RECENT PROJECTS & PRESS:
"The Jungle" at Oracle Productions received Chicago's Jeff Award for Best New Adaptation, and was nominated for Best Production, Best Director, Best Ensemble.
"Best Theater Productions of 2014 - Chicago Entertainment - Chicago Sun-Times." Chicago Entertainment Chicago Sun-Times. December 17, 2014. http://entertainment.suntimes.com/stage/best-theater-productions-2014/.
“The Jungle" (Oracle Theatre): At this free-admission theater, butcher’s paper and blood, plus a fine ensemble, made this a winning adaptation of the Upton Sinclair classic about immigrant life in Chicago.
"Wrapping up 2014 in Chicago's Performance Scenes." SoundCloud. https://soundcloud.com/afternoonshiftwbez/wrapping-up-2014-in.
WBEZ-NPR Chicago Best Small Theatre Production of the Year-2014-The Jungle.
""Chicago Sun-Times." Chicago. http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/29042140-421/rarely-seen-upton-sinclairs-the-jungle-make-powerful-statement-on-stage.html#.V A TjmGSwLPY 1/2.
Adapter-director-designer Matt Foss has clearly drawn on the ideas of Polish director Jerzy Grotowski, whose theory of “poor theater" suggested the need for an almost ritualistic bond to be created between actors and audiences. And sitting in Oracle’s small storefront — “a free public access theater" that received this year’s Emerging Theatre Award from the League of Chicago Theatres and Broadway in Chicago — you quickly become part of the blood, sweat and tears of the story.
"REVIEW: 'The Jungle' at Oracle Theatre ★★★." Chicagotribune.com. http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/reviews/chi-review-the-jungle-oracle-theatre-20140804-column.html.
“...,Matt Foss' potent new adaptation of “The Jungle" — which you currently can see for free at the 50-seat Oracle Productions, an unusual theater company that raises money to proudly present what it calls “public access theater" — does indeed find such a metaphor. Instead of cows, you get great long spools of paper, upon which images of cattle are sprayed, evoking the branding of the animals themselves. That might read as strange, but it's highly effective in the theater, especially in the famous “Jungle" sequence wherein the line goes haywire and live, panicked cows are set loose among the workers. Here, that is one eye-popping scene, replete with all the symbolic horror it demands."
"Oracle Theatre Transports Us to 1906 Packingtown Chicago in The Jungle." - Gapers Block A/C. http://gapersblock.com/ac/2014/07/23/oracle-theatre-transports-us-to-1906-packingtown-chicago-in-the-jungle/.
Matt Foss adapted the novel and directs this story of the Chicago stockyard workers and the corruption and squalor in which they labored. Foss is also the creator of the ingenious set design, where rolls of paper are pulled down to be stamped with a cattle chart or rolled across to represent the ocean crossing or a train ride.
"Review "The Jungle" (Oracle Theatre): Unique, Blood-Splattering Spectacle." The Fourth Walsh. July 24, 2014. http://thefourthwalsh.com/2014/07/review-the-jungle-oracle-theatre-unique-blood-splattering-spectacle/.
“How Foss tells this story is riveting."
Kleiman, Kelly. "Waiting for Lefty Explodes at Oracle ; The Jungle Book Fizzles at Goodman." The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelly-kleiman/waiting-for-lefty-explode_b_3555014.html.
“Quick: would you rather pay $115 (or $303 to a ticket broker) to see the misbegotten offspring of Walt Disney and Mary Zimmerman, or pay nothing whatsoever to see a powerhouse re-interpretation of Clifford Odets's Depression-era howl of protest? What if you factor in that the former lasts nearly forever and the latter races by in 55 minutes?
Instead consider Oracle, which charges nothing for its seats, offers free beer and for the second show in a row has displayed the uncanny ability to take old rhetoric and old politics and make them new. Waiting for Lefty can be deadly: Odets liked speechifying and was big on telling the audience what to think. Somehow director Matt Foss and his ensemble have teased out of a manifesto this actual play about actual people whose suffering feels like our own."
