Thaddeus Phillips


Doris Duke Artist Award, 2016
Theatre

Philadelphia, PA; Bogatá, Columbia

A director, actor, designer, and world traveller, Thaddeus Phillips creates visual spectacles that take audiences to new frontiers. He has devised theatrical works inspired by whale songs, drug smugglers, Shakespeare, civilization collapse, doormen, and Edgar Allan Poe. His solo, 17 BORDER CROSSINGS (2012), examines international border crossings (like Colombia to Brazil; Morocco to the USA, etc). It was presented at the BAM Next Wave Festival and the Miami Light Project with upcoming tours to England, Poland, Boston, and Hong Kong. Honors include a Pew Fellowship and nominations for a Lucille Lortel Award and Drama Desk Award. He has received funding from NPN Creation Fund, MAP Fund, and NEFA, among others. Three projects will premiere in the next two years: The Archivist exploring the last film archive representing humankind; The Arrival, a theatrical adaptation of Shuan Tan’s graphic novel; and 100 Billion Nights, a children’s theatre show in collaboration with artist Steven Dufala and composer Juan Gabriel Turbay.

  • Photo Credit: Melibea Garavito
    Thaddeus Phillips
  • Thaddeus Phillips- 17 BORDER CROSSINGS (2015): http://vimeo.com/162424029
    17 BORDER CROSSINGS (2015)
  • Thaddeus Phillips- Red-Eye to Havre de Grace (2014): http://vimeo.com/113867144
    Red-Eye to Havre de Grace (2014)
  • Thaddeus Phillips- The Incredibly Dangerous Astonishing Lucrative and Potentially TRUE Adventures of Barry Seal (2015): http://vimeo.com/162419058
    The Incredibly Dangerous Astonishing Lucrative and Potentially TRUE Adventures of Barry Seal (2015)
  • Photo Credit: Johanna Austin
    Red-Eye to Havre de Grace (2014)
  • Photo Credit: Mario Cotto
    The Incredibly Dangerous Astonishing Lucrative and Potentially TRUE Adventures of Barry Seal (2015)
  • Photo Credit: Randall Ortega Chaves
    17 BORDER CROSSINGS (2015)

Suppose you just met someone who didn't know your work. What project from the past 10 years would you direct them to as an entry point to you and your work, and why?

WHaLE OPTICS combines all of the elements I use in my work.
It is a serious subject: planetary communications. Speech between humans (via underwear fiber optic cables) and whales (humpback songs).
It is funny and thought provoking at the same time: Groupon mishaps and Carl Sagan speeches.
It has a big set composed of a very few elements which are used to create both large and intimate scenes: The New York Public Library & a Dive shop in Choco, Colombi, etc.
It has romance: There is a scene in a Red Lobster in New Jersey.
It has music: I like music. The soundtrack is by the Latin American Pop Star Juan Gabriel Turbay.
It has a wonderful ending: The Antarctic Ocean lifts off the stage floor transforming into the belly of a full scale humpback whale floating above the dive-suited Japanese-American protagonist.