Speaker Bios

The River Bride Play Talk
Marisela Treviño Orta, Playwright
Marisela Treviño Orta’s plays include Heart Shaped Nebula, Somewhere, Wolf at the Door and The River Bride. Recently her Audible-commissioned audio play Nightfall launched on their platform. Marisela is an alum of the Playwrights Foundation Resident Playwright Initiative, Goodman Theatre Playwrights Unit, and Playwrights’ Center Core Writer program. She is a member of the Latino Theatre Company’s Circle of Imaginistas. She is the recipient of the 2006 Chicano/Latino Literary Award in Drama, 2009 PEN Center USA Literary Award in Drama, 2013 National Latino Playwriting Award, and 2019 Alliance Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Award Finalist. Marisela has an MFA in Poetry from the University of San Francisco and an MFA in Playwriting from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop.

Robert Ramirez, Director
This is Robert’s 6th season at APT. He has directed readings for APT’s Winter Words series and been Voice and Text Coach for numerous productions including Much Ado About Nothing, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Twelfth Night, The Year of Magical Thinking, Heroes and Dickens in America. Other coaching credits include The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Guthrie Theater, Cleveland Playhouse, The Alley and Illinois and Notre Dame Shakespeare Festivals. Robert has acted with regional theaters across the country and has been an award-winning voice artist and audiobook narrator for the past 25 years. He received his M.F.A. from the PTTP at the University of Delaware and is a proud member of Actors Equity Association. Robert is currently Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin. This fall, he will assume the role of Head of the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University.


The Brothers Size Play Talk
Gavin Lawerence, Director
Gavin returns for his 7th season. He recently portrayed the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Katori Hall’s, The Mountaintop, and played the title role in last season’s Oedipus. He has worked at Steppenwolf, Woolly Mammoth, Goodman, Arena Stage, Baltimore Centerstage, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Mixed Blood, Guthrie, Children’s Theatre Company, IRT, First Stage, Skylight Music Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Kansas City Rep, Florida Studio Theatre, and the City Theatre. Film and TV work includes: Joe Somebody, Justice and Chicago PD. Gavin is an AUDELCO AWARD winner and a graduate of Howard University. He hosts the APT podcast, In The Wake Of Our Shadow: Black Voices. He thanks his wife, Sola, for her support and inspiration. #Blacklivesmatter


Love's Labour's Lost Play Talk
Brenda DeVita, Director
Brenda joined APT in 1995 as Company Manager. She was soon promoted to Casting Director and then became the Associate Artistic Director in 2004. She was appointed Artistic Director in 2014. Brenda has a BA in Theatre from the University of Northern Iowa. She studied at the Professional Theatre Training Program at the University of Delaware. She trained with Tadashi Suzuki in Japan and worked many years as a professional actress. Her directing credits include Shakespeare’s Will, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The Year of Magical Thinking, Mary’s Wedding, Doll’s House Pt. 2 and Born Yesterday for APT, The Other Place for Forward Theater Company and The Seagull for University of California—San Diego. Thrilled to be tackling her first Shakespeare here at home in the woods, she looks forward to working with her friends on Love’s Labour’s Lost.


Sense and Sensibility Play Talk
Liz Philosophos Cooper, Jane Austen Society

Liz Philosophos Cooper is the President of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA). Liz is a second-generation JASNA member who fell in love with Austen’s work as a high school student. She has served as JASNA President for four years and as Vice-President for the Society’s 80 Regions for six years. A popular speaker, she is a contributing writer to Jane Austen’s Regency World. She holds a BA (Communication Arts) from the University of Wisconsin. Liz and her husband Scott run a marketing consulting firm. True fact: they visited Chawton on their honeymoon in 1978! After having three brothers and four sons, it is a great joy for her to have three new daughters through marriage. Her five granddaughters and four grandsons are known to host tea parties with Jane Austen showing it’s never too early to learn about Jane!



Hamlet Play Talk
James DeVita, Director

Jim, a native of Long Island, is pleased to be marking his 28th season as an actor and director with APT. Previous directing credits at APT include Macbeth, Cyrano de Bergerac, Romeo and Juliet, Richard III, The Gift of the Magi, and The Desert Queen. Jim is also a playwright and the author of three novels: The Silenced, A Winsome Murder, and the 20thAnniversary Edition of Blue. Jim is a recipient of the NEA Literature Fellowship for Fiction and a member of Actor’s Equity and the Dramatist’s Guild.


The Moors Play Talk
Jen Silverman, Playwright
Jen Silverman is a New York-based writer. Her theatre work includes The Moors; The Roommate (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville Humana world premiere); Phoebe in Winter (off-off-Broadway with Clubbed Thumb); Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties (Woolly Mammoth premiere); and All the Roads Home, a play with songs (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park premiere). Jen is a member of New Dramatists, a Core Writer at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis, an affiliated artist with SPACE on Ryder Farm, and has developed work with the O’Neill, New York Theatre Workshop, Playpenn, Portland Center Stage, The Ground Floor Residency at Berkeley Rep, and the Royal Court in London among other places. www.jensilverman.com


The Rivals Play Talk
Aaron Posner, Director
Aaron Posner is a director, playwright, teacher, former Artistic Director of two major regional theatres, and an Associate Professor of Theatre at American University. He has directed more than 150 productions at major regional theaters including Arena Stage, ART, Chicago Shakespeare, Seattle Rep, South Coast Rep, The Folger, Ford’s Theatre, Studio Theatre, Signature Theatre, and many more. This is his fifth play at APT. As a playwright, his re-imaging of Chekhov’s The Seagull, entitled Stupid F**king Bird, was one of the ten most produced plays in the country in 2015 and has had more than 250 productions worldwide including productions in Australia, Canada, Luxembourg, Romania, and Sweden. His other plays include The Heal, JQA, Life Sucks, No Sisters, District Merchants, Who Am I This Time? & Other Conundrums of Love, The Chosen,My Name Is Asher Lev, The Gift of Nothing, ME…JANE, and more. He lives outside of D.C. with his wife, actress Erin Weaver, and his amazing daughter, Maisie.