Solo Arts Heal – Ross Travis

Solo Arts Heal
Climate Edition
Hosted by Gail Schickele

Excerpts, talkbacks and Q&A with special guests
providing health and healing education and advocacy.

Wednesday, October 28 | 7:30pm

Ross Travis

Tempting Fate

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About the Show

Tempting Fate is a satirical sideshow entertainment reflecting the house of mirrors called climate change. Balk at the science, bemoan the social impacts, and scream in horror at the political divide. You’ll find yourself laughing at the grotesque hyperbole, and the fantastically fecund characters bedecked in disdain and hubris. See Mother Earth talk trash to those who bite her tit while suckling her life-giving abundance!

About The Artist

Ross Travis is an award winning Actor/Creator, Bouffon, Physical Comedian and Circus Performer (specializing in Chinese pole), who has studied with world renowned master pedagogues, including Dodi DiSanto, Giovanni Fusetti, Ronlin Foreman, Stephen Buescher, Dominik Wyss and Master Lu Yi. Ross’ lineage of training and experience allows him to create provocative performances that combine circus and bouffon to develop extreme characters and tell stories from the fringes, igniting dialogue and change around ignored or taboo social issues.

Ross’ company Antic in a Drain has developed three shows available for booking:

  • The Greatest Monkey Show On Earth, a primate circus extravaganza that takes a satirical bite out of animal/human agency, premiered in 2014 after an Artist Residency at the San Francisco Circus Center, then toured to the Edmonton and Vancouver Fringe Festivals in Canada that same year, receiving a four-star review from Global News and the inaugural Artistic Risk Award in Vancouver. In 2016 Antic in a Drain was Artist-in-Residence at Kinetic Arts Center, where the second version of The Greatest Monkey Show was workshopped and performed. It was nominated for two 2016 Theatre Bay Area Awards for Outstanding Makeup and Costume Design and won for Costuming.
  • Bucko: Whaleman!, a high seas whaling voyage that launches a satirical harpoon into the heart of human greed and natural resource consumption, premiered on Hyde Street Pier at San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park in 2017.
  • Tempting Fate, a satirical sideshow entertainment reflecting the house of mirrors called climate change, premiered at Little Boxes Theater in 2019. The show was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle by Lily Janiak and was nominated for seven Theatre Bay Area Awards, including Outstanding Solo Production, Outstanding Direction of a Specialty Production, Outstanding Creative Specialties for Mask AND Puppet Design, Outstanding Costume Design, and Outstanding Sound Design. The show won for Outstanding Creative Specialties for Mask Design.

Ross has also brought his vision for performance to outside projects with companies like Kinetic Arts Productions in Oakland, where he co-created Salvage (2016), Inversion: Circus Disobedience (2017), Circus Veritas (2018), and Beyond the Ring (2019). Inversion was nominated for five Theatre Bay Area Awards, including Outstanding World Premiere of a Play, Outstanding Production of a Play, and Outstanding Ensemble of a Play. Ross was nominated for Circus Veritas for Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role in a Specialty Performance.

As a circus performer, Ross specializes as a Chinese Pole Artist, Acrobat, Ringmaster and Character Artist. He has toured two seasons with Circus Bella, San Francisco’s premiere one-ring circus, and has performed in four shows with Firefly Theatre and Circus in Edmonton, Canada, including Craniatrium (2014), Panache (2017), Panache Part Deux (2018) and Inferno (2019). Ross has been the Ringmaster and Chinese pole artist for Flynn Creek Circus for two seasons (2016 and 2017). He portrayed the Nutcracker in Nutcracker Circus with Moth Poetic Circus in Denver, Colorado (2019). Ross has also performed with Sweet Can Circus (in their holiday show Mittens and Mistletoe), Velocity Circus, Earth Circus, Vau de Vire Society (as Shanghai Kelly in their hit show Soiled Dove), and Le Cirque Boheme.

