TDM Instructor Spotlight: Eugene Ma

May 4, 2020
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This week's TDM Instructor Spotlight features multidisciplinary theatermaker Eugene Ma, who taught Introduction to Clown (TDM 121M) this past semester! Eugene can be found working as a director, actor, clown, composer, and teacher.

Learn more about Eugene's work here:
Photo Credit: Hidetaka Ishii

What have you enjoyed about teaching in TDM?Eugene Ma
I adore how convicted and confident yet game the Harvard students I encountered were. They have a level of self-knowledge that help them hold court and pace themselves, even if sometimes that means knowing how difficult a deeply vulnerable, physical and social clown exercise would be for their particular personalities and how they strategize to brave it through one tiny moment at a time. The refreshing intellectual diversity in the room from students of vastly wide range of concentrations also sheds light onto the work from point-of-views I rarely considered, having mainly worked with conservatory actors.

What do you do as an artist outside of TDM? What’s an upcoming project you have that you’re excited about?
I direct theater, and scheme mischievous projects with friends, and perform in shows, and make music. I pursue bliss professionally.

After two summer projects being cancelled, I have been working hard with my writing team on a yet-to-be-announced new musical theater commission I’m directing at the Hong Kong Arts Festival premiering in Spring 2021 — keep your eyes peeled! I’m also working with playwright Cherry Lou Sy on a riotous re-conception of Turandot, taking primary inspiration from the Carlo Gozzi Commedia play of the same name that the famed Puccini opera is based on. The levels of cultural appropriation of this originally Persian tale that got its Chinese setting by the Italians are bizarre, and we intend to poke through and bathe in all of the conflicting cultural layers fully and hilariously!

What are some underlying themes in your artistic work? What’s something you’re excited about happening in the arts community right now?
Funny we are caught in a moment where the discouragement for social contact is the main theme. Anything I make or explore has to do with the unique complicité that only happens when there are live human exchanges in the room. I chase that alchemy. So this is definitely a strange moment. And my great hope right now is for this pause in social contact to build up such craving and need for human contact… that when the forums of assemblies can resume, we attack and embrace them in a new way we don’t take for granted. I think new dynamics of exchange will emerge when we get to the other side.

The Making of King Kong by Lisa Clair, Target Margin Theater  photo: Maria Baranova
The Making of King Kong by Lisa Clair, Target Margin Theater
Photo Credit: Maria Baranova

In the Blood by Suzan Lori Parks at Columbia University’s Graduate Acting Program. Photo: Heidi Bohnenkamp
In the Blood by Suzan Lori Parks at Columbia University’s Graduate Acting Program
Photo Credit: Heidi Bohnenkamp

Animus Anima//Anima Animus by Cherry Lou Sy, Weasel Festival @ The Public Theater. Photo: Matt Deinhart
Animus Anima//Anima Animus by Cherry Lou Sy, Weasel Festival at The Public Theater
Photo Credit: Matt Deinhart