Vivian Nesbitt – Actress
A SAG/AFTRA actress working in Albuquerque, NM, Los Angeles and New York City. You’ve seen her on The Night Shift, Breaking Bad, Manhattan, In Plain Sight, The Messengers, Longmire, and more. Vivian’s first professional acting job was understudying on Broadway at Roundabout Theater. She has gone on to develop a considerable body of work including Off-Broadway’s United Solo Festival, Theatre Row, NYC where her original solo play The Bark & The Tree was awarded Best Documentary Play and Best Lighting Design, as well as regional theater and summer Shakespeare. Her short film Leverage was an official selection of Taos Shortz Film Festival and NMWIF Film Fiesta garnering her an award for Best Performance. She was invited to perform her original solo play The Bark & The Tree at the prestigious Los Angeles Women’s Theater Festival in 2016. She holds an MFA in Acting and has continued her studies with luminaries such as Anna Deavere Smith and Alan Arkin. Vivian is also co-producer (with her husband John), of Art of the Song, heard on public radio nationwide.
Review of The Bark & The Tree by Cahir O’Doherty for IrishCentral.com
“The Irishness of Irish Americans has long been called into question in Ireland. From the moment they step off the dusty tour bus, or out of the Sacred Heart festooned taxi, their poignant quest for their authentic selves has frequently prompted mocking laughter from the locals. … So the tensions and the attractions between the blow-in’s and the born-and-bred will probably always be with us, but they have rarely been as absorbingly staged as they are in playwright and performer Vivian Nesbitt’s one woman show The Bark and the Tree.
Part of the pleasure of The Bark and the Tree is watching Nesbitt contend with disparate narrative strands. She intuitively understands where the gold is and goes directly to it with a facility that undercuts the sentimental portrayal of Irish American heritage seekers.
Sometimes you have to understand your tribe’s story to make sense of your own. Nesbitt shows us how a nation in crisis, and a culture facing into dissolution, can flounder but eventually gather itself up, take stock, express its journey in words to make sense of itself and the road ahead. Nesbitt’s story is her ancestors’ story, and it’s Ireland’s story too. In Ireland it is said that we all live in each other’s shadow, and the truth is we all live in each other’s stories too.
The Bark and the Tree explores how far we can range from the stories that have shaped us, but it also reminds us that we can find our way back, and in doing so add to the story, and possibly even uncover a happy ending.”
Si Kahn – Author
Si Kahn is a folk, bluegrass and roots music legend, once described as “a rumor in his own time.” At almost 75 years old, he is at the peak of his powers as performer, songwriter and recording artist. His songs of family, community, love, work and freedom have been recorded and performed by hundreds of artists in North America and Europe.
For 52 years, he’s worked professionally as a civil rights, labor and community organizer. He’s currently the lead organizer for Musicians United To Protect Bristol Bay, an international network of over 650 musicians and music lovers using their music and media access to help stop the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska. Si has sometimes described his music as “a hobby that got out of hand,” which indeed it has.
Si’s body of published work includes 16 CDs of his original songs, including six releases on the Dutch record label Strictly Country Records, plus albums on Rounder, Flying Fish, and the Swiss label Doubletime Music; a CD of original songs for children, Good Times and Bedtimes; a collection of traditional labor and civil rights songs recorded with Pete Seeger and Jane Sapp; and the songs and/or scripts for seven musicals.
He has toured with Pete Seeger, Andy Irvine, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer and John McCutcheon, and has shared concert and festival stages with such artists as Maria Dunn (Canada), Buffy St. Marie (Canada), Peggy Seeger (England), the Looping Brothers (Germany), The Kruger Brothers (Switzerland/U.S.), Dick Gaughan (Scotland), and U.S. artists the Fairfield Four, Hazel Dickens, Ani DiFranco and the original Red Clay Ramblers.Ironically, Si has never even attempted to earn a living as a musician.
Alice Jankell – Director
For Disney, Alice helped to create and develop new Broadway musicals. As Associate Artistic Director of The Williamstown Theatre Festival, her directing work included AS YOU LIKE IT, the world premier of DINAH WAS, and ENOUGH ROPE, the special event on Dorothy Parker starring Elaine Stritch. Alice has worked and learned in venues as varied as the Mark Taper Forum, the L.A. Opera, Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, La Mama, and City Theater, among many others, as well as in film and TV. Favorite acting roles include a solo performance, backed by the L.A. Philharmonic, at the Hollywood Bowl. She has taught acting at Carnegie Mellon and on the Graduate level. For the past 6 years, Alice was the Creative Director of F.A.B. Women (For, About, and By Women) under The Barrow Group‘s Off-Broadway umbrella, helming the company of 125 professional female writers, actors and directors. During her tenure, F.A.B. Women generated and produced 48 new plays. Alice is a founding member of Core Artists Ensemble, and a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect.
John Dillon – Music Director/Guitarist
John is a singer-songwriter, performer, music activist and former guitar maker. John launched The Standing ‘O’ Project as a way to overcome what he sees as one of the biggest inequities in the music business: despite being talented creative professionals with a profound work ethic, working musicians are often shortchanged professionally.
In 2003, John and Viv launched Art of the Song. This one-hour, listener-supported weekly radio program is heard on over 100 stations across North America. They have interviewed some of the biggest names in the industry with a focus on the universal truths common to all creative expression.
In the ‘70s, John spent a year traveling (by thumb and freight train) across the US and working with some legendary artists of the time. Eventually, he came to rest in Taos, New Mexico. During his 25-year career as a guitar maker, John has built more than 80 custom instruments for musicians including Steve Earle, Tish Hinojosa, Trisha Yearwood, and The Mavericks.
John and Viv now live in their 32-foot Winnebago Cambria–The MoJo Motorhome–and are pleased to share Mother Jones in Heaven with audiences across North America and beyond!