THINGS HE’S DOING
one ear at a time pls
A visual album about Riley’s experience during his coronavirus quarantine. He wrote all of the music, and collaborated with a number of animators, filmmakers, puppeteers, and a stop motion artist for the visuals. Stay tuned for the finished product!
QUARANTINE KITCHEN! (the musical)
Riley’s first foray into the world of toy theatre and composing a musical! This piece is an absurdist cooking show set during the COVID-19 crisis. The deterioration of genre and story are reflective of the state of our minds during this! This piece was created in collaboration with two of the people he is quarantining with, Nick Chieffo and Rainier Pearl-Styles and was a part of the International Toy Theatre Festival hosted by Great Small Works.
In The Belly Of The Mother
The Plenty Collective’s first full length production, a wonder tale puppet show blending ancient pagan Celtic and traditional Russian folklore. This play focuses on two characters from mythology: Baba Yaga and St. Brigid, and how their witchly qualities and struggles with im/mortality give them a mirror within each other, with heavy inspiration from Taisia Kitaiskaia’s book: Ask Baba Yaga. Riley co-devised, production managed, puppeteered, and was a trumpet player in the brass band for this production. This piece was performed at the Turtle Swamp Brewery in Jamaica Plain.
PLENTY O’ SHIT
A monthly “art shit” gathering that focuses on cheap art, puppetry, and avant garde performance art, Riley produced three of these events in various venues with the Plenty Collective. The only rules are: Keep it under two minutes, and include content warnings. Riley’s band pUbeRtykiDs with his sibling Fox acted as the house band for these events, and he also participated in a number of acts. These events were held at Arts at the Armory in Somerville, MA, Democracy Brewing in downtown Boston, and at Puppet Showplace in Brookline, MA.
A Eulogy For Jack Cole
A multimedia pastiche piece including cardboard puppets, music, projections, audience interaction and a French baguette, Riley created this piece to teach an audience about this influential comic book artist, his aesthetic and suicide, as well as a piece to grapple with our own mortality. Set inside a comic book with famed superhero Plastic Man as he grapples with the loss of his creator as well as getting cameos from Art Spiegelman, Hugh Hefner, Sylvia Plath, and others. This piece has been performed at Arts at the Armory in Somerville, MA, The Tank in NYC, and as a part of the 5 & Dime Short Attention Span festival in Jacksonville, FL.
Serfs of Soil.
A piece devised in collaboration with Jane Reagan the first of many shows for the Plenty Collective! We premiered our piece Serfs of Soil at the 2019 Cambridge Arts River Festival. It was a joy to perform alongside artists within our community and share some sunlight with a wonderful audience.
“On June 1, 2019, Cambridge Arts will welcome tens of thousands of festival goers to the heart of Cambridge for an exuberant celebration of the arts. The festival will feature staged and roving performances, hands-on art-making and more than a hundred artists and food vendors with work for sale. The Cambridge Arts River Festival is FREE and open to all!”
NAVIGATING DEATH ANXIETY: a how-to guide!
Riley created this piece as part of a class he took his final semester of senior year at Emerson. He first took a journalist’s approach and interviewed others who had a closer connection with death, like hospice workers, funeral home directors, and family members who have experienced great loss. He then dove into the text as a playwright and editor to create a script. Then he put it onstage as performer and director. It was first performed at the Greene Theater on Emerson’s campus in May 2018. Below is a recording of one of those performances.
Riley often finds himself painting pages with whiteout to create poetry for theatrical uses. It is an exploration in finding hidden texts as well as appreciating negative space in between the words. He has three complete books, A Slight God & Her Flash, In A Distant Land/In New England, and The Song of Patroclus. These, as well as other smaller whiteout projects have been converted into songs, movement pieces, miniature puppet shows, and guerilla art messages found in microwaves to get roommates to do the dishes. Below you will find a selection from A Slight God & Her Flash.
To launch das (a word used to describe anti-American/anti-Aristotelian drama via fluorescent lights and fake blood), Travis Amiel and Riley created Cabaret Das. The name and form is homage to the Dada Cabaret Voltaire. They meditated in dark earnestness and devised short performances from text, music, and fears. From that documentation Travis created the video below. It was performed Cabaret Das at the Huret and Spector Gallery on Emerson’s campus in September 2017.
Nomi is a theatrical work inspired by the life, aesthetic, and cultural impact of Klaus Sperber, aka Klaus Nomi. Travis Amiel constructed the script and worked with Riley to produce, design, and stage it for Theatre on Fire’s Cabinet of Curiosities festival. It was performed at the Charlestown Working Theatre in May 2017.