“When stories die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.”
Sue Monk Kidd
Sue Monk Kidd
“Art lives beyond the bounds of categorization. It rolls around freely in reverberate valleys, painting hillsides with passion and the chaos of humanity. To try to define it is to attempt to bottle lightning. It limits something that can otherwise be boundless, something that I can explore from so many different ways. I approach theatre as a director as if every story being told could have an effect on lives, because they often do. As an artist, I can only establish the boundaries in which I believe a project will live, and must understand that nobody can predict the lasting impact my work may have. Theatrical performances are explorations of human nature that can represent the complex web of intersections that humans exist in; theatre can reflect the nuances of human behavior; theatre can be the connective tissue of the human experience. I must understand the plights of the less fortunate, those living through drastically different oppressions than my own, before I can truly experience “freedom.” I prioritize the wellbeing of others, acknowledging the potential change that theatre can inspire in the din of a small crowd as well as the masses, so that I can help to create an honest picture of what our country really is: to me, that is the embodiment of intersectionality.”
CODY RENARD RICHARD SCHOLAR
I am proud to have been inducted into the inaugural Cody Renard Richard Scholarship Program cohort in the spring of 2021. With the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 that have forced artists to pivot or feel completely tripped up, I feel a distinct ecstasy to be part of a program that will “honor, uplift, & support the next generation of Black, Asian, Latinx, Indigenous and People of Color theatre makers.” Additional gratitude to the Broadway Advocacy Coalition for sponsoring and facilitating the creation of this program.
For more information on the scholarship, check out:
The Queer Code is the amalgam experience of Two Black Queerfolk on an island of blue in the Deep South's sea of red. The team of David H. Parker and Devin Franklin has created a space that fosters self-empowerment, individuality, and freedom of expression. We meet at the intersection of college-age individuals, the LGBTQiA+ community, and the Black community in order to give people like us an opportunity to see and hear the thoughts, stories, and testimonials that they might not have ever heard represented in media before. We speak openly so that those that identify with us may also be moved to do so.
IT STARTS WITH THE SHOES is an original senior thesis workshop. It explores people living in underrepresented intersections and flourishing in their joy despite having to find their land legs in unsupportive childhood homes.
The script is based on a series of interviews I conducted with fellow Queer/Back/non-binary individuals. The characters’ stories are Frankensteined, knitted together like patches in a quilt to create this piece of drama because they have something vitally important to voice: their humanity. Their identities are not an option, nor a checkbox; they are facts of life.
I was born in Birmingham just like one of our characters, but I also have the experience of a child having lived all over the South. This has given me a wealth of stories within myself that I have had the honor of filtering through many of my performance roles, but getting to grip a story from the core – from just a whisper of an idea – and build outwards toward a realized concept as a writer and director has been an unparalleled journey. Ultimately, this premiere is a workshop, a fledgling version of what it will eventually become, but anyone leaving this 20-30 minute piece of work having engaged with these characters will be a goal achieved for myself and my team of dynamic, talented, and committed artists.
Recipient of five national awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, including a Citizen Artist award and Special Achievement in Directing (Roy Lightner & David H. Parker), DISCONNECT was an original story performed through both live streaming video in which a dozen college students worked through a tangled web of mistaken identities, accidental revelations, and conflicting values... mostly on their cell phones. This project was a collaborative work, created by a dozen students and two faculty, all from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Theatre. The directors then set to work on bringing this complex and challenging work to life, aided by several student directors, choreographers, and editors. Meanwhile, students created original music and expanded the world of the play through social media.
IS ANYBODY OUT THERE? was a premiere virtual project that explored a new medium combining traditional theatre and experimental film. Three characters spanning the spectrums of gender and sexual orientation explore a post-apocalyptic world in which they believe they are the last humans on Earth, leading them to grapple head on with isolation, sexual expression, and their own morality. Written by Carlton V Bell II. Starring Devin Ty Franklin, Rachel Simonne, and Michael Charles.
IT STARTS WITH THE SHOES (2021), photo by Rachel-Kate McGee & poster by David H. Parker
All private acting coaching services $15/per 1/2 hour virtual session + first 1/2 hour FREE
Scene Study: Sitting down to read and comprehend your script/sides can be taxing by yourself. Together, we will analyze your script or sides and develop your character through thorough understanding of the given circumstances, style, conflict, and more of the work so you can turn out a completely unique character!
Audition Preparation: We will work together to make sure your self-tape conditions serve to create your fiercest audition, and if you want help with an in-person audition, we can do that, too! Meeting in-person will require you to be in the Los Angeles area, have proof of your COVID-19 vaccination, and is subject to a rate increase per session.
Cold Reading: You probably think going into an audition completely unprepared is difficult, right? Honestly, sometimes... but cold reads don’t have to be! The truth about cold reads is that you’re always prepared for them; let me show you exactly what I mean.
Improvisation: This is often everyone’s biggest fear in acting - having to create the lines off-the-cuff and bounce off another actor flawlessly. Together, we’ll discover ways to put aside performance anxiety when it comes to improv’ing so that we can be our beautiful spontaneous selves.
Voice & Movement: The old maxim is right - you really do have to walk before you can fly. Or is it crawl before you can walk? Either way, in acting, if you’re not fully in touch with your mind, body, and voice, how can you expect to act as a character that is? That’s why you and I will work together on methods of grounding ourselves, bringing focus and clarity back to the mind, and instilling a sense of confidence in the only voice you’ll ever have.
”Let me be your cheerleader!”
Under this level of involvement, I will happily join you in three (3) VIRTUAL meetings: PRE-PRODUCTION, ONE (1) REHEARSAL, & POST-PRODUCTION, not to exceed a maximum of three (3) hours TOTAL. At these meetings, I will engage with you and your creative team, offering opinions and critiques based on what is said in or presented during the meetings exclusively. This level does not require research or engagement exterior of the meetings; I will provide solutions if there are glaring problems, and offer my own insights with regards to conceiving your concept and reflecting on it after completion.
*** $150 TOTAL, or $50/hour meeting/rehearsal
”Can I bring a friend to set?”
Under this level of involvement, I will eagerly join you on-set or in your theatrical production space on days of rehearsal, tech, or filming to actively co-curate your project. Correspondence and VIRTUAL meetings leading up to the day(s) booked are FREE. In addition to the energy I already would have brought you in the first level, I will bring an attitude and brain for problem solving and executing your vision. We are magnets for the things that we deserve, so let’s figure out together how to get you yours.
*** $75/hour rehearsal/day of filming
”We might be family after this!”
Under this level of involvement, I will essentially brainstorm with you on ideas, exchange notes back and forth on specific concepts or script analysis, view cuts prior to the final edit and offer critiques, help smooth out rehearsal/filming processes, and be a general go-to when it comes to having a set of third party hands on your vision. The most difficult part about creating is not being sure whether what you’re creating will work out as you intend; that’s where I come in. Between the two of us, there’s no room for failure, only some dope art you’ll be proud of for taking the terrifying leap to create!
*** $300 TOTAL (not to exceed 15 hours of work TOTAL)
“The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival has honored the original Theatre UAB production “Disconnect” with five national awards, including Special Achievement in Directing (Roy Lightner & David H. Parker).” — Shannon Thomason, via UAB News
“Parker will graduate May 1 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham; their next destination is the University of California, Los Angeles, where they will pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in theater directing — on a full scholarship through UCLA’s Graduate Opportunity Fellowship — beginning this fall.” — Shannon Thomason, via UAB News
”[Lee] Shackleford serves on the KCACTF Region IV selection committee and reported to the department that ‘Disconnect’ was one of three productions in the region that received unanimous support from the committee.” — Shannon Thomason, via UAB News
“BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Starting Thursday night the students at UAB will be presenting a new original play which will also follow COVID-19 protocols, making them one of the first to do it in the area. It’s also free to stream.” — Jonathan Skinner on DISCONNECT, via WBRC News, Newsbreak, and MSN.com
“The ‘brand-new story with classic roots‘ will be performed over five evenings. ‘Five intimate explorations of themes that do not fixate on oppression, segregation and the struggle of the black experience as most black-centric stories do,‘ wrote Parker, who plays Tom Wingfield in the play and who wrote about the production as the show’s dramaturg.” — Shannon Thomason on THE GLASS MENAGERIE, via UAB News
“With each episode, I always find myself laughing until I cry and smiling because everything that’s discussed I can relate to... I look forward to every new drop.” - Ceint on THE QUEER CODE, via iTunes Podcasts
“You are all beacons of light, grateful for your existence.” - justsomequeer on THE QUEER CODE, via iTunes Podcasts
“Full Disclosure: I know these people — I teach in their Theatre Department — so I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying and admiring their talent and their dedication to their craft. But as a straight white cis dude, I am aware of the barrier, a line I mustn’t cross... I can’t just sit down with them and say, “Hey, guys, I want to be the best ally possible, so tell me what it’s like to be young, black, and gay in this time and place.” Y’know? They’re inviting us all to the table, folks, with warmth and honesty and a delightful ease of conversation. We hear them in their silliness, their frustration, their hopes, and their fears. We hear their obvious love for each other, and their dedication to being the best humans they can be. David says it best in episode one: “We are young... we have a lot to experience, but we’ve also experienced so much that nobody else has.” It’s so true, and kudos to him for knowing this and saying it. They want to learn, and they also want to share what they’ve learned. And that, if you ask me, is how it oughta be. Pull up a chair, friend. You’re welcome here.” — leeshack on THE QUEER CODE, via iTunes Podcasts
“David H. Parker (Kendall) provides an alluring energy to a child longing for normalcy, and acceptance to what his heart needs, and wants.“ — David Edward Perry on YELLOW, via BroadwayWorld.com