"Reviews: 'Waiting for Lefty' & 'Black and Blue'" Chicago Tribune. June 26, 2013. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-06-26/entertainment/ct-ott-0628-on-the-fringe-20130626_1_oracle-theatre-group-co-founder-harold-clurman-lefty.
Matt Foss' staging of "Waiting for Lefty" blows the dust off Clifford Odets' 1935 one-act about a taxicab strike, and turns it into a vital and contemporary call to action.
"The Ones Who Said It: Best of On the Fringe in 2013." Chicagotribune.com. Accessed January 2, 2015. http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/ct-ott-1220-on-the-fringe-20131219-story.html.
Honorable Mention-Waiting for Lefty-Oracle Productions.
SIX CHARACTERS received National Outstanding Production of a Play, Outstanding Director, Outstanding Lighting Design, 3 Distinguished Performance Awards and Distinguished Production and Performance Ensemble from the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival.
A HAMLET--Site specific touring production
A puppet focused retelling of Shakespeare's classic play, using a spectrum of puppets, karaoke music and lots of plastic.
CHEKHOV SHORT STORIES-Iowa State University
A new adaptation of Chekhov's "The Lady with the Lapdog" and "The Kiss", this project employs a ukulele chorus, miniature trains, New Orleans Second Line music and Rachmaninoff.
LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST-Iowa State University
Using elements of circus, a handful of costume racks with blinds from Home Depot and songs from Shakespeare and his contemporaries married into French Hot House Jazz arrangements, the play runs full speed ahead into this plays unique ending.
EVERY CHRISTMAS STORY EVER TOLD...-Tipping Point Theatre
A mash up of favorite Christmas stories--from Rudolph to Christmas Carol and everything in between.
"Matt Foss, one of this area's brightest young directing talents, organizes the talents and energies of three of the best local acting talents is presenting us this romp through all the BHC's (beloved holiday classics)...giving us a holiday show worthy of any downtown stage. It is the "must see" production of the season."
-THE NEW MONITOR
NATIVITY PAGEANT-Homeless Church
A site specific, large-scale spectacle that told the nativity story in a run down Detroit church that is a gathering place for the city's homeless.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND-Hilberry Theatre
A found object Wonderland with a very Detroit feel, this high energy and gymnastic version of the famous story blended the narratives of "Alice in Wonderland" and "Alice Through the Lookingglass" into one large chess game in which a young girl falls through a trash can rabbit hole and sets out on an adventure to the other end of the chess board to become a queen. On the way, she meets a ten speed riding White Knight, a jazz playing Cheshire Cat and fights a junk pile Jabberwocky.
"This was among the best productions that we have ever seen at the Hilberry...Matt Foss is to be congratulated for his directing and writing, as well as his performance-he should go far in the theatre."
-HILBERRY SUBSCRIBER LETTER
MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM-Detroit Free Shakespeare
Produced in a warehouse in downtown Detroit, the play transplanted Shakespeare’s magical forest outside of Athens to the rough urban environment of Detroit. Here, the person in homeless rags on the street corner in this world may be a King or Queen in another. Using props, costumes and set pieces found on the streets of Detroit, a live rock band and a choir of “homeless" fairies playing a haunting chorus on water filled booze bottles the play was a deconstructed look at this well known story.
VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE—PhD Directors Series at Wayne State University
Arthur Miller’s well known play is reinvented with a highly imaginative staging that is a cross between the theatricality of OUR TOWN, the ghostly feel of COPENHAGEN infused with Latin refrains from the Catholic Mass.
COMEDY OF ERRORS—No Feare Shakespeare Educational Tour
Doing away with the long expositional trial scene and substituting the shipwreck scene from THE TEMPEST, this 45 minute, six person production tells Shakespeare’s story at a break-neck pace. Audience members are recruited for the final reveal when the cast comes up two twins short.
SUDDEN THEATRE PROJECTS-Chicago
Sudden Theatre were instant plays performed in public places. Pieces were performed on Chicago EL trains, street corners in downtown Chicago and Detroit and within the galleries of the Art Institute of Chicago.
THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK--The Jewish Ensemble Theatre
A re-visioning of the classic story that striped away the walls to tell the story in a new and fresh way.
RECENT PROJECTS & PRESS: