Aug 03 2014

Club Diamond

Club Diamond is collaboration between Saori Tsukada, Japanese theater artist and Nikki Appino, American theatre and filmmaker. It began in 2013 when they decided to build a theatre piece based on their shared love for the Western and Japanese tradition of silent film. A simple story of a young woman coming to the big city to find fame and fortune is played out through different characters on stage (all played by Saori) using an original silent film and the traditional Japanese performance techniques of Benshi, (a Japanese orator for silent film) and Kamishibia (paper-play).

Club Diamond had its world premiere at the Under the Radar Festival at the Public Theater this past January. It was developed in part at the Sundance TheaterMakers Lab and at the Sundance Lab at MassMoca.

Photo credits: Ethan Lewis, Leyna Marika Papach

May 25 2010

Hell’s a Fable


In the west there is a powerful draw to stories of selling one’s soul to the Devil. Hell’s a Fable is a cautionary tale, a jest book, and a bit of a theological tract. Inspired by Western Mysticism, Christopher Marlowe’s Faust, Buddhist scholar Stephen Bachelor’s Living With the Devil and other writings on the devil in modern life, Hell’s a Fable is a small chamber with four actor/singers and live musicians.

The development process for Hell’s a Fable started with a trip to the New Mexico desert with Nikki Appino and filmmaker Cathy Lee Crane. There they collected images on film and used the Art Lab at the University of New Mexico to begin a conversation about design. The development continued with a month-long writing residency at the Philadelphia Art Hotel.


Photos: Carmen Silva, Cathy Lee Crane and Nikki Appino

May 24 2010


An environmental performance piece based on Alain Robbe-Grillet’s novel.

“In Appino and Corson’s Djinn you’ll discover why Aristotle included Spectacle as one of the six essentials of the theatrical experience. With a shoestring budget and a superabundant imagination they transform a structure built for utilitarian ends into a gigantic cabinet of wonders, resonating with the poetic impact of sheer space, the dialectic of light and shadow.” – Roger Downey, Seattle Weekly Read more ›

May 20 2010

Invisible Ink

Invisible Ink: Destiny and the Dance of Mata Hari

A dance/theater performance based on the life of Mata Hari. Written and directed by Nikki Appino with original choreography by Wade Madsen and an original score by Wayne Horvitz.

Invisible Ink is a dance/theater performance based on the life of Mata Hari (1876-1917). The work is created for two actors, one singer, and a three-piece orchestra. Marguerite Zelle, a.k.a. Mata Hari, lived with her husband in the Dutch East Indies where she learned the native sacred dances of Java and Sumatra. She incorporated them into her “performances” (stripteases) when she changed her name to “Mata Hari” and hit the cabaret circuit of pre-WW1 Paris. This combination of the sacred and the profane created a sensation. Read more ›

O, Say a Sunset

A staged concert inspired by the life and writings of environmentalist Rachel Carson.

Composed and written by Robin Holcomb, Directed by Nikki Appino, Sunset toured the United States in the fall of 2004. The piece featured musicians Eyvind Kang, Guy Klusevic, Doug Wieselman, and Wayne Horvitz.


Bye Bye

Here I Come Crying Again

Lose Again

Rain City Rollers

A musical retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth set in a women’s roller derby circa 1936. Co-written by Nikki Appino, David Russell and Kevin Joyce, music and lyrics by David Russell and Kevin Joyce.

The skirts are on skates in this original musical retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. Relive their tragic love story set in a roller derby marathon on the eve of World War II. This musical extravaganza, complete with ten girl skaters and a three-piece swing band, was performed on a track circling the audience at the Sand Point Naval Base. Read more ›

Before the Comet Comes

Written and directed by Nikki Appino, original score by Robin Holcomb.

Before the Comet Comes is a multimedia theater piece that explores personal and social apocalypse on the eve of the new millennium. This work premiered at the Empty Space Theatre in Seattle Washington.

Before the Comet Comes, is a theatre piece exploring personal and social apocalypse. It’s December 31st 1999, the eve of the 2nd Great Millennium, and four characters are stumbling about wondering if Y2K will destroy their computers, if the Second Coming is a hand, and if it really is the end of the world. In this narrative – told through text, music, and late-night video, we witness their hilarious and harrowing attempts to survive. Before the Comet Comes is a little tour through death, peace, and the ultimate meaning of life. Read more ›

May 15 2010

A Girl’s Gotta Ride

American rodeo celebrates rugged individualism, pits man against beast and seeks to tame the wild. Why do women do it?

Meet a few gals from the “All Women’s Rodeo”, these aren’t your fancy barrel racers that can make over two hundred thousand dollars a year at the men’s rodeos. These women earn around ten thousand dollars – if they’re lucky. But they travel miles of dusty roads to rope ornery steers, ride bucking broncs, and get thrown from the back of two thousand pound bulls. It’s a men’s game you might say, but if you give it a second look, you just might catch a glimpse into the heart of the great American cowgirl.

Read more ›