Stage Test - Collaborator Bios

For more information about the event, go to the Stage Test main page.

photo of Brooke Allen Brooke Allen's (playwright) works have been produced in major theatre centers including New York, London, and Chicago, where she's collaborated with Red Tape Theatre, Ruckus Theatre, Tympanic Theatre Company, Not Waiting Productions, and HealthWorks Theatre. Allen is best known for her plays Ruby Wilder, The Deer, and The Life and Death of Madam Barker. As a live lit storyteller, Allen has appeared with Mortified, Write Club, You're Being Ridiculous, and The Paper Machete. Allen is a graduate of the Creative Writing program at Webster University and has a masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

photo of Ashely Bagot Ashely Bagot (cast / director / playwright) is a Rotate Theatre ensemble member and works in many areas of theatre and film, including directing, acting, playwriting, and designing. In addition to her work with Rotate Theatre, Ashely has collaborated with many other theatre companies, primarily in the Chicago area. Ashely also works assisting people with mental illness access housing and recovery services.

photo of Leah Roth Barsanti Leah Roth Barsanti (playwright) is a Chicago-based artist with an MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage from Northwestern University and a passion for writing in any collaborative medium. Her work focuses on strong women and girls trying to make space for themselves in a world that doesn't ever make that easy. Her protagonists struggle against expectations: both their own and those of others. Her specific areas of interests include anything related to mental health, sports, forgotten or overlooked moments from history, and zombies. Leah's plays have been semifinalists for The O'Neill, Screencraft Stage Play, and Blue Ink Awards, finalists for the Goodman's New Stages Residency, and winners of the Judith Barlowe Prize. She is also an active roller derby player with the Windy City Rollers.

photo of Maria Dahman Maria Dahman (cast) has been performing in Madison since moving here in 2017. Recent performances include Laconia (2022) and Lysistrata (2019), both at Broom Street Theater where she now serves as the artistic director. She really enjoys new works and experimental theater that incorporates music and dance, and is so happy to have the opportunity to work with Rotate Theatre again.

photo of Autumn Yael Fearing-Kabler Autumn Yael Fearing-Kabler (cast) grew up in Los Angeles where they were involved in theater arts for many years and they are SO stoked to be getting back to it with Rotate Theatre, having recently performed in Rotate Theatre Mini Fest. They hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Community and Environmental Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have been engaged with community organizing and mutual aid efforts throughout their time in Madison, have worked as a professional cook, and recently began working with the Jewish Social Services of Madison where they are passionate about continuing a housing first approach with newly arrived families and individuals, and eager to bring more of the community into the process of refugee resettlement. Autumn Yael still often cooks at home, and loves being in nature with their life partner, Fawzy, and 2-year-old Pitbull, Romy.

photo of Erika Kachama-Nkoy Erika Kachama-Nkoy (cast) was born in Kinshasa, Zaire, she grew up in Maine, went to college in Chicago and has made Madison her home since 2000. Recent performances include Rotate Theatre Mini Fest and Broom Street Theater's 2018 production of Beg Pardon (Sally Hemings). Erika is a user experience designer at PBS Wisconsin, UW-Madison.

photo of Safina Klepzig Safina Klepzig (playwright) loves all types of theater from classic plays like Death of a Salesman to contemporary musicals like Hamilton and Spring Awakening. She was recently seen performing in Rotate Theatre Mini Fest. Safina is also a New York Fashion Week runway model and has been published in international and domestic media. Safina grew up as a competitive horseback rider and now works as a veterinary assistant at a small animal clinic.

photo of Sarthak Kumar Sarthak Kumar's (cast) fascination of good storytelling has always motivated him to explore, appreciate, and perform theatre. Sarthak's experience includes writing and directing for the theatre during his undergraduate studies in India. He has also worked in translation and editing of plays from English to Urdu, informed by his deep passion for Urdu and Hindi poetry. When bringing characters to the stage, Sarthak also draws on his extensive scientific background and deep interest in behavioral psychology.

photo of Aaron Lade Aaron Lade (cast) is making his triumphant return to the stage after a long hiatus. In a previous life, he enjoyed performing in New Mexico and Colorado. You may have seen him on stage as Father Flynn in Doubt, Juan-Julian in Anna in the Tropics, or Dead Body on the Floor of the Barn in the hit television show Longmire. He tries not to take himself too seriously, and to date the Universe has obliged him.

