Fertile Ground Portland

A Festival of New Works Blog

Meet the Artist: Rusty Tennant January 29, 2013

Rusty Tennant is Co-Artistic Director and Director of Marketing at Fuse Theatre Ensemble. He’s also the Resident Props Designer for Artists Rep. A Renaissance man with a lovely red beard to boot, Rusty is the director of “(…) an experiment in repetition” and “Sonnetscape,” two of the three shows from Fuse at this year’s Fertile Ground Festival.

(…), an experiment in repetition
Thurs-Sat Jan 31-Feb 2 @7:30PM, Sun Feb 3 @2PM
Thurs-Sat Jan 31-Feb 2 @10PM, Sun Feb 3 @7PM
Both shows at the Arena Stage at Theater! Theatre! 3430 SE Belmont St. $10 in advance, $12 at the door

co-Artistic Director of Fuse Theatre Ensemble  & Director of (...), an experiment in repetition

co-Artistic Director of Fuse Theatre Ensemble & Director of (…), an experiment in repetition

Rusty has an MFA in Directing and Performance from the University of New Orleans and is an Advanced Actor/Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors. A well-traveled director/actor/choreographer/designer-/writer, you can never be sure where you’ll find his fingerprints on a production or his name popping up in a program.

Selected Regional Credits include: Carousel (Gary English, dir. Connecticut Rep), House of Plunder (Ryan Rilette, dir. Southern Rep), Mother Courage (Robert Benedetti, dir. Nevada Conservatory Theatre). Recent Portland productions: Henry IV 1 (Falstaff), A Midsummer Night’s Somnambulism (Bottom), Sonnetscape (Best Choreography and Sound Design, Portland Outdoor Shakespeare Festival)(Director/Performer), Karaoke Night! (the musical), #smarter_than_phones and MySp_ace (Performer/Writer/Director, Fuse); And So It Goes, Seven Guitars, Race, (I am Still) The Duchess of Malfi, Jack Goes Boating, The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Drammy Award, 2010)(Props Design, Artists Rep); Lear’s Follies, King Lear (Set Design, Portland Shakespeare Project); Same Time, Next Year (Director), To Kill a Mockingbird, The Shape of Things, Moonlight for Magnolias (Lighting Design, The Pub); Machinal (Director, Pacific University), Failure to Communicate, Romeo & Juliet and Plumfield, Iraq (Fight/Movement Choreographer, Lewis & Clark College.) For film and television credits, which include: “Grimm” and “The Dukes of Hazzard,” search imdb.com. Rusty’s favorite food group is the chocolate group.

Gerrin Mitchell, Kate Mura, Christina Markowski in (...), an experiment in repetition
Gerrin Mitchell, Kate Mura Christina Markowski in (…), an experiment in repetition


1. An Artist in My Field I Have a Giant Artist Crush On Is . . .

Anne Bogart

2. A Work That Has Shaped My Artistic Voice Is . . .

The Viewpoints Book by Anne Bogart and Tina Landau

3. When I’m Not Creating Art You Can Often Find Me/Us . . .

Wait… there's supposed to be a time when we're not creating art?

4. Five Songs On My Writing/Painting/Creating Playlist Are . . .

I can only speak for myself and it's more about artists than songs…


Saul Williams

Mos Def

La Dispute

The Presets

5. A Portland Artist/Creative/Arts Organization I'd Love To Work With Is . . .

Artists Rep, Tears of Joy, Wonderheads, Hand2Mouth, Post5, PETE

6. I Am Terrified Of . . .


7. We are Obsessed With . . .

Daring ourselves

8. The Books Currently On My Nightstand is . .

The Sonnets, No Exit, Peter Pan

9. Three Adjectives That Describe This Work Are . . .

Devised, Different, Daring

10. In the Indie Art-House Biographical Film Of My Life, I Should Be Played By . . .

Uh… I'm an actor. I got this one, thanks 😉


1) Tell us about your Fertile Ground Festival work.

Fuse is offering a trio of work during Fertile Ground. Our feature production is our newest creation (…). What started out as a simple experiment in repetition has blossomed into an exceptionally poignant and relevant tale about the our need to connect. For the first weekend of the festival, Nikolas Hoback's solo show Virgin in Neverland will perform in our late night slot. Sonnetscape will take that slot in the second weekend.

2) How did this work come about? What inspired it?

I've always had a fascination with Open Scenes in early acting classes and the way they teach us to tell the story with our bodies. I wondered what would happen if we tried to tell a complete story by repeating the same basic script over and over. What we've created lives comfortably between the worlds of realism and absurdism and is shockingly poignant.

3) Talk about your creative process. (How do you work? When do you work? What gets you inspired?)

We gather as an ensemble every Saturday morning in our weekly Fusions. These allow us the freedom to explore the basic Viewpoints laid out by Anne Bogart and Tina Landau while growing together as an ensemble.


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