Monika Gross
  • Female
  • Asheville, NC
  • United States
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Monika Gross is a director, writer, performer, and puppeteer. Most recently, she has been training in butoh dance with Akira Kasai, Daisuke Yoshimoto, Tadashi Endo, Atsuki Takenouchi and in Noguchi Gymnbstics with Mari Osanai at CAVE in Brooklyn, as well as studying P’ansori with Oak Joo Moon since April 2009. In May, she was awarded Second Place in the Foreigner division of the Korean Traditional Arts Competition in Flushing, Queens. The judges were an array of highly respected traditional artists who had come from Korea for the competition.

Monika was Artistic Director of Theatreworkers (1982-90), directing such plays as Liverpool Fantasy by Larry Kirwan at Charas/El Bohio Cultural Center, which was extended to an additional three-week Off Broadway run, Cabaret Planet by Jeff Burchfield at the Mercer Street Theater, Kiss the Blarney Stone by Janet Noble at the Irish Arts Centre, and her own play How to Have Sex in an Epidemic at BACA Downtown in Brooklyn, which in 1983 was an early response to the AIDS crisis.

From 1988-90, she co-produced The New Community with dramaturg Victoria Abrash, a developmental series presenting over 30 projects and housed at the Irish Arts Centre in NYC.

In 1990, she founded Smarty Pants Theatre, directing and performing in Blood on Blood by Rebecca Ranson, which was named Best New Play at the 1990 London New Play Festival, as well as directing her own plays and adaptations: That's All She Wrote at Women's Workshop; Mortal Love, adapted from Edna O'Brien, at the Gramercy Park Arts Club; and Chekov's Last Story (1903) and A History of Education & Culture in the State of North Carolina at the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab Salon.

In December 1994, Smarty Pants PuppeTTheatre was initiated with a piece commissioned for the NADA Faust Festival, entitled "Oh, What a World of Profit and Delight!" or, Club Faust, featuring an all-vegetable, completely biodegradable cast ("All characters guaranteed to rot, roast, or burn in Hell."). She designed and manipulated puppets for Vladimir Mayakovsky: A Tragedy by the Russian Futurist for HERE's American Living Room Series, including a 13-foot "Enormous Woman" assemblage. She designed origami paper and wire-screen puppets for Theatrix' The Grateful One at Trilogy Theater. She has created masks, shadow screen and shadow puppetry in numerous productions she has directed, including The Crab Piece for Saltwater Theater and A New Look at Moss Hart's Light Up the Sky for Lightning Strikes Theater company. Her full-length play with puppetry, A Report on the Rainforest, was developed at the O'Neill Puppetry Conference and regionally at Seven Stages in Atlanta. Her original object-theatre adaptation of Ilene Beckerman's book Love, Loss, and What I Wore was featured in 3 Legged Race's Hand Driven III Festival of Object Theatre in Minneapolis.

Ms. Gross holds a BFA degree in Drama from the UNC School of the Arts and is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild and an associate member of the Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers. She is also an original member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab (since 1995), New York Theater Workshop's Usual Suspects (1989-99), and The Women's Project & Productions Directors Forum (1999-2002). Monika is also a distance runner and has completed 10 marathons, including 3 NYC Marathons (with a PR of 3:21:47) and 3 Empire State Building climbs (with a PR of 17:12).
butoh dancer, actor, performance artist, director, writer

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