Alright, Eli-- Feel free to skim. The buttons are also links.
Some other things I'm proud of that are not included below are -- teaching theater to street kids in the Philippines, work with people with developmental disabilities (including starting the Murray Ridge - Oberlin College Alliance, which won the Murray Ridge Volunteer of the Year Award in 2012, 5 years after I graduated), producing for Oracle Productions, and being a member of Barrel of Monkeys.
Welcome to the rabbit hole of my life and attempt to "summarize" it.
...taylorbibat.com contains "home," "about," and "resume" tabs. See bottom of "about" for pictures.
"I am a inter-disciplinary artist, producer, and educator with a firm grounding in performance. My work pours from the desire to tear down walls and facades and reshape society into a honest and trusting community of humans first and foremost.
I create with an ever expanding tool belt of disciplines: theater, puppetry, dance, music, visual art, writing, event creation, and more. I am especially interested in the intersection of various art forms and how they can work together to express and touch.
I produce from a place of love for creation and community. I am professional, compassionate, and behave with integrity in the spirit of cooperation.
My formal performance training includes: Acting/Directing at Oberlin College, Musical Theater at CAP21 in NYC, The National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Circus Arts with Sylvia Hernandez-Distasi at the Actors Gymnasium, Clown with Paola Coletto, and Puppetry with Martin Robinson at The O'Neill National Puppetry Conference. Informal training includes more than I can fit in this box.
I have been lucky enough to work as a teaching artist...Many of the happiest moments of my life.
My work in fostering community began in college with The Oberlin commUNITY Fair, the Murray Ridge Oberlin College Alliance, and ArtsFest. In recent years I created Element: A New Plays Festival during which over 70 artists took turns eating, sleeping, rehearsing, and performing in an old church. Next was Kapwa: An Arts-Infused Benefit for Typhoon Victims in the Philippines which raised money to send food overseas. The last large-scale project I made was Crowded House: An Explosion of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale which led an audience through an interdisciplinary experience of the story created by six teams of theater makers totaling over 50 collaborators. In her Chicago Theater Beat review, Melody Udell wrote (referring to Crowded House): "...it's the risk-takers who keep things fresh and open creative dialogue for the rest of us in the theater community. And that's certainly something to appreciate."
Though I thrive on ambitious, formal projects I find extreme joy in connecting people and spurring mutually beneficial relationships.
I envision a world of honesty, trust, and magic. One where relationships are not fostered in order to get ahead, but to sincerely know and invest in a human being. One that is not primarily influenced by power and wealth, but by beauty, awe, and care. I believe it is our job as artists and leaders to create this version of the world and spread the template as far as we can reach in hopes it catches. Part of me sincerely believes it is possible that this can be the world's M.O. (I am driven by nearly impossible challenges.)
Some stuff I do... Producing, Directing, Devising, Curating--Theater, Puppetry, Film Teaching--Puppetry, Physical Theater, Circus, Creative Writing Performing--Puppetry, Clown, Circus, Text, Music Designing--Puppets, Shadow Imagery Community Building
We take a few moments to interview one of this year's presenters as part of a weekly installment of artist profiles. This week we talk to Taylor Bibat from Chicago, IL who will be presenting a workshop entitledManipulating an Object Using Faux Physics, How long have you been a puppeteer? What first brought you to the art form? I have been interested in puppetry since working will Bill Hubner at the 2001 Chicago Puppetropolis Festival as a teenager. This experience sparked my interest. I held onto a fascination with the art of puppetry for years, dabbling throughout college at Oberlin and the National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. After graduating in 2007, I started to pursue it as a career and have not looked back.
You recently directed the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival. Can you describe the experience of showcasing puppetry for your community? I co-curated Nasty, Brutish & Short Presents with Mike Oleon through Links Hall. It was dubbed at “the festival within the festival.” We set out to showcase Chicago artists within this festival that we assumed would be dominated by out of town artists. We wanted to make sure our peeps didn’t get lost in the mix. As it turned out, Chicago got puppet fever and more people saw the work than we ever could have anticipated! We ended up selling out all 10 shows (7 different programs featuring 13 local artists) and adding 2 additional performances by popular demand. Total we had about 1200 audience members over the course of the 8 days. Most of the out of town artists came through to see our artists, and beyond that the vast majority of the people in the seats were non-puppet people. The opportunity to work as a team with Blair Thomas, Claire Sutton, the amazing festival staff and the other presenters around the city to promote our artform was incredible. And in addition to the exposure we got to pay our artists significantly more than we had expected. That feels incredible. These artists work so hard for such little reward and to pay them in audience as well as MONEY… felt so great…
We also got to curate and host the Chicago International Puppet Slam which doubled as the closing party. At the end I brought everyone involved in any aspect of the International Festival on stage. At that point half the original audience was on stage and half was in the seats. I closed out the festival by having the audience show appreciation for the the artists and then having the artists show appreciation for the audience— because we obviously owed so much of the success of the week to them. It felt like a real communal moment of appreciation and celebration.
