ABOUT THE ARTISTS

A note from the director...

There were a plethora of things that led me to THUNDER. One of the most important, however, was my brother (my fraternal triplet) performing "You'll Never Walk Alone" at his friend's funeral in 2019. This song had its own path full of grief and reinvention: from show tune, to folk song, to Liverpudlian sports anthem to my brother's heart on his sleeve. And now, reflecting on the emotional pressure cooker of being a triplet, the lyrics gave me the imagery of an inevitable storm, a golden sky, and fearlessness in the face of darkness.

THUNDER DOMESTIC has been extremely humbling to make. The concept of a choose-your-own adventure built on internal family structures was just a seedling. This cast is made up of generous geniuses, willing to acknowledge and personify the deep recesses of their existence. Cooperative helped my concept survive Covid-19, pushing me through Zoom rehearsals and building a website in replace of a stage. I gave Forrest, the composer, esoteric notes of the show and he gave back to me a lush soundscape in return. When my computer couldn't handle the video editing, Kirk and Posy of 53212 Presents let me use their functional desktop and hone my skills. In a time of hyper-isolation, I never walked alone.

Thank you to my co-conspirator Cedar Becher. Thank you to my chosen family, Kirk, Posy, and 53212 Presents Thank you to my wombmates Caroline and Alex.

- Zach Byron Schorsch

Devised and Directed by...

Zach Byron Schorsch

Zach Byron Schorsch is, first and foremost, a fraternal triplet. They believe entering the world with two other people explains their most empathic and also their most selfish moments later in life. Simultaneously towering over them while being unable to speak without stuttering, Zach’s childhood role in this trio was pathetic, tender, and imaginative. Secondly, Zach is a procrastinator. They graduated from UWM’s Dance Department in 2016, and after not having someone else’s deadlines to worry about anymore created their own. Zach worried if they ever were going to finish their creative work for Danceworks MKE, DanceLabs GIOT, Cooperative One Act Festival, MKE Fringe 2019, The Field MKE, events with 53212 Presents, and their 2018 full length WISDOM TEETH. They made it work. Thirdly, Zach is super queer and learns a lot from their queerness. Like how fluid the body is, beauty is, gender is and the creative possibility that allows. Like the importance of finding community, which makes the chance to be in a virtual process with lovely artist people during a pandemic treasured. And like adaptability of compassion, to let what was once dejected or destructive have a chance to be sincere and vulnerable. Byron is not Zach’s middle name, it’s James Dean’s and high school Zach liked it and committed ever since.

Created in collaboration with and performed by...

Katrina Hjelmgren

Katrina (She/Her) has dabbled in many different artistic endeavors over the years. She has taken many different dance classes although mainly focuses on ballet, contemporary, and modern. She has also performed in many different performances, some of which being an annual performance of the nutcracker with her former ballet studio for seven years, a few Danceworks Get It Out There! performances, a couple of On Display Global performances, and both Danceworks collaborations with the Milwaukee Opera Theatre: Fairy Queen Fantasy and Handel’s Bestiary. Katrina has worked with Dani Kuepper, Catey Ott Thompson, Mauriah Kraker, Gina Laurenzi, and Jill Anna Ponasik along with others. She is also a volunteer performer for the Bristol Renaissance Faire in the Queen’s court where she portrays a noble. Some of her other interests include photography, reading, writing, or really anything artsy in general. She also loves doing little photoshoots with her adorably crazy cat who sticks with her constantly, and is thrilled to be a part of THUNDER DOMESTIC.

