Jo Michael Rezes (pronunciation: /rez/•/iz/, Hungarian pronunciation: rɛzɛʃ) is
a Ph.D. Theatre and Performance Studies candidate at Tufts University who recently completed an auto-ethnographical MA thesis entitled "Phantacamp: Queer Temporal Ruptures in the Performance of Restaged Camp." At Tufts, Rezes instructs Introduction to Acting and Public Speaking, and has designed and taught courses such as "Devised Performance: Creativity in Crisis" and "Camp and Popular Media."
Their dissertation project, "Tastes Like AIDS: Sweet Aesthetics, Bitter Camp, and
Viral Performances of HIV/AIDS" centers Camp studies in media frenzies and
moral panics around the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis, aesthetics of sweetness in the intimacies, protests, and education of global HIV/AIDS, the imbricated histories of colonialism/enslavement and sugar/virality, archives of sensation and taste, sexual economies of filth, repulsion and desire for queer bodies of color in digital media, and the everyday camp of neoliberalism. They are a proud graduate of Vassar College with a Bachelor of Arts in both Drama and English (Molly Thacher Kazan Memorial Prize) and they are a TED Official Speaker.
As a theatremaker, Jo was the Assistant Director on the Nora Theatre Company's
Cloud 9 (Elliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Direction, Midsize Theater).
They are a frequent collaborator with Sparkhaven Theatre, featured as Count Orlok
in a live-streamed, Zoom production of M Sloth Levine's Nosferatu, the Vampyr on HowlRound.TV produced virtually by Homesick Play Project. Rezes also directed a national short play festival, Trans [Plays] of Remembrance, in collaboration with Ohio University, Tufts University, and HowlRound.TV.
Rezes is developing a solo cabaret / religious sermon / powerpoint presentation (Sparkhaven Theatre at Central Square Theater) in January 2022 called The Gospel of Susan, a Transgender Serial Killer which critiques and embraces the monstrosity and villainy of trans representation in TV, film and theatre. Jo will direct the collegiate premier of M Sloth Levine's The Interrobangers for Tufts University's Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies in Fall 2022. Their Nonbinary Acting Methods workshop series begins Spring 2022, supported in part by Company One Theatre's Education Department and a City of Boston Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture Grant as they develop their monograph,
Fractals: Nonbinary Acting Methods.
Jo Michael Rezes is nonbinary, a first-generation college graduate, the child of the greatest fireman to have ever lived and a lawyer who never needed a law degree, the middle child between two sisters, and a juggler.
“Jo Michael Rezes delivers the standout performance of the production. Their singing, acting, and prop work are exceptional. They thoroughly chew each scene at least 10 times before swallowing. If you choke on it, it’s your own fault.”
Kitty Drexel, New England Theatre Geek
"[Rezes's] every word, gesture and movement were right on target, perfectly timed and delivered for maximum effect, full of emotion, passion and humor. The success of the whole show was riding on...cardigan-clad shoulders, and [Rezes] came through magnificently."
Rick Epstein, NJ.com
"Trauma is the driving force behind Orlok’s actions throughout the play. They are surprised to learn Harker is married, and subsequently try to undermine Harker and Will’s relationship, through snide digs to Will about Harker’s untrustworthiness. These remarks are the Count’s twisted attempt at seduction, but Jo Michael Rezes injects them with sympathetic vulnerability. “I’ve never had a room to share with anyone,” Orlok says, their voice cracking. These words carry loneliness and bitterness, not malice."
Chloe Hyman, HowlRound Theatre Commons