The life of Francis of Assisi has been told many times. Born to a rich merchant father in the 13th century, he had a wild youth as a soldier and playboy. In prison he changed. He walked with animals and friends proclaiming a new way of life. Many believed and followed him. Others tried to contain or corrupt him. He walked to Egypt to bring peace during the Crusades. In the spirit of Rumi, King David and Hildegard of Bingen he was a visionary who wrote one of the great love poems to the earth.
The iconoclastic creator of the form-changing multidisciplinary works The Garden of Earthly Delights and Vienna: Lusthaus returns with this new full-length work. Conceived and directed by Martha Clarke, with text by poet Fanny Howe, God’s Fool interprets the ancient story of St. Francis of Assisi: a man of privilege who chose community over self and lived among the poor, lepers, and others disenfranchised by society. An a cappella score, derived from music spanning a period of 800 years, is incorporated into an impressionistic narrative. St. Francis of Assisi’s humility and profound connection to nature, animals, and simplicity, is relevant in the chaotic time we are experiencing. With a cast featuring Patrick Andrews, Ingrid Kapteyn, Luca Fontaine, James A. Pierce III, Rico LeBron, John Kelly, George de la Peña, and Evan Copeland.
Header photo by Noah Taylor
Photos by Amanda Lynn KIm
Conceived and directed by Martha Clarke
Created in collaboration with the company
Text by Fanny Howe
Music Direction by Arthur Solari
Martha Clarke - Martha Clarke is an American theater director and choreographer noted for her multidisciplinary approach to theater, dance, and opera. A graduate of Juilliard, she danced with the Anna Sokolow Company before becoming a founding member of Pilobolus Dance Theatre. She has choreographed for Nederlans Dans Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Rambert Dance Company, and The Martha Graham Company, among others. As a director, Ms. Clarke’s original productions include Garden of Earthly Delights, Vienna: Lusthaus, Miracolo d’Amore, Endangered Species, An Uncertain Hour, The Hunger Artist, Belle Epoque, Vers La Flame, Kaos, and Chéri. She directed Alice’s Adventures Underground, a collaboration with Christopher Hampton for the Royal National Theater UK, and A Midsummer’s Night Dream for A.R.T. Opera productions include Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Cosi Fan Tutti for Glimmerglass, and Tan Dun’s Marco Polo and Gluck’s Orfeo and Eurydice for New York City Opera, among many others. She created L’Altra Meta del Cielo for La Scala Ballet (2012). She directed and choreographed Chéri (2013) for the Signature Theatre and The Threepenny Opera (2014) at the Atlantic Theater Company in New York City. Her most recent production, Angel Reapers, a collaboration with Alfred Uhry played at the Signature Theatre as her second production in her five-year residency (2016). Awards: Ms. Clarke is the recipient of a MacArthur fellowship, a Drama Desk Award, two Obie Awards, two Joe A. Callaway awards, the Dance Magazine Award, the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement, and two Lucille Lortel awards. In 2019, she received the Flora Roberts Award from the Dramatists Guild.
Fanny Howe - Fanny Howe is the author of many volumes of poetry, essays, and fiction. She is the recipient of Guggenheim, Bellagio, and Ruth Lilly awards, among others. For fifty years, she taught at several universities and is Professor Emerita at UCSD. She has spent considerable time in Ireland, Boston, and California.
