Nightjars, goatsuckers, churn-owl chymists Caprimulgiformes with pharmacology degrees…


Brett Keyser (director, designer, writer, performer) is a whirring nocturnal swallower of moths, flies, and other half-truths. (If you prefer whole-truths, keep scrolling…)


Frequent Collaborators

Raymond Bobgan (consulting director) catches scarabs (and raids wasp nests). When not so occupied, he is to be found amidst large swarms HERE.

Tracy Broyles (costumes, sets, properties) sips night-blooming cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum), or kok’oi ‘uw, the ‘ghost smell’. During the daylight hours she hangs HERE.

Norman Stuby (properties) seems exceedingly pleasant for one who habitually feasts upon field mice and small rabbits, the occasional mole… You will find internet signs of this creature HERE.


*  *


Brett Keyser Darwinii 01 KW 1007photo: Kim Weimer

Brett Keyser is a Philadelphia-area performance artist whose Nightjar Apothecary produces solo and collaborative works exploring fiction-enhanced episodes in the history of science and technology. His most recent project, Darwinii: The Comeuppance of Man (2009), is a collaboration with playwright Glen Berger, commissioned by the American Philosophical Society (APS) Museum for the exhibition “Dialogues with Darwin”. Keyser served four years (2006-09) as Artist in Residence at the APS where he has created and performed numerous works, including TANN, HORNS, & DEAD DOGS: Tales of Civic Effluvia (2008), You Are Here (2007-08), Turkish Delightenment (2006-07), and Horridus! Horridus! Name-calling in the Wilderness (2003-04).

He is an associate artist with the Catskill-based North American Cultural Laboratory (NACL), currently engaged in the creation of a new collaborative work entitled EXILIO: My Life as Bolaño with Mexican and Canadian artists. With NACL Theatre he directed the premiere of  Self Portrait at County Fair (2009) by Mike Geither, performed in the site-specific Lakewood House productions (2009, 2006), and the rock-extravaganza The Uncanny Appearance of Sherlock Holmes (2008, HERE Arts Center; 2006, CAC New Orleans). He also co-created and performs in The Little Farm Show with NACL Artistic Director Tannis Kowalchuk.

He was a core collaborator with the performance group Wishhounds with whom he co-created and performed Blue Sky Transmission: A Tibetan Book of the Dead (2002, La Mama Annex, Cleveland Public Theatre), Even Without Angels (2001, CPT), and The Hidden Twin (2001, Philly Fringe). With Cleveland’s Theatre Labyrinth (Wishhounds’ progenitor) he collaborated on five original productions, including The Sibyl (1998-2000), an internationally touring solo performance inspired by the writings of Pär Lagerkvist and Giordano Bruno.

With Wishhounds/Theatre Labyrinth he was co-recipient of a 2001 Rockefeller Foundation MAP Award. His APS projects have received funding from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and the Pew Foundation’s Heritage Philadelphia Program. He is a 2010 recipient of an Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts.

Keyser is also a PCA-rostered teaching artist working since 1997 with primary and secondary school students in San Francisco, Cleveland, and Philadelphia. He has worked with the Franklin Institute’s Traveling Science Show, and has led workshops and public programs at Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Artist in Residence, 2001), Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Independence National Historical Park, The American Philosophical Society, The Chemical Heritage Foundation, and the Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area, as well as numerous universities, including The University of the Arts, Drexel, and Michigan State.

Keyser’s early study as a performer included work at Odin Teatret in Denmark, Primus Theatre in Canada, and the San Francisco School of Circus Arts. He is a graduate of the dear departed Department of Folklore and Folklife Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.


One Response to “Who?”

  1. chris b shaw Says:

    We were lucky enough to see Darwinii last night at CPT. My wife actually was the person who read your Garth letter. Thank you for a very memorable and thought provoking night. You were incredible! Thanks again for an incredible evening.

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