Wednesday, June 11, 2008
FROM CYNTHA TORONTO...
CYNTHIA TORONTO, a California transplant, is a seasoned character actress who has appeared in most mediums including stage, film, television, voice-overs, radio, video, and nightclubs. She is versatile, having developed original productions and performed extensively in experimental theatre, theatre for young audiences, dance theatre, and improvisation-based-on-audience suggestion companies on both coasts, as well as stand-up, sketch comedy and as a singer/lyricist in alternative rock music bands. A member of Spotlight Productions here in New York, she created the award-winning title role of Timtu in the premiere of Edward Crosby Wells’ Helga Schmidt’s Pussy.
Also recognized as a forerunner of cutting-edge Spoken Word Performance on the West Coast, she has pioneered a form combining elements of poetry, music, theatre and media in work that portrays unique glimpses of urban life. Her poetry has been called ‘jolting, shocking, Dr. Seuss-like, relevant, profound, and often hilarious’. An award-winning poet, she has written seven books of poetry and been published in several anthologies and literary magazines, as well as being featured in three documentaries on Los Angeles poets. She has also been featured in several New York poetry venues including, The Cornelia Cafe, The Bowery Poetry Club, Stark at Times Square Art Center, Gathering of the Tribes, Otto’s Shrunken Head, and the national Poets for Peace readings.
She holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Theatre from New York University, and as a Teaching Artist, has created and implemented performance education programs in residencies sponsored by The National Endowment for the Arts, The California Arts Council and Arts Alaska, in addition to public and private schools, and arts/community organizations in California and New York. For the past seven years she has taught at several colleges in the greater New York area, including Spoken Word Performance at New York University; and currently teaches Acting and Speech as an Adjunct Professor at City College of New York and LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York sites, as well as continuing to perform her solo shows and pursue an acting career.
OTTO'S EXPANDING HEAD(in tribute to Otto's Shrunken Head poetry venue)
He's seeping into the cracks of these walls
He's sliding in between our words and phrases
He's urging each of us to reach high
with skydiving leaps of faith
into limitless boundaries of
and no assumptions
of what is correct or
Otto is HERE, patiently waiting,
pumping us with tropical pulsations
of mango, rum and Kalua
with his shrunken head
wanting to expand
into a new sense of
passion and wonder
that he has reserved for us
in this darkly lit intimate space
where poets spill ink onto
their receiving playmates
sitting at their small tables,
ready for a big idea that will
light their way into another day
as Otto's shadow is seen
just around the corner
of the next image.
Cynthia TorontoCopyright 2008