Patrick Andrews - (he/him) Theatre: Angels in America (standby for Prior, Broadway revival, dir. Marianne Elliot); Sun & Sea (featured soloist, BAM Opera, dir. Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė); The Iceman Cometh (BAM/Goodman Theater, dir. Robert Falls); Ms. Blakk For President (Steppenwolf Theater, opposite Tarell Alvin McCraney); Fosse (dir. Ann Reinking); American Buffalo (Steppenwolf/McCarter, dir. Amy Morton); Red (Goodman/Arena, dir. Robert Falls); The Normal Heart (Timeline Theatre, opposite David Cromer); Romeo + Juliet (Westport, dir. Mark Lamos); Parade (Writers Theater, dir. Gary Griffin); Metamorphoses (Lookingglass, dir. Mary Zimmerman); The People’s Temple (American Theatre Company, dir. Leigh Fondakowski); Cabaret (Drury Lane, dir. Jim Corti); Speech and Debate (American Theatre Company, dir. PJ Paparelli); The Homosexuals (About Face Theatre, dir. Bonnie Metzgar.) Film: Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party (Criterion/Hulu, dir. Stephen Cone.) A former frontman in the subversive synth pop surrealist quartet BAATHHAUS (baathhaus.com.) Current artist in residence with Dream Brother Gallery (dreambrothergallery.com.) International Summer Program participant at the Watermill Center (dir. Robert Wilson.) Thank you Aaron for introducing me to Martha. Gratitude to Nathan, Mark, Brian, Nicholas, Roberto, and LaMama for keeping me housed and fed and safe during these nomadic and turbulent few years. Love to my family and friends for holding me in grace. patrickandrewsartist.com IG: @paatrric Organizations to support: glitsinc.org, votesaveamerica.org, fiercenyc.org, aliforneycenter.org, grownyc.org, earthlawcenter.org.
Ingrid Kapteyn - Ingrid Kapteyn is an international performer, collaborator, and teaching artist with a BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School. She plays nine roles in Sleep No More NYC and was an original cast member of Sleep No More Shanghai. Ingrid has also performed with The Metropolitan Opera, Brian Brooks Moving Company, Danielle Russo, and Wally Cardona, and she appeared in the role of “Mary Chase” in Martha Clarke and Alfred Uhry’s Angel Reapers at The Signature Theatre. As a choreographer and director, Ingrid has co-created, produced, and performed seven immersive productions across New York and Shanghai with Welcome to Campfire (www.welcometocampfire.com) and HEWMAN (www.hewmancollective.com). Ingrid has taught around the world, including for Juilliard Global Ventures/Nord Anglia Education (in Shanghai, Dubai, Switzerland, Qatar, and NYC), New York University’s School of Medicine, UNCSA, and Princeton and Bucknell Universities.
Luca Fontaine - Luca Fontaine has Italian and French origins. He is a recent graduate of Juilliard (MFA Acting – group 51). Recipient of the John Houseman Prize for classical theater, the Juilliard Career Advancement Fellowship and the Michael & Suria Saint-Denis Prize. While living in London, he acted in a French/English production of The Misanthrope by Molière and a short film called The Puppeteer. At Juilliard, he acted in plays such as Julius Caesar, Three Sisters, God’s Ear, Indecent, and many other wonderful projects such as a movie called The Extenders. This is his first job after Juilliard. He is really thrilled to be on stage with such a company and working alongside Martha.
James A. Pierce III - A Philadelphia Boys Choir alum, Jerome Robbins Scholar, Ailey/Fordham BFA graduate and a 2020 AUDELCO Award winner for Featured Actor in a Musical (The Dark Star From Harlem; La Mama E.T.C), Jimmy is elated to return to La Mama in God’s Fool. 9 year BROADWAY veteran: Anastasia (Original Broadway Cast), The Lion King; NY THEATRE: The Legend of the Waitress & the Robber (PS21/Dixon Place), Jubilee for a New Vision (MCC Theatre, Members of the Choir (Chain Theatre), Kinky Choreopoems and Waafrika 123 (National Queer Theater); VIRTUAL: Powerhouse (Manhattan Repertory Theatre), Veterans’ Voices Playwrighting Presentation (New York Theatre Workshop), Training Tips with Jacoby Black (24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues), A Year in Space (Arts on Site/Dixon Place); REGIONAL: Little Dancer (Kennedy Center), On The Town (Papermill Playhouse); DANCE COMPANIES: Martha Graham, BalletMet Columbus, Ballet Hispanico, Ailey 2, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Adams Company Dance and Pilobolus, to name several. Jimmy’s performances of God’s Fool are dedicated to his big bro, Adesola Osakalumi.
