Directing

I direct new plays and gender-blurred classics with a focus on telling stories from diverse perspectives.

On Red Bike at the Know Theatre: “The actors repeatedly rearrange the cartons onstage with carefully paralleled choreography, perhaps representing the repetitive nature of life for the town’s citizens. But occasionally they grab a pair of handlebars and pedal as hard as possible — as kids are inclined to do.

“Gramata-Jones and Jenkins-Copeland are fascinating to watch, sometimes moving in sync with one another and sometimes separately. One often picks up an unfinished line from the other, and occasionally they speak in unison. Such actions are all in service of Svich’s poetic script … the cumulative effect of her cascading text is to depict the tumultuous desire of yearning youth to overcome a stifling environment.” — Rick Pender, CityBeat

The world premiere of Karen Hartmans’ SuperTrue, at the Know Theatre of Cincinnati, featured seven puppets by Erika MacDonald, video, and a forest of green t-shirts that surrounded the audience.

My Macbeth featured women as Donalbain, Malca, Malcolm, Ross, and Caithness, and combined several servant roles, the Doctor, and Hecate into one mythical character known as the Housekeeper.

When a media circus descends on the rural cow town of Corinth, TX, to cover a celebrity wedding, a community must confront its own expectations and prejudices about motherhood, identity, and gender roles in a post-modern world. American Medea, by Holly L. Derr, is an unflinching collage of story and culture, a new American myth based on our own contemporary Medeas.

Photo by Daniel R. Winters

On Harry & the Thief, by Sigrid Gilmer, at the Know Theatre of Cincinnati: “All of this genre morphing, humor and history is effortlessly stitched together by director Holly L. Derr. This is one of the gifts of having Hungerford at the helm. His work in New York and Los Angeles keeps him in the company of the best and brightest young theater makers. He has a knack for choosing collaborators who have so much intellectual street cred they can lean into the joy of the process.” — Stacy Sims, CityBeat

Romeo and Juliet at Opera House Arts at the Stonington Opera House derived it’s playworld from the Gothic aspects of the play. Intended to enable the audience to see beyond the idea of fate, the production focused on the choices made not just by the two lovers but also by their community and revealed that it is not the stars that bring about death but rather the violence of the patriarchy.

My production of The Rimers of Eldritch, by Lanford Wilson, used the year in which it was written (1967) to inspire an historicized costume design which, along with the bare-bone aesthetic of the set Wilson imagined, created an American ghost town eerily reminiscent of today’s stuck-in-time Bible Belt mentality.


As Long as Fear Can Turn to Wrath
was created collaboratively as part of Son of Semele‘s Company Creation Festival. In a production that evoked the make-something-out-of-nothing lives of the Okies themselves, ensemble acting and a reverence for the words of the original novel combined to tell a story of shared hardship, the value of family, and the importance of class solidarity. Both political and heart-wrenching, this piece reveals the human consequences of joblessness and reinforces the necessity of collective action.

A song & dance Twelfth Night, Or What You Will at the University of California at Riverside combined the worlds of rave, Las Vegas, and Lady Gaga to illuminate the Illyrian culture of excess central to this love story. I also created a 35-minute version for a tour to underserved communities as part of the Gluck Fellows Arts Education Outreach Program.

Ruins, a new half musical, half domestic drama, premiered at the California Institute of the Arts in 2010. Unfolding in both the past and the present, this piece by Brittany Knupper chronicles a family’s alcohol-fueled dysfunction. Lyrics by Brittany Knupper. Music by Tyler Gilbert.

For a complete resume, email me at hollylderr@gmail.com.

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