bouffon dance.
Fall 2012 – Fall 2013. Under my direction and co-creation with Naked Empire Bouffon Company. Two prophetic pranksters play disturbing games inspired by Hamlet’s central theme, coping with death, while interweaving ecstatic ritual, parody, poetry, song, and extreme physical comedy into a fun-house mirror of the audience. Guerrilla/gorilla warfare, convalescent homes, school shootings, crying mothers, theatre audiences, religion, anti-depressants, avant-garde performance, medical research, and yes, Shakespeare’s Hamlet all got a proper skewering in this original, award-winning satire.