Rico LeBron - Rico LeBron was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. After receiving his Bachelors of Music from Florida State University, he made the move to New York City. Shortly after, he went on tour with the first national tour of A Christmas Story. His work with Martha Clarke began in 2016 in the show Angel Reapers, written by Alfred Uhry, at the Signature Theatre playing the role of Valentine. He also appeared in The Tempest at Shakespeare in the Park and Make Believe by Bess Wohl at Second Stage Theater, both directed by Michael Greif. Film credits include Paramount Picture’s Social Animals on Amazon Prime, and In This Life by Robbie Fairchild that premiered at Lincoln Center’s Dance on Film Festival. Thank you to Clear Talent Group. Thank you to his family for their constant support coming to every show. @ricolebron
John Kelly - John Kelly is a performance and visual artist. His character driven performance works stem from autobiographical, cultural, and political issues, the challenges faced by social outsiders, and the nature of creative genius. These original works, both solo and ensemble, have been performed at MET Live Arts, The Kitchen, La MaMa, Lincoln Center, the Warhol Museum, the Whitney Biennial, NY Live Arts, BAM’s Next Wave Festival, REDCAT, and London’s Tate Modern. Kelly’s works have received 2 Bessie Awards, 2 Obie Awards, 2 NEA American Masterpiece Awards, a CalArts/ Alpert Award, a Visual AIDS Vanguard Award, the Ethyl Eichelberger Award, and a Mabou Mines ‘Ruthie’ Award. Fellowships include The American Academy in Rome; The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, The Guggenheim Foundation, The Sundance Theatre Institute, NYFA, Art Matters, Inc., and USA Artists. Acting credits include the Broadway production of James Joyce’s The Dead (Bartell D’Arcy); Christopher Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage (Cupid) at A.R.T. (Eliot Norton Best Actor Award); Rinde Eckert’s Orpheus X (Jon/Persephone) at A.R.T. and TFANA; Dog Days (Prince the Dog Man), an opera by David Little at Peak Performances; The Threepenny Opera (Street Singer/Filch) directed by Martha Clarke at ATC; The Clerk’s Tale (Spencer Reese) a film by James Franco. He just completed his first graphic narrative, A Friend Gave Me A Book. His latest group work, Underneath The Skin (based on the life of 20th century novelist and tattoo artist Samuel Steward), will be performed at La MaMa this December.
George de la Peña - George de la Peña is an interdisciplinary performer, choreographer, director, and educator. God’s Fool is his 5th project with Martha Clarke. Film: The Turning Point, Nijinsky, Kuffs, Brain Donors, Red Hot, One Last Dance, and others. TV: Popeye Doyle, Murder, She Wrote, L.A. Law, Star Trek: next generation, and others. Theater: Woman of The Year, On Your Toes, Cats, The Red Shoes, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Vers La Flamme, Vienna Lusthaus, Aunt Dan and Lemon. Director: A soldier’s story by Kurt Vonnegut, Des Moines by Denis Johnson, Radio Messiah by Andrei Codrescu, and others. Choreographer: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and others. Thanks to the University of Iowa, especially its College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, for continuing support of this research project.
Evan Copeland - Evan Copeland hails from central PA and moved to NYC in 2003. He received his BFA from Tisch School of the Arts where he is currently an adjunct professor. Dancing, he has predominantly worked with Shen Wei Dance Arts and the Sean Curran Company. He performed in Bobbi Jene Smith's Lost Mountain at La MaMa and was in Punchdrunk's Sleep No More NYC. Currently, he works with Jane Comfort and Martha Clarke. In opera, he has danced at the Santa Fe Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and with Opera Lafayette. Film credits include Rebecca Miller's She Came To Me with choreography by Ben Freedman, Boaz Yakin's AVIVA choreographed by Bobbi Jene Smith, and Jean Claude Billmaier's short NULLA with movement direction by Loni Landon. He appeared in music videos of artists Sam Huber choreographed by Stefanie Batten Bland, The Delliance Project choreographed by Omri Drumlevich, and Hercules Love Affair choreographed by Kyle Abraham. Copeland has staged works in universities including UW-Madison, Vassar College, Roger Williams, and NYU Tisch School of the Arts. He has assisted in setting repertory at Les Grande Ballet Canadiens de Montréal, UNSCA, STEPS, and at the Kennedy Dancers Dance School. He created works at SUNY Purchase, the Dalton School, and the Tisch School of the Arts Summer High School Intensive. Evan is a performer, teacher, creator, tap dancer, coach, and personal trainer residing in the woods of New City, NY.
Music Direction/Co-Sound Design/Arrangements: Arthur Solari
Mr. Solari, winner of the 2015 Drama Desk for “Outstanding Music in a Play”, is a multidisciplinary artist that actively collaborates in theater, concert dance, experimental music and film. He has been praised by the NY Times, the Wall St. Journal, and Backstage for an “evocative score”, as a “virtuosic performer”, and for “inspired musical direction” respectively. Recent work: Angel Reapers, Signature Theater (Lortel Award “Most Unique Theatrical Experience” & Hewes Design Nomination, Sound Design); Tamburlaine the Great, Polonsky Theater (Drama Desk Award “Outstanding Music in a Play”); The Tempest, Public Theater/Shakespeare in the Park; Chéri, Signature Theater; The Piano Upstairs, Spoleto Festival, Italy; Garden of Earthly Delights, Minetta Lane Theater.
Scenic and Mask Design: Robert Israel
Robert Israel has designed both sets and costumes for major opera companies and theatres in the United States and Europe, including The Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, The Paris Opera, The Vienna State Opera, The National Theater London, Covent Garden, The San Francisco Opera, The Seattle Opera, and The Los Angeles Opera. Beginning with Vienna Lusthaus in 1986, he has been a longtime collaborator with Martha Clarke. Their other productions together include The Hunger Artist (1987), Miracolo D’Amore (1988), Endangered Species (1990), The Magic Flute (1993), Cosi Fan Tutti (1993), Alice’s Adventures Under Ground (1994), Frank Loesser’s Hans Christian Andersen (2000), Belle Epoque (2004), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2005), L’Altra Metá del Cielo (2012), and Threepenny Opera (2014). He is the recipient of the 1987 Obie Award for Set and Costume for his sets and costumes for The Hunger Artist, and the 1986 Hewes Design Awards for Costume Design and for Scenic Design for Vienna Lusthaus. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Martha Rose Shulman, and their dog, Pi.
Lighting Design: Christopher Akerlind
Christopher Akerlind is a Tony and Obie award winning lighting designer whose work with Martha Clarke includes the Signature Theater’s production of ANGEL REAPERS and CHÉRI, the revival of GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS at the Minetta Lane, as well as THE THREEPENNY OPERA, BELLE EPOCH, KAOS, and L’ALTRA META DEL CIELO for Teatro alla Scala. Recent work on Broadway includes Lynn Nottage's new play CLYDE'S, and Paula Vogel’s new play INDECENT, Sting’s new musical THE LAST SHIP, ROCKY (Tony nomination), and THE GERSHWIN’S PORGY AND BESS (Tony nomination).
Co-Sound Design: Sam Crawford
Sam Crawford completed degrees in English and Audio Engineering at Indiana University in 2003. His compositions and sound designs have included works for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company (Venice Biennale, 2010), A.I.M by Kyle Abraham (Untitled Love, 2022), Camille A. Brown and Dancers (BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play, 2016), and David Dorfman Dance (Aroundtown, 2017). La Medea, a live film collaboration with director Yara Travieso for which he composed the music and wrote the libretto, premiered at P.S.122’s Coil Festival in 2017. Crawford is a lecturer in sound design at the University of Maryland's School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies.