photo of Kathleen Nichols Kathleen Nichols (cast) found a home on the stage and screen in the Twin Cities theater community at a young age and then went on to study Theater & Drama, as an acting specialist, at UW-Madison (and was fortunate to meet, and now return to play making, with incredible actors/directors Brea and Cyra). Kat has also worked as a teacher in NYC and NJ K-12 schools facilitating student learning and elevating student voice in improv, plays, musicals, spoken word, documentary video-making, playwriting, and arts-based social activism.

silhouette of a woman Kristin P. (playwright) is a midwest-based playwright. Their work often uses everyday circumstance, naturalistic dialogue, and humor to explore the absurdity and insidiousness of dominant expectations, compulsory behaviors, and systems of control in contemporary United States.

photo of Richard Paro Richard Paro (director / playwright) is an award winning theatre and film director based in Madison, WI. Richard uses highly collaborative techniques throughout the artistic process and much of his work emphasizes coalition-building, as seen in theatre productions like There Might Be... Stumble. In addition to his work with Rotate Theatre, he has worked with many companies in Chicago, including Stage 773, Arc, Theatre-Hikes, Prologue, Tympanic, Dandelion, and Stockyards Theatre Project, and his feature-length and short films have screened at film festivals in 22 states and 15 countries. Always excited to share his favorite theatre, movies, and music with new audiences, Richard has worked in festival programming and organizing for years in Chicago, Milwaukee, and surrounding areas.

photo of Breahan Eve Pautsch Breahan Eve Pautsch (director / playwright / cast) is a director, actor, and writer. In addition to her work with Rotate Theatre, Breahan has collaborated with Raven Theatre, The International Voices Project, Wildclaw Theatre, Broken Nose Theatre, Speaking Ring Theatre, Halcyon Theatre, Theatre Entropy, North Lakeside Players, Scriptworks, and Akvavit Theatre where she served in many roles including artistic director. Breahan is frequently called upon for her expertise directing contemporary Nordic plays for audiences in the US. Breahan grew up in Cadott, Wisconsin, graduated with a BA in Theatre and English from UW-Madison, and was based in Chicago for many years before recently returning to Madison.

photo of Cyra K. Polizzi Cyra K. Polizzi (cast / director) is a theatre actor with a wide range of experiences in other specialties (directing, writing, facilitation, etc) and modalities (dance, music, film, etc). Whether exploring realism or other stylized approaches, from silent movement-based work to campy drag musicals, much of Cyra's work incorporates humor, queer possibilities, and multi-issue activism. Cyra grew up performing in the driftless area of rural WI, attended UW-Madison in Theatre Acting, Gender Studies, and Environmental Studies, and worked in Zhigaagong / Chicago for 15 years in storefront theatre and independent film before happily returning to Teejop / Madison. Cyra then attended a graduate program in Gender Studies at UW-Madison, formalizing their transdisciplinary research asking questions about accessibility, sustainability, and wellness in theatre practices.

photo of Rini Tarafder Rini Tarafder (playwright) is a PhD student in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies at UW-Madison. Her research is about political theatre in India. Rini's plays have been performed at festivals in Madison and in educational spaces in India. She also experiments with poetry, musical instruments, photography, sewing, and digital forms of performance art. Rini's ideal day would include walking through the woods, looking at birds.

photo of Chrissy Thuli Christina Thuli (cast) is an educator who discovered her love of working with students through a Theatre for Young Audiences production of The House I Call Love she performed in during her time at UW-Madison. Experiences with acting, improv, music, writing, and directing help Christina integrate theatre in a myriad of ways into her teaching. Christina is passionate about equity and joy in education, spending time with family and friends, playing music around a campfire, running, and spending time in nature.

photo of Vanessa Uzcategui Vanessa Uzcategui (cast), originally from Venezuela, discovered a love for theater at age 10. Vanessa graduated from Flagler College with a B.A. in Theater Arts. Previous roles include the Dark Witch in the play Dark of the Moon by Howard Richardson and William Berney. Vanessa also loves to take dance classes.

For more information about the event, go to the Stage Test main page.