Creative Works

Theatre and Performance

Directing, Devising, Dramaturgy, and Acting

Unpacking Longview

Written and performed by Dr. Elizabeth Melton, Unpacking Longview is a monodrama based on ethnographic research into the racial desegregation of public schools in Longview, Texas during the 1960s and 70s. The play frames the verbatim performance of interviews within a personal narrative of familial loss while offering important contextual information and comedic relief through an embellished “everything is bigger in Texas” alter-ego figure. In addition to the show’s premiere at the University of North Carolina in 2016, Daniel directed a revised version performed in Longview at the community’s performing arts center in 2017as well as other iterations of the play at various schools and churches between 2019 and 2021, including a version adapted for an online format that was presented during the pandemic.

Utopia Machine

In March 2018, Dilliplane produced Utopia Machine for the performance season of the University of North Carolina’s Communication Department. This interactive and site-specific devised performance was based on research regarding the manipulation of our emotions by social media’s content algorithms. The show transformed not just the stage but the entire building into a entertainment “machine” that directed the audience's hopes for the future toward an imaginary political savior. Mirroring digital filter bubbles, the performance divided the audience into four distinct groups with unique pathways through the show. Through the use of detailed projections and by engaging the bodies of the audience in the “production” process of the utopia machine, this multimedia performance troubled the distinction between fiction and reality and blurred the line between the elusive digital world and the material embodiment of the “real.”

A # @ the Door

An experimental ensemble drama exploring the navigation of unstable identity under racial capitalism, A # @ the Door [a pound at the door] was written by Benjamin Clancy and directed by Dilliplane as part of the University of North Carolina’s Swain Studio Six Performance Series in April 2018. By continuously “reprogramming” the diverse cast into different characters, the play confronted both actors and audience with the compulsory performance of racial and gender roles as well as unexpected inversions and rearticulations of these roles. 

The Latest News From the Primordial Ooze

As part of Fury Theatre’s short plays festival Short Attention Span Theatre in 2012, Daniel directed Rich Orloff’s The Latest News From the Primordial Ooze, a comedic yet poignant play about a crisis in the relationship between two swamp creatures upon the discovery that one of them has evolved fingers instead of fins. Theatre critic for the Chicago Reader Jack Helbig highlighted this play as a bright spot in the festival, citing its “sharp direction.” 

Pierrot and Moon

To direct Pierrot and Moon, an adaptation of Albert Giraud’s 1884 poem cycle Pierrot lunaire, Dilliplane drew extensively upon the Commedia Dell’Arte performance tradition, especially the gestural and sartorial styles of the discerning trickster Harlequin and Pierrot the melancholic clown. In addition to working closely with designers to construct the ethereal atmosphere of the piece, he extensively coached the actors to capture the affect of the highly-stylized movements of the characters as well as to cultivate a potent appreciation for the tragic contradiction between the genuine naiveté of Pierrot’s deep adoration for the moon and the moon’s callousness ambivalence in response. 

Frege In Space

Drawing inspiration from the aesthetic style of the Theatre of Image—especially the works of Robert Wilson, Richard Foreman, and Mabou Mines—Dilliplane’s thesis production Frege In Space paired his interest in the limits of analytic philosophy with avant-garde aesthetics. Exploring the life and work of one of the founders of analytic philosophy Prussian philosopher and mathematician Gottlob Frege, this play juxtaposed elements of his personal and professional biography with abstract performance experiments representing the paradoxes underlying his theoretical contributions to linguistics and the foundations of logic. This production was Daniel’s first major foray into the use of devising techniques as a means of generating theatrical work. 

Tom in the Machine

As dramaturg for Orange Grove Dance's original dance-theatre production "Tom in the Machine," Daniel collaborated closely with writer-choreographer Matt Reeves to explore parallels between John Steinbeck's classic novel The Grapes of Wrath and the challenges faced by the modern American worker.

For and On Behalf Of

As an ensemble member in Allan Davis's lecture-performance about the Mormon practice of posthumous baptism "For and On Behalf Of," Dilliplane worked closely with choreographer Christina Banalopoulou to create movements that encapsulate the ritualistic quality of the rite.

The Mesophase

As a member of the ensemble cast of the dance-theatre performance "The Mesophase: Moving Through Climate Change," Daniel drew on his training in Laban/Bartenieff movement studies. 

An Experiment

In 2015, Dilliplane played the role of Scott in the premiere of Jennifer Barclay's new play "An Experiment," presented by the University of Maryland's School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies. 

Fall of the House

Daniel was the stage manager for the third season of Action/Adventure Theatre's serialized, semi-scripted, live performance drama about a group of young professionals living in Portland in the late '00s.

Fearless Fables

As part of the University of Maryland's celebration of "Maryland Day" in April 2015, Dilliplane performed instructional fables alongside his fellow ensemble members for children and parents of the local community.

Theatre for Social Change

Community-Engaged Workshops and Performance Activism

Sensing Bodies In Common

Inspired by his doctoral research on the creative and collaborative embodied practices of social movements and funded in part by an Arts Innovation Grant, Sensing Bodies In Common was an interactive and multi-sensory performance for social change workshop developed, produced, and facilitated by Daniel in February of 2023. Focusing on relating through movement and contact, this workshop reinforced our kinesthetic and proprioceptive attunement to facilitate greater self-awareness as well as a deeper empathic connection with others thereby enhancing collaboration through various forms of embodied communication. In a post-workshop survey, one participant said they “felt more connected to the people in the room than I ever do when I’m at a talking-only workshop,” and another noted that “the interaction with others was immediate and deep and felt really open in a way that sometimes spoken language does not allow.” 