Tom Hjelmgren

After sustaining injuries from gymnastics, Tom's movement trajectory shifted. From 1976 - 1983 Tom studied at Giordano Dance Chicago and Hubbard Street Dance Studio. During this time he appeared in fashion shows as well as community theater in the Chicago Metro Area in addition to teaching Jazz Dance and choreographing local productions. After a hiatus Tom began practicing and teaching yoga in the Kenosha area. Since coming to Danceworks as a student in 2012 he’s been very fortunate to have performed for Danceworks/Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Li Chiao Ping Dance, and Quasimondo Physical Theater, working under the direction of Dani Kuepper, Jenni Reinke, Brian Rott, Catey Ott Thompson, Li Chiao Ping, Angela Fingard, and Anne Basting. His favorite moments have been performing with his wife and two daughters in FAIRY QUEEN FANTASY, HANDEL'S BEASTIARY, and the currently streaming WINTER OF GRATITUDE, PARTS 1-4. Tom is grateful and excited for the chance to work under Zach Schorsch in THUNDER DOMESTIC!

Marissa Jax

From medium-size town Wisconsin, Marissa Jax (she/they) has been a mover and shaker since she was a toddler. With a background in competitive studio dance and show choir, Marissa pursued a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography with minor in Psychology at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and graduated in May 2015. During college, she was a part of impactful opportunities such as performing and showing her choreography in the American College Dance Festival and performing in Chicago for Brandi Coleman. While in Milwaukee, MJax was a company member of Milwaukee’s Panadanza Dance Company, a performer and choreographer for Kym McDaniel’s summer series, held internships with Danceworks Performance Company, and performed alongside Reggie Wilson’s Fist & Heel Co. in MOSES(ES): MILWAUKEE MADE. In 2016, Marissa moved to Minneapolis to collaborate with fellow UWM alumni to co-create the movement collective Little Works. From site specific work, to Minneapolis 7th Street Entry alongside musical artist The Nunnery, to drag shows, Little Works performed in various places in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Ms. Jax is a teacher, caregiver, artist, collaborator, entrepreneur, fierce friend, and performer. Though she is in grand transition, Marissa will be attending Lesley University in fall 2021 to pursue her longtime dream of obtaining her Masters in Dance and Movement Therapy.

Molly Kiefer

Molly Kiefer is a teaching artist and someone curious about all aspects of movement currently creating in Milwaukee, WI. She graduated from UW-Milwaukee with degrees in dance and psychology. Molly currently teaches with Pink Umbrella Theater Company and has previously taught intergenerational classes through Danceworks. Molly has performed with Wild Space Dance Company and for SkyLight’s KidsWrites program. Her research and work focus on the intersection of dance and disability studies and on making contemporary dance more accessible for audience members and artists alike.

Selena Milewski

Everything is connected, but nothing is touching. ~ Wendell Beavers

I am a multidisciplinary artist and writer based in Boulder, CO, and originally hailing from the "great place on a Great Lake," Milwaukee, WI. Part of the 2020 league of pandemic graduates, I earned my MFA in Theater: Contemporary Performance from Naropa University last May. I'm invested in devised theatre, writing for and from the body, and developing innovative modes of art-making for our times. My artistic passions include environmental advocacy, trauma witnessing and recovery, and layering systems of thought in order to play in the discourse. A former copy editor and theatre critic for Milwaukee's Shepherd Express, and current communications and publicity manager for Boulder Shambhala Center, I find my way professionally through wordsmithing endeavors of all kinds. In my art-making, too, language is essential. I am a playwright and poet, committed to divinatory practice in creative expression. During my time as a copy editor, I adopted the motto "Eschew Obfuscation" (credit to my high school English teacher, Kate de Lutio, née Bugni), and continue to hold clarity and pith as core values of my professional and artistic life. www.selenamilewski.com

With original music by...

Forrest Jackson

Forrest Jackson is a musician/composer who currently lives in Milwaukee. Hailing from Oak Park, IL, Forrest always grew up around different sounds. From a young age, he was encouraged to experiment with and explore the musical landscape. Using the piano, the trombone or his voice, Forrest blends his many musical influences into a style all his own. You can also catch him making a beat from time to time in his makeshift home studio. You can check out some of his work under his alias, Verdnt. Be warned, it is not for the faint of heart.

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