What other kinds of projects have you worked on during your time in the world of puppetry? I have done a lot of table top/bunraku style. If I were to choose a favorite style, that would be it, though coming from a theatre background I tend to be excited about things that combine, explore, and challenge established styles. One thing I love about puppetry is the magic of cooperation and teamwork, so I tend to enjoy work that involves multiple people on one object.
I have also performed “muppet style” puppets both for film and stage, coached and taught puppetry for theater, designed various styles of puppets for productions including shadow puppetry, and produced/curated work.
Currently I am excited about exploring puppetry for film (both performing and producing), as well as working on my artistic voice as a solo performer.
What do you hope festival-goers take away from your Faux Physics workshop at this year’s Geppetto Festival? Intention.
I hope festival-goers gain a greater awareness of each moment and various elements that go into them. By thinking about Physics we will bring to light everyday forces that we take for granted and therefore re-familiarize ourselves with something we didn’t realize we forgot.
Where can we learn more about Taylor Bibat? You can learn more about me at taylorbibat.com. Also, stay tuned to that site for breaking news about a new podcast I am creating called Puppet People (the Podcast)— set to premiere in Summer 2015.
Workshop description: Taylor Bibat presents this exciting opportunity to build and expand your puppet and performance skills. This workshop uses the study of classical mechanics to assist puppeteers in manipulating objects in space with intention. Participants will learn to bring focus to the initiation and termination of movement, to explore the path and quality of movement, as well as the interaction of objects in motion. Participants will learn to use the physical laws that govern bodies in motion and harness the power of the forces that operate upon them.
Those who attend The State Theatre’s production of Crowded House: An Explosion of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Talehoping for a somber evening filled with the Bard’s affecting prose are in for a disappointment. Crowded House isn’t for everyone, but that’s okay. It’s an interactive, disjointed, eccentric, visceral piece of theater — and a worthwhile experience.
Every aspect of Crowded House is unexpected. Audience members, in groups of about 20, mill around at The Blue Line Lounge in Wicker Park before a tour guide leads a shuffling group around the block to the Wicker Park Art Center. Once inside, the guide leads the audience through the building. Each room is its own stage and set with a different group of actors performing or representing scenes from The Winter’s Tale. The actors perform without regard to the group that gathers in around them, filling in the nooks and crannies of each room to watch what happens next.
The show is more concerned with personifying the resonant themes within the play — jealously, betrayal, repentance — than it is with clearly outlining the story. In the first room, we witness King Leontes’ maddening jealously over his pregnant wife, Hermione, and supposed lover Polixenes. Our guide takes us room by room to explore the topics that follow, loosely connected to the framework of the play. Each room has its own way of translating a scene and the themes that accompany it. Some scenes are bizarre and abstract without dialogue, and others are more interactive. One scene in particular involves a musical number, and audience members are given Dixie cups of wine to celebrate the engagement of Leontes’ daughter, Perdita, with Polixenes’ son, Florizel. But to recount what happens in each room is a disservice; the thrill of Crowded House lies in the anticipation of what will happen next.
Each performance — which includes a cast of more than 30 actors — is real and evocative, at times a little too close for audience comfort. No detail is left without exposition; the show incorporates everything from tightrope walking to playing cards, miming and even Beyonce. Some rooms are certainly more effective than others at delving into Shakespeare’s gloomy tale, but all of them open up room for a little creative interpretation, a reimagining of the story as we know it.
