Date of Performance: December 3, 2005

Theater: Access Theatre, New York City

Directors: Chris Eleftheriades, Juanita Rockwell, Barry Rowell
Authors: Jeffrey James Keyes, Juanita Rockwell, Barry Rowell, Gabriel Shanks

Cast: Tony Canada, Avi Glickstein, Jeffrey James Keyes, Barbara Lanciers, Peter Macklin, Shannon Maddox, Catherine Porter, Nomi Tichman, Nicholas Warren-Gray, Carolynne Wilcox, Carrie Yeager and others

About The Show: A day-long festival of public developmental readings of new plays in process. The plays included Between Trains by Juanita Rockwell; Buckaroo by Gabriel Shanks; Floydada by Barry Rowell; and Orange Alert by Jeffrey James Keyes.

Date of Performance: September 8-25, 2005

Theater: Bank Street Theatre, New York City

Director: Gabriel Shanks
Author: Bertolt Brecht, translated by Eric Bentley

Cast: Josh Billig, Frank Blocker, Oscar Castillo, Noshir Dalal, John Dohrmann, Christian Felix, R.J. Foster, Avi Glickstein, Janice Herndon, J. Damian Houston, Jeffrey James Keyes, Willie LeVasseur, Shannon Maddox, Joshua Marmer, Christopher McAllister, and Matthew Trumbull

Design and Crew: Allen Cutler (sets/props), Chris Meade (sound), Shannon Maddox (costumes), Erik C. Bruce (Lighting), Kate Scefonas (stage management), Shannon Hunt (house management), Nicholas Snyder (sound operator), Dave Zerega (lighting operator), Rob Fellman (original compositions, with Chris Meade)

Reviews and Press:

"...does more to add vitality to the contemporary theater than any number of pallid, if diverting, revivals."

Curtain Up

"A sincere and often eloquent analysis of the nature of power...a competent and thoughtfully executed production...Director Gabriel Shanks quickly hones in on Brecht's overriding theme: a critique of the horror of war and the randomness of power, concisely staging the senseless series of rebellions and feuds that spiral from a vendetta into open war. Shannon Maddox's costume pallette of dull brown and army green emphasizes the fickle nature of victory, painting each momentary winner in the same colors as whomever they have just defeated...Allen Cutler's set, through which this is conveyed, resembles an abstracted warehouse: paint-streaked columns and a red-spattered floor are grazed by yards of plastic sheeting, while dozens of bare lightbulbs, metal chains, and pulleys dangle from the ceiling. It's lovely, and the chorus of bare bulbs make for an immensely varied lighting pallette."

"Frank Blocker is a fascinating Mortimer who approaches the problems he encounters in an almost detached, philosophical manner rather than with hot-blooded passion...Shanks has set the play's action in the near future, indicated primarily by modern dress and the use of guns rather than swords. But he does not overemphasize this conceit, instead allowing the play itself to raise issues of power and responsibility, the cost of perpetuating war, the inevitability of corruption, and the possibility of redemption. Although Edward II is generally considered to be one of Brecht's minor plays, it still has relevance."

"Shanks translates the spirit of the court into a kind of gang lust for sexual pleasure."

New York Theatre Experience

"The first act, especially in this staging by Gabriel Shanks, feels pitched toward Edward and Gaveston, particularly the latter, who, as portrayed by the fairly charismatic Noshir Dalal, arouses our sympathy for being turned into a political pawn by his headstrong lover and their intolerant enemies....Erik C. Bruce's lighting is appropriate throughout and the set by Allen Cutler -- fashioned around heavy plastic sheets that hang around the space as backdrops, along with a variety of scary looking hardware -- is terrifically evocative. Chris Meade's sound design works well, too, and the original compositions by Meade and Rob Fellman serve the show nicely."

"From the always-on-the-move ensemble, Oscar Castillo stands out as Edward's ally Berkeley, as does Josh Billig's duplicitous Baldock...Brecht's play has much to say about governmental abuse of power."

About The Show: Bertolt Brecht's version of EDWARD II is a sharp and searing commentary on the nature of war in society told through the rise and fall of the infamous, openly homosexual Plantagenet king of England, whose battles with a despotic and ambitious ruling class led to his deposition and murder. This production of Brecht's EDWARD II moved the action into an imagined future, finding new modern relevance as it explored the devastating repercussions of a power-hungry, warring society.

Date of Performance: October 21 - November 7, 2004

Theater: The Independent Theater, New York City

Cast: Frank Blocker, Janice Herndon, Shannon Maddox

Director: Gabriel Shanks (assistant: Benjamin Keightley)
Design: Allen Cutler (sets/props), Chris Meade (sound), Shannon Maddox (costumes), Erik C. Bruce (Lighting)
Author: Steven Berkoff
Reviews and Press:

Village Voice: "Voice Choice"

BackStage: "The Fall of the House of Usher calls for committed performers, meticulous staging, and nonstop technical support. Creative Mechanics delivered on all counts and succeeded in making an indelible impression with its haunting, harrowing presentation...eclectic pacing, vivid stage pictures, and creative physicalization of inanimate objects."

named one of 2004's Best New York Theatre Productions by Backstage, 12/29/04

"Creative Mechanics presented the most creatively indelible production, reviving Steven Berkoff's take on Edgar Allan Poe's Fall of the House of Usher. Frank Blocker, Shannon Maddox, and Janice Herndon were hypnotic under director Gabriel Shanks, and the designers (Allen Cutler, Chris Meade, and Erik C. Bruce) turned the Independent Theater into a haunted mansion full of harrowing imagery." -- Elias Stimac, BackStage

Show Business Weekly: "Takes the audience on a journey through the imagination...a definitively creepy appearance. The Fall of the House of Usher will make you jump at least once and send chills down your spine."