Line Producer: Nicole Martorana
Nicole Martorana is a multidisciplinary creative producer and curator whose work spans theater, dance, fine arts, audio, film, and live events. Her projects have appeared at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Signature Theatre, Playwrights Downtown, The Public Theater, and others. Clients and collaborators have included Tituss Burgess, Martha Clarke, Herman Cornejo, Will Eno, Katori Hall, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Bill Irwin, Tony Kushner, and Alan Menken. She is the head of Artist Programs at The Watermill Center. In addition to God’s Fool, Nicole has worked with Martha Clarke on Chéri and Angel Reapers, both at Signature Theatre. She is ever grateful to Jim Houghton for (among other things) this brilliant bit of matchmaking. www.nicolejmartorana.com
Associate Lighting Design: Evan Anderson
Evan Anderson is a Brooklyn based lighting designer and musician. Recent work includes: Untitled Toast (Wooster Group), One (Henry Threadgill), And Now Hold Me (Britta Peterson), It’s A Wonderful Life (Hartford Stage), already there (Britta Peterson), the other shore (zoe | juniper). MFA: Yale School of Drama // evancanderson.com
Mask Construction: Margie Jervis
Theatrical designer, Margie Jervis, is the resident Scenic, Costume, and Puppet Designer for Creative Cauldron in the DC Metro area and a Teaching Artist for their educational programs for young people. Her multifaceted art career of over 40 years spans fine art and theatrical design. She received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 1978 in Sculpture with a specialty in Glass. Margie’s training in theatrical design and production was accomplished working for Seattle Opera in the 1980s and 90s in scenery production with a specialty in painting and sculpture. In 1995, she produced a lifelike swan used in Martha Clarke’s An Uncertain Hour, with dancer Rob Besserer. Her close connection to the hands-on making of art continues to inform her process today. Margie is delighted to have this re-connection with Martha Clarke. Other design credits include: Washington National Opera’s productions for young people, Charlottesville Opera, and design collaboration with Keira Hart on costumes and art installations for Uprooted Dance performed at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage and other events. Her fine art in glass has been exhibited and collected internationally in museums with a significant collection in the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In both 2010 and 2017, she was recognized with the Strauss Artist Grant Award from the Arts Council of Fairfax County, Virginia for professional achievement.
Production Stage Manager: Jacob Wexler
Jacob Wexler (he/they) is a professional stage manager based out of New York City and proud SUNY Purchase graduate. Focused primarily within the dance industry, Jacob has worked both domestically and internationally with acclaimed companies and choreographers such as Stephen Petronio, L.A. Dance Project, Caleb Teicher, and Alonzo King Lines Ballet. Other past credits include stage managing for the School of American Ballet, Fall for Dance, and the Fire Island Dance Festival. When Jacob is not stage managing, they can often be found reading leftist literature and playing with their beagle named Bagel. Please consider making a donation to an organization that is very dear to their heart, NYC-based Black Disabled Lives Matter. Ways to donate can be found on the IG @blackdisabledlivesmatters.
Vocal Coach: Jason Wirth
Assistant to the Director: Patrick Andrews
Music Supervisor: Rico LeBron
Dance Captain: Evan Copeland
Wing Construction: Arts Tech Group
Backdrop Painting: Jane Snow and Hugh Hamrick, with thanks to Scenic Art Studios
Transcription: Jack Goode
Heartfelt thanks to Angelina Fiordellisi, Lu Hamlin, Dasha Epstein, Richard and Mary Lanier, Susan Monderud and Richard Sonder, Jeanne Linnes, Ene Riisna, Tony Goodale, and Jody Arnhold
The creation of GOD’S FOOL has taken place over many years and we are grateful to all members of the company, past and present, who have contributed to this work.
In loving memory of James Houghton.
God's Fool is made possible with funding from The Roy Cockrum Foundation.
Photo by Noah Taylor