Ray Caspio is a performance and teaching artist whose original work explores identity and the performer-audience relationship. Caspio builds authentic connections with the audience and creates a haven from a culture inundated with impersonal media stimuli. Cleveland Scene Magazine calls Ray a "riveting...magical performer," and profiled him as 2014's Thespian. He was awarded Best Risk Taker in ‘14 for the conception and performance of TingleTangle, the acclaimed Weimar cabaret-inspired evening created during his tenure as Associate Artistic Director of Theater Ninjas (2012-15), which leveraged stories from his journey with sexuality and marriage equality to show how oppressive laws and hate speech affect the queer population. A critic recognized that audiences left with "a challenge to free yourself to be who you are," a core element of Ray's artistic ethic. Other Ninjas performer-creator credits include the devised productions The Turing Machine (co-writer), The Excavation @ the Cleveland Museum of Art (lead creative team, writer), Ninja Days @ the Cleveland Museum of Art (producer, writer), Erato & Luigi (co-writer), Code: Preludes, Monster Play, and Marble Cities (assistant director); and the scripted Inoculations, Black Cat Lost, and Telephone. He has performed at Cleveland Public Theatre (The SantaLand Diaries at Playhouse Square, returning Winter ’16; and creator of the performance installation, Peek, at Pandemonium ‘12), convergence-continuum, Great Lakes Theater Festival Outreach, and Talespinner Children’s Theatre.
Ray teaches for MetroHealth Arts-in-Medicine, Playhouse Square Community Engagement & Education, Playhouse Square’s Disney Musicals in Schools program, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. He forged Theater Ninjas’ relationships with Planned Parenthood and the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, and subsequently led workshops for teens on identity and performance at those organizations. Ray received a 2016 Creative Workforce Fellowship. The Fellowship is a program of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture. Funding for the Fellowship program is made possible by the generous support of Cuyahoga County residents through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.
Ray is the creator of the Uncle Toots YouTube series, which is being developed into a live performance piece during his Fellowship (premiering February '17), exploring how living characters coexist with diverse people while dealing with issues of sexuality, aging, family dynamics, and bigotry. His podcast, WHO•RAY, is available at his website and through iTunes. Ray's training includes Eccentric Performing, Voice, and Bouffon at The Celebration Barn Theater; the Alba Method; and Michael Chekhov (MICHA). This summer, he will train at Chicago’s Second City.
Where were you born?
What fuels your desire to act?
Connection, curiosity, and the revelation of pure truth. The unapologetic exploration of who we are as individuals in order to recognize yourself in the stranger seated next to you. My constant desire to laugh at life, which creates a space where we can open our hearts and minds to something other than ourselves. The never-ending exploration of what it means to be alive and 100% present.
What do you use in your process to transport you into your creative zone?
In 2016, SUPER SPACE is serving as a vehicle to facilitate Created to Create Project.
CREATED TO CREATE
INTRODUCING ONE ARTIST PER WEEK, FOR 52 WEEKS IN 2016.
Beginning, January, 1st, 2016
ACTORS, ARTISTS, THEATRE MAKERS, FILM MAKERS, DESIGNERS, TEACHING ARTISTS, STUDENTS all chosen because they spend a part each day creating. Artists will be chosen in no particular order.
Introduce artists from different parts of the world. People who use different mediums and whose practice is at a different skill level. A thing they all have in common is unique sense of style and self-expression.