New York Magazine: "Off-Off Broadway Pick":

Talkin' Broadway: "a flawless ride...jumping straight from the pages of the original novella and straight into our nightmares...a nice mix of ghastliness and elegance to the production, and as Halloween approaches, those who brave the stairs up into the Independent Theatre will not be disappointed."

Off-Off Online: "A pageant of hair-raising theatrics, the play will keep you riveted in your seat from the first full-throated scream....pulses with the menace and raw sexuality of the vampire-like attachment of the Usher twins."

About The Show: In Steven Berkoff's sensuous, experimental adaptation of the Poe classic, the horror in Poe's psychological thriller becomes physical and terrifying. The Usher twins, Roderick and Madeline, carry the tormented history of their cursed family name inside the macabre walls of the House of Usher. As their incestuous relationship sinks them deeper into madness, they employ the help of Roderick's estranged friend Edgar to alleviate their pain. Edgar, however, is only drawn deep into their nightmare; when Madeline dies, the two men must bury her in the dank family crypt, deep below the family manse. There's only one problem...Madeline is still alive.

Date of Performance: April 4, 2005

Theater: The Mainstage Theater at the Sol Goldman 14th Street Y, New York City

Cast: Nick Amick, Josh Billig, Frank Blocker, Richard Brundage, Jai Howard, Eugene Kopman, Larry Laboe, Terry J. Long, Robert Neal Marshall, Liz Myers, Jay Oliva, Bobbi Owens, Jiehae Park, Julie Rosier, Richard Saltzman, Cathy Shipley, Reet Roos Varnik, Maryann Walsh, and Anita Wlody

Directed by: Frank Blocker, Avi Glickstein, Janice Herndon, Benjamin Keightley, Terry J. Long, Shannon Maddox, Chris Meade and Gabriel Shanks
New Short Plays By: Tom Grady, David Guaspari, Bill Johnson, Claude McMillan, Shannon Murdoch, Barry Rowell, Adam Ruben, and Peter Snoad
About The Show: Creative Mechanics' first international short play competition presented the finalists in staged readings, followed by the winners' selection by the attending audience: "The Baggage Handler" walked away with top honors.


including all nine acclaimed finalists from the 2005 competition!

now available at or I-Universe

Date of Performance: July 10-27, 2004

Theaters: The Space at 40 Worth, part of Peculiar Works Project's In Praise of Folly: The Don Quixote Project

Cast: Frank Blocker, Roger Calderon, Oscar Castillo, Avi Glickstein, Janice Herndon, Mitchell Horn, Shannon Maddox

Conceived and directed by: Gabriel Shanks
Writers: Gabriel Shanks, Oscar Castillo, Nick Mathews, St. Augustine, the Bengali Women of India, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Walt Whitman; additional text by Christina Gorman and Frank Blocker
About The Show: Commissioned by Peculiar Works Project, STEALING PEARS is a free adaptation of the final chapters of Cervantes classic novel Don Quixote. Incorporating original and found texts along with Cervantes, the piece explores the final moments of the knight-errant's life through his final confession. "So sensuously staged, it teems with visions." (Village Voice)

Dates of Performance: July 2003; December 2003; February 2004; July-September 2004

Theaters: The Red Room (NYC); Rose's Turn (NYC); Jewel Box Theater at the Abingdon Arts Center (NYC); The Playwright's Project (NY); Whole World Theater (Atlanta, GA); Skybar at Mt. Washington Tavern (Baltimore, MD); National Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival (Columbus, OH) -- co-produced with

Cast: Frank Blocker

Director: Gabriel Shanks
Writers: Frank Blocker
About The Show: In the comic solo monologue SOUTHERN GOTHIC NOVEL, author/performer Frank Blocker hilariously performs eighteen citizens, insects and animals in the burg of Aberdeen, Mississippi, a Twin Peaks-ish town of secrets and mystery. When Viola Haygood is kidnapped, everyone's got motive, opportunity, but who's the culprit? "A theatrical tour-de-force...sly, sharp, erudite and unerringly funny." (Next Magazine) "Pick of the Week: A dazzling array of dysfunctional Southern characters that surpass anything Margaret Mitchell dreamed up for Gone With The Wind. (Show Business Weekly) "Archly satirical and sweetly ingenuous ... wry sophistication and gleeful, childlike abandon that's certain to satisfy the cranky inner toddler of even the most jaded New York theatergoer." (NYTheatre) SOUTHERN GOTHIC NOVEL begins a national tour in 2004-2005. Visit the show's website

Date of Performance: April 15, 2004

Theater: stART Series at Judson, New York City

Cast: Helen Bessette, Frank Blocker, Michael Busillo, Mitchell Horn, Allen Jared, Shannon Maddox, Nick Mathews, and Maryann Walsh

Conceived and directed by: Gabriel Shanks
Writers: Gabriel Shanks and Frank Blocker
About The Show: BETTER AND WORSE was created specifically for the stART Series to be part of "April Showers", an art event exploring the modern marriage debate. Finding inspiration in the myth of the warrior lovers Achilles and Patroclus, the piece used position papers on gay marriage from conservative think tanks, and set them against timelessly classical representations of love. (Photography: Ralph Lewis)