Bio for Print
JO MICHAEL REZES (they/them) is a nonbinary theatremaker and transmedia artist in Greater Boston dedicated to the development of new, queer works which feature transgender collaborators and fabulously grotesque aesthetics. Acting credits: Rocky Horror Show (Entropy Theatre); Nosferatu, The Vampyr (Sparkhaven Theatre); The Inheritance (SpeakEasy Stage Co. — US Regional Premiere); Things I Know to Be True (Great Barrington Public Theater — Berkshire Theater Critics Award Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actor). Directing: Trans [Plays] of Remembrance (HowlRound.TV); Cloud 9 (AD, The Nora – Elliot Norton Award); Melancholy Play (Vassar College); The Interrobangers (Tufts University). Jo instructs gender and performance courses across the country (Yale Dramat, UMass Law, The Theater Offensive). Their TEDTalk, A Playful Exploration of Gender Performance, is available online. Jo is currently developing a monograph called Fractals: Nonbinary Acting Methods and facilitate workshops on the subject. Rezes dedicates themself to inclusive performance pedagogy beyond binary constructions and embraces queer aesthetics, sensation, and experience over final product. Rezes is a proud Vassar College alum (BA, English & Drama), Ph.D. Candidate in Theatre & Performance Studies at Tufts University, and Lecturer in Theatre at Boston College.
My name is Jo Michael Rezes (/rez/•/iz/, Hungarian pronunciation: rɛzɛʃ), a Ph.D. Theatre and Performance Studies candidate at Tufts University. I completed an auto-ethnographical MA thesis titled "Phantacamp: Queer Temporal Ruptures in the Performance of Restaged Camp" which inspired my teaching on queer temporalities, aesthetics of humor, & contemporary trans performance. At Tufts, I instruct Introduction to Acting and Public Speaking, and original courses Devised Performance: Creativity in Crisis and Camp and Popular Media. I will begin teaching Introduction to Theatre at Boston College in Fall 2022.
My dissertation project, "Tastes Like AIDS: Sweet Aesthetics, Bitter Humor, and Viral Performances of HIV/AIDS" centers taste in the study of HIV/AIDS. Drawing on an archive of theatre, visual, performance, and installation arts that stage a relationship between AIDS and taste, I identify a variety of colonial hauntings that emerge in these "AIDS flavors." My project offers an itinerary of these aesthetic and sensorial transmissions through viral networks that allow AIDS flavors to appear on transnational stages for consumption. My work as a transgender scholar-artist has taught me the value of prioritizing sensation in critical analysis. I study how flavors manifest in visual and material cultures and how artists perform their tastes, both gustatory (good or bad) and classed (high or low), prioritizing archival remains of sweetness and bitterness. My project returns taste-making to the body politic through the literal flavor and smell associations of HIV/AIDS in media. I argue that public perceptions of HIV’s flavor in bodily fluids, or of the bodies of those living with AIDS, as bitter, sweet, bad, good, sour, salty, tangy, savory, irresistible, or deceptive, define the postcolonial, constructed threats that Blackness, Indigeneity, and queerness pose to post- 1980s projects of nationalism worldwide. If taste is determined to be good or bad, high, or low, my project prioritizes archival remains of sweetness and bitterness to discover how tastemakers of cultural and political history configure HIV/AIDS as an aesthetic project.
I am developing a solo cabaret / religious sermon / powerpoint presentation called The Gospel of Susan, Life According to a Transgender Serial Killer which critiques and embraces the monstrosity and villainy of trans representation in TV, film and theatre. My Nonbinary Acting Methods workshop series began 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 I develop my monograph, Fractals: Nonbinary Acting Method. I am 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] fights as strong as [they] can to assert themselves and we are moved by the effort, the reaction to their story hushed the audience.”
Patrick White, Nippertown
"Jo Michael Rezes...[culminates] a scene ending the first act with a wallop that will reverberate with LGBTQ audience members and the people who love them."
Barbara Waldinger, Berkshire On Stage
"Trauma is the driving force behind Orlok’s actions throughout the play...These remarks are the Count’s twisted attempt at seduction, but Jo Michael Rezes injects them with sympathetic vulnerability.
Chloe Hyman, HowlRound Theatre Commons
"[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
"...Rezes plays the young [person] with gender identity struggles and [their] utter sincerity playing this scene makes them a standout in the play."
J. Peter Bergman, The Berkshire Edge