Experiencing Crowded House is like walking through a Stanley Kubrick film — not everyone, or even many, will love it. Most will leave bewildered and — with any luck — intrigued. But it’s the risk-takers who keep things fresh and open creative dialogue for the rest of us in the theater community. And that’s certainly something to appreciate." --Reviewed by Melody Udell
"...The other aspect of this production that deserves recognition are the puppets, designed by Taylor Bibat and Rachel Singer. I won't give away all of what the puppets were used for within the show because that would ruin the surprise, but each time they appeared on stage I fell in love with them. There are moments within the puppet sequences that one might believe they're actually living creatures!..." --Reviewed by Danielle Stack
"...Juniors Adam Kander and Taylor Bibat, who brilliantly played the title characters, took this to heart and acted their parts accordingly. In Kander’s portrayal, the theme came through at the end of the first act when he was thrust into a duel with his newly-made cousin, followed at the start of the next act by a pathos-ridden breakdown when he learns of his banishment.
With Bibat, we saw an adolescent inconstancy very true to her character’s age. Both actors were working to depict well-developed, believable characters.
“You have to treat them as real people,” Bibat said. “You’re portraying a person. You can’t play a cliché...” --By Nathan Heidelberger
"...She'd be sympathetic, even, were it not for the presence of the show's other standout performance, Taylor Bibat as her mute daughter, Kattrin. She watches the whole action with sideways glances that are at once heartbroken, murderous and hideously aware. She's been abused and disfigured by Courage's decisions, which Courage blithely makes light of, but Kattrin is also culpable, as she has survived because of them. At the play's climax, it is Kattrin who engages in a single, simple act of heroism. But, this being Brecht, it is quickly ended and swallowed up, and war continued, as Mother Courage continues, and so it goes..." --By Max Sparber
"...I might say there’s good and there’s better, but that would be solely to give myself the opportunity to single out the performances of Taylor Bibat and Lindsey Marks as the Siamese twins. Their eerie, jerkily graceful body work will surely be giving me nightmares for weeks to come..." --by Christine Malcom
"...The puppets (by Taylor Bibat and Rachel Singer) were super amazing. They were made out of cardboard as well. My favorite one was the train--or was it a dragon? You'll have to find out in the show! I thought the projections (Liviu Pasare, Bibat, and Singer) were very cool. They kind of reminded me of Manual Cinema. They were all an outline or a kind of sketch and they were very artsy and interesting..." --by Ada Grey
And creative energy and activity for 24 hours a day is the goal, as the artists will spend the week in a communal living and working environment at the newly-opened St. Paul's Cultural Center in Wicker Park. The space includes a kitchen, rehearsal rooms (or "think tanks"), and performance space. The rare communal aspect of the festival is meant to encourage and establish a heightened level of intensity, intimacy, and focus.
Element kicks off with a workshop and orientation, followed by six days of rehearsals and nightly public readings. Doors open to the public each night at 7 p.m. Highlights of each evening will include a pre-reading activity where the audience and other festival participants may plant sunflower seeds they received as publicity material; a post-reading talkback; and an eat, drink, meet, and greet.
The festival hopes to encourage and support continued relations that will result in future full-scale productions by theater companies across the country." --— Alison Hamm
"...Taylor, you've heard it all before. I probably wouldn't have found my way to the O'Neill without you, and that has without question changed my life. And without that, without you being a generous and wonderful friend, I certainly would not have found this special family that is ELEMENT. Just like when we were at Oberlin, I admire and am inspired by you. Working on ELEMENT has been a gift, a gift that you helped create. Thank you. Thank you so, so much..." --by Josh Sobel
"...the double helix of Taylor Bibat’s and Casey Cunningham’s vocal harmonies evoked something youthful and nostalgic, a feeling that usually takes a back seat to the curious comedy at ElvisBride shows..." --BY DAN CAFFREY
"Chicago theater actress raises funds for Philippine relief NOV 18, 2009
Chicago theater actress, Taylor Bibat, has been performing on stage since she was a little girl. Raised by a Polish mother and Filipino father, Bibat says although she was raised as an American, she always felt a need to reconnect with her Filipino roots.
“My Filipino side is the side that feels dominant,” says Bibat.
Bibat showed that affinity for her heritage when she organized “Kapwa” with other local Filipino groups. “Kapwa” is a Filipino word that roughly translates to “neighbor.” The art-infused charity event raised $3,000to send to victims of a string of typhoons that struck the Philippines in September and October. Bibat recruited numerous Chicago theater groups, such as The Redmoon Theater and Blair Thomas and Company, to support the event.
“I wanted to accomplish four things. One was raising awareness of the situation, one was having a good time, one was raising money and the other was creating a community,” Bibat said, “We were successful.”" --BY LAHAINA MAE B. MONDONEDO
Co-built this for Columbia College.
I'm mostly on the woman's feet.
Taylor Bibat, Age 8. This is clearly made in the early 90's.