From 2010 to 2013, Ross was an Artistic Associate with Naked Empire Bouffon Company, which at the time was the only performance company in the United States dedicated to the research and performance of the obscure form of satirical physical theatre called Bouffon. In 2010 he took a Bouffon Intensive course with Master Teacher Dodi DiSanto in Washington DC and went on to study the form in greater depth with Master Teacher Giovanni Fusetti in Boulder, Colorado. This is where he developed what became his first solo bouffon show with Naked Empire called Apocalyptika, a satirical romp that takes a sledgehammer to the convenient stories we tell ourselves about how our world will end. The first full-length version of Apocalyptika was performed in the International Home Theatre Festival in March of 2011 and was featured in Nicole Gluckstern’s column, The Performant, in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

With Naked Empire, Ross also co-created and performed in You Killed Hamlet, or Guilty Creatures Sitting At A Play, a satirical funhouse mirror skewering the ways in which Western society avoids death. The show won critical acclaim while touring from San Francisco to Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver and Montreal (2012-2014). The piece was awarded the San Francisco Best of the Fringe Award, the Vancouver/Plank Magazine Talk of the Fringe Award, a nomination for Vancouver’s Georgia Straight Critic’s Pick Award, and was an Official Selection of the Toronto Festival of Clowns.

Ross has worked extensively with the site-specific classical theatre company We Players. He played Guildenstern and Marcellus in their critically-acclaimed production of Hamlet on Alcatraz, and various roles in the Odyssey on Alma (which was performed on a historic scow schooner boat) and the Odyssey on Angel Island (an epic, five-hour, island-wide production).

Ross’ other credits include a 40-show school tour of Mulchini’s Kitchen, a play about recycling with the New Pickle Circus, and multiple roles, including The Incurable Disease, in Taylor Mac’s epic five-hour spectacle The Lily’s Revenge at the Magic Theatre.

Ross works as a Motion Capture Performer, and his most recent short animated film Unplugged received an Award of Merit for Animation from Best Shorts and was an Official Selection of the Google+ Film Festival.

Ross was voted one of the 11 Bay Area Artists to watch in 2013 by the SF Weekly and received the Titan Award for Actors from Theatre Bay Area in 2012. Before moving to California, Ross acted professionally in Chicago for three years for companies such as Eclipse Theatre Company and Redmoon. He holds a BFA in Performing Arts from Savannah College of Art & Design, and is a graduate of the Professional Training Program at Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, as well as the Professional Acrobatic Program at the San Francisco Circus Center.

Talkback Guest

Giovanni Fusetti is an italian multi-disciplinary fool. Natural Scientist, Theatre Artist, Pedagogue and Permaculture Designer, he works internationally as a teacher, pedagogue, director and process facilitator, exploring theatre as a tool for artistic training, education, healing, personal awareness and political awakening. He has been student, pedagogic assistant and teacher at the Ecole International de Theatre Jacques Lecoq. He is the founding –pedagogic director of HELIKOS, International School of Theatre Creation which he founded in Florence in 2009 and now operates in Padova, Italy. 


Solo performers present real-life, empowering stories. Transformative experiences for audiences. A theater of resilience that celebrates overcoming mental and physical life challenges and offers hope and inspiration. SOLO ARTS HEAL includes excerpts, talkbacks, and Q&A that provide education and advocacy. Readings or clips of performances will be shared by artists in conversation with Gail Schickele, whose work as a manager and producer of solo artists inspired collaboration of performing arts presenters with artists on a medical track based on their personal experience. The collective creative vision? To help communities through educational outreach and the healing power of the Arts. 

Gail Schickele (Host) champions arts & sciences taking her left and right brain wherever she travels. As an arts manager, consultant, and producer dba SAGE Artists, she convened an ‘Arts Heals’ group of solo artists at APAP 2020 whose unique stories of physical and mental challenges evince the healing power of The Arts.  The COVID lockdown inspired Stephanie Weisman to create SOLO ARTS HEAL to share these outstanding stories of resilience, dramatic and comedic, for the entertainment and benefit of communities everywhere. Gail’s expertise in marketing, management, booking and production has served various theaters, festivals and events nationwide. Trained as a journalist in New York and Colorado, Gail has covered Colorado state politics and the environmental landscape of the Rockies. Environmental science inspires her educational and advocacy work in California with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, and for the League of Women Voters for which she’s worked as an administrator and reporter on environmental issues Including legislation, climate science outreach, and co-chair of an environmental speakers series. Gail is honored to host SOLO ARTS HEAL where artists powerful stories offer audiences great performance and ‘informance’ on issues related to health and the environment, inexorably linked.

Upcoming Solo Arts Heal Programs

November 4 – Fred Johnson Instant Replay

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