Matthew Francis (Russell, Writer and Exec. Producer)
is an actor, writer, and teacher based in San Francisco. His one-man play about the struggle to reconcile faith and sexuality, The Gospel According to Matthew received its world premier at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2007. Gospel has subsequently been performed across the country and a film of the solo show is viewable at matthewfrancis.net. His acting work includes: (at the American Repertory Theater) Cleomenes in The Winter’s Tale, George in Scott Zigler’s production of All My Sons, and Boodkin in Yuri Yeremin’s Ivanov. Other credits include: the international tour of Julie Taymor’s The King Stag, a leading role in Holes Before Bedtime, a rock musical, and involvement in the development of Gone Missing by The Civilians.
He is a graduate of Stanford University, where he developed a one-man show
under the tutelage of Anna Deavere Smith entitled She Just Stopped Breathing,
which concerns the loss of his mother at age 13. He was subsequently awarded a Golden Grant from Stanford to create a one-person docudrama about twins and Twinsburg, Ohio (he is an identical twin himself). For House Arrest, Ms. Smith’s docudrama exploring the relationship between the press and the presidency, Mr. Francis traveled with Ms. Smith through the South to conduct interviews about black church burnings and with the Christian Right at the Republican National Convention and is featured in her books, Talk to Me: Travels in Media and Politics and Letters to a Young Artist. He was also Ms. Smith’s first teaching apprentice at New York University.
He has worked and taught in theaters and institutions across the country including: Virginia Tech, NYU Abu Dhabi, Pepperdine University, Arena Stage, the A.D. Players, the American Repertory Theater, and the Institute for the Arts and Civic Dialogue at Harvard University. A classically trained singer, Mr. Francis studied at the Schola Cantorum in Paris, France. He also holds an M.F.A. in acting from the Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University/Moscow Art Theater School.
Aysan Celik (Sarah) is a theater maker, performer, and actor. Career highlights include: Off-Broadway --The Black Eyed (NYTW), Attempts On Her Life (SoHo Rep), Faust (CSC/Target Margin), Pericles (Red Bull), Turn of the Screw (Theater Row); Regional – Bob: A Life in Five Acts (Humana), Antigone (ART), 9 Parts of Desire (ATL). Aysan is an Associate Artist of The Civilians: recent credits -- Paris Commune (BAM, The Public) and Let Me Ascertain You (Joe’s Pub). Aysan is a founding member of Theater Mitu: current projects -- co-creator/performer in Juárez: A Documentary Mythology (2014 NEFA Award, currently on tour) and co-author/co-creator/Hamlet in Hamlet/Ur-Hamlet (NYUAD Arts Center). Screen credits include the critically acclaimed web series Downsized and award winning films Mr. Lamb and The Brooklyn Heist.
Elliott Kennerson (Jonah) is an independent natural history filmmaker in San Francisco. He received his M.F.A. training in wildlife documentary in Montana and holds a B.A. from Yale in archaeology. Most recently, he produced a series for KPBS in San Diego, funded by Kickstarter, called "Animal R&R" about wildlife rehabilitation. In his former life as an actor, he was an associate artist with LightBox Theater Company in New York.
Frances Chewning (Vet Receptionist) is an actor/writer living in Los Angeles; originally from Madison, Wi, she comes to L.A. by way of New York City.A few of her favorite stage roles include the "bubblegum prophetess" Cassandra in the world premiere of Adam Rapp's ANIMALS & PLANTS, Jo Britten in James Baldwin's BLUES FOR MISTER CHARLIE (TimeOut New York's critic's pick) and Miss Wildest in Dane Whitlock’s ALMOND GROVE! at The Cavern Club in LA. While in New York, she co-created the pioneering comedy web series THE MIMI & FLO SHOW, which received over 2.5 million views. She is a graduate of the Moscow Art Theatre School Institute at Harvard University with an MFA in acting. A UCB alum, Frances performs regularly with her improv team Flash Garden and has appeared in numerous commercials.
Joe LaRue (Director, Producer) is stage/film director, video editor, photographer, graphic designer, and projection designer. His short films ADOBO, LOADED, and THANKSGIVING have screened at festivals including the Boulder International Film Festival, D.C. Asian Pacific American Film Festival, Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and the Long Island Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Last year he edited his first feature, the Nigerian romantic comedy WHEN LOVE HAPPENS, which was one of Nigeria's top grossing films of 2014. He has also edited festival favorite short films JUST LIKE THE MOVIES (Indie Spirit Film Festival, Las Vegas Intl. Film Festival) and MISS MIAO (Dances With Films Festival, Austin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Film Festival). From 2000-2006 Joe served as artistic director of New York's Tobacco Bar Theatre Company, where he produced and directed original off-off-Broadway plays, including the acclaimed premiere of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's GOLDEN AGE. Most recent projection design credits include STRIKING 12 at Laguna Playhouse, four consecutive years of THE 24HR PLAYS LOS ANGELES, TONYA & NANCY (Club Oberon, Boston), SERPENTINE PINK (Son of Semele), and CARNEVIL (Sacred Fools). Joe has worked as an associate and supervising producer for the lifestyle television shows Everybody Nose and Naturally Delicious. Joe dabbles in photography, his photos having appeared in both The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. He holds an MFA in Acting from the University of Florida.