Bodies for a Molecular Revolution

Bodies for a Molecular Revolution was a performance activism workshop that Dilliplane co-designed and co-facilitated with scholar and somatic practitioner Dr. Christina Banalopoulou. Hosted by the autonomously-managed free theatre Embros (Εμπρός Ελεύθερο Αυτοδιαχειριζομένο Θεάτρο) in Athens, Greece in February 2020, this workshop contributed to the movement opposing privatization and the use of police to evict and destroy various occupations throughout the city. By combining instruction in critical theory—especially the theories of Felix Guattari—with embodied exercises, the workshop offered artist-activists tools for community building and creative activism while simultaneously challenging dominant roles, identities, and modes of relation, including those associated with forms of political resistance considered relatively acceptable by systems of social control.

These Eyes...

These Eyes… was a community-building art intervention undertaken in neighborhoods of Rogers Park, Chicago and Northeast Portland  in 2011. Based on interviews, Dilliplane conducted with local residents, he produced posters relating their hopes for the improvement of their neighborhood. He subsequently posted these throughout the neighborhoods in order to empower the voices of residents and encourage community dialogue

Theatre of the Oppressed

As a practitioner of Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed techniques, Daniel has designed and facilitated participatory performance workshops, co-composed and performed invisible theatre, and led forum theatre events. His work the Theatre of the Oppressed Chicago collective focused on issues of public education and mass incarceration. He has presented at the annual conference of Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed conference regarding innovative approaches to Boal's gamercises and the body as a conduit between activism and the everyday. 


Dilliplane is trained the movement, voice, and storytelling techniques of Cynthia Winton-Henry and Phil Porter's InterPlay. Approaching embodied play as a means to human sustainability and community connection, InterPlay is an accessible performance practice that centers the body as the site of knowledge and creativity. In addition to utilizing the technique in his pedagogy, Dilliplane has led InterPlay workshops across the US as well as internationally

Education in Chicago

In 2013, alongside collaborator Donier Tyler, Daniel designed and facilitated a ten-week youth theatre program enabling a diverse group of Chicago teens to share their stories of the city's school system. 

Pottstown Community Interactive Arts Festival

Building relationships with community partners, cultural centers, and local businesses, Dilliplane assembled and led the organizing team for the first-ever Pottstown Community Interactive Arts Festival in 2012

Film and Media Production

Production Management, Directing, Editing, and Sound 

(W)all the World's a Stage

In collaboration with Greek scholar and performance artist Christina Banalopoulou, Dilliplane served as artistic director for (W)All the World’s a Stage: Reimagining the Common Amid the Pandemic Lockdown, an international digital performance curation exploring alternative possibilities for sharing work and connecting artists during the physical distancing and relative social isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic. The project compiled and disseminated art aimed at critiquing the necropolitical orientations many governments took toward containing the virus as well as those focused on reigniting shared visions of communal and relational care. Combining digital exhibition on the relationalsoma website with the liveness of public exhibition through the projection of the pieces onto a neighborhood wall in Athens, Greece, this project blurred the lines between the global and the local character of community, between art’s ephemerality and endurance, and between the digital and the material manifestations of public life. 

The Hummingbird

Set in 1940s Los Angeles, The Hummingbird (2009) is a short film noir about a femme fatale who commits a double murder and then tries to frame her lover for the crime. As co-producer of this tale of love and betrayal, Daniel worked alongside producer/director Melody Encheff and cinematographer David Libertella to realize the project’s film noir aesthetic, ensuring that the lighting, costumes, and shooting locations all supported the desired effect. 

The Evening Journey

Originally titled “What People,” The Evening Journey (2008) is a short film about the hope invested by the people of Fishberg, a poor and isolated fishing town, in a train that passes through every night. As a key member of the production team, Dilliplane oversaw the pre-production and production process, contributing to both the technical and creative components of the project in collaboration with producer Alex Israel and Director Ye’ela Rosenfeld. 

Pandemic Picnic

Based on a character created by collaborator Christina Banalopoulou, Pandemic Picnic is a silent short film directed and edited by Dilliplane in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. The piece interrogates the sensory experience of security as achieved through extensive insulation and isolation, exploring a variety of conceptual questions: What sensations are muted or spoiled under this regime of securitization? What feelings are unlocked or intensified? How can this new distribution of sensibility generate new ways of connecting with others through the spaces in-between?

The 8th Samurai

As Unit Production Manager for writer-director's Justin Ambrosino The 8th Samurai, Daniel oversaw the budget and shooting schedule for the film's first unit production team. Set in 1950s Japan, the film follows Nanshu, a poor aspiring actor, as he endeavors to break into the booming Japanese film industry through a role as the eighth samurai protecting a village from a group of bandits in an epic feature film. 

Production Management

Because of his organizational skills and attention to detail as well as his flexibility and adaptability in problem-solving, Dilliplane quickly developed a reputation in production management. Recognizing these skills and characteristics, producers eagerly and rapidly promoted him into positions of increