this page is about my work as: actor, writer, director
Who do we love the most, the actors
who make us laugh or the actors who make us cry? Those
who can do both, of course, preferably
simultaneously. Corey Fischer is such an
actor. The co-founder of San Francisco's 29
year-old A Traveling Jewish Theatre, Fischer has honed
his gift for expressing a range of emotion and humor
through a gesture as simple as the shrug of a shoulder or
crook of a finger. Slightly larger than life at
6'7", Fischer knows how to manage an astonishingly
flexible and expressive body and voice.
SF Chronicle drama critic Robert Hurwitt called Corey One of the Bay Areas acting treasures
His one man show, Sometimes We Need a Story More Than Food was voted one of the ten best productions of 1993 by the Los Angeles Times and won a Marin county playwriting fellowship.
I'm going to stop pretending someone else is writing this and switch to first-person. Before founding TJT, I worked in film, television and the theatre with, among others, Robert Altman (M*A*S*H; Brewster McCloud; McCabe and Mrs. Miller); Joseph Chaikin (The Winter Project and The Dybbuk at the Public Theatre) and The Committee (Legendary improvisational troupe, L.A. Company). I found the world of theatre to be a lot healthier than the, ahem, industry, and in 1982, convinced the others in TJT to leave Hollywood and move to the Bay Area.
The industry, though, doesn't seem done with me. Since moving, I've been in the Film Final Analysis (with R. Gere. and K. Basinger). I appeared as a Rabbi on a 2002 episode of Frasier ("Star Mitzvah") and as "The Pronouncer" in the film, Bee Season, (Richard Gere did not remember me and I was not in any scenes with with Juliet Binoche.)
In 2007 I had the once-in-a-lifetime experience of playing Willy Loman in TJT's Death of a Salesman. You can read about the production, in depth, on the blog I write for TJT [click]
I also write short stories, a form I fell in love with in the mid-nineties. I'm sure my fascination with the form arises from the same connection to storytelling that's always been at the heart of my theatre work. One of my stories, The Blessing , was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 1995.
In 1999, after years of creating collaborative works of theatre, I sat down a wrote a play, and adaptation of the groundbreaking novel by Israeli author David Grossman. The play, See Under: Love received a Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays award. In 2001, the TJT production was listed as one of the years ten best plays by the San Francisco Chronicle and was nominated by the Association of American Drama Critics as best play of 2001. The play has been published in an anthology: Nine Contemporary Jewish Plays
During the run of Death of a Salesman I started writing in what was, for me, a very new form: rap. Or spoken word. Or hip hop. I'm not sure which is the most correct term. It started during rehearsals one day, when I started fixating on the line, "I knocked 'em cold in Providence, slaughtered them in Boston!" Willie's brag to his sons. The inherent rhythm in the line begged to be elaborated. More words popped into my mind "Buyers lining up across New England by the dozen..." these were not in the script. The thing just kept growing. Most of the composing was done in the car on the way to rehearsals. After we opened, I tried it out on some cast members. They laughed. So I called for volunteers to beatbox for me and Michael Navarra, Danny Webber and Lou Parnell came forth. Rex Camphuis, production manager, brought his camera and after one of our last performances, we taped it in one take. You can watch and listen to it (Willie Raps One Out) below.
Since then I've continued to write in this form. I find that
writing in rhyme and meter sets up a
vital tension between limitation and abandon. To hear more recent
Nearly two years ago I wrote a short film script that my son Ben directed. My good friend and wonderful actor Michael Navarra acted in it with me. You can find it at: Blip.TV. Once you go to that page you'll see links to other films that Ben has made. I am wildly proud of him and how far he's come since he first started on this path about ten years ago. I especially admire Skating through the Ashes, a very strong and moving piece of personal storytelling. He his mother, my wife, China Galland, have been working on an azmbitious documentary feature based on China's newest book, Love Cemetery. -* Watch a 3 minute trailer
In 2000, the San Francisco Bay Guardian voted me one of the years best directors for Gods Donkey, an original TJT production. In 2003, I conceived, co-wrote and directed Opening to You based on poet Norman Fischer's Zen-inspired translations of the Psalms. In 2003 I co-wrote and directed TJT's Chanukah-musical-clown-puppet extravaganza, Moonwatcher and restaged it in 2004 at the ZEUM and also directed a new cast in TJT's Dybbuk in that year. Most recently, I directed There Be Dragons, written and performed by my former student, Evan Specter, as his first professional offering.
some of my writing in downloadable,
click here to read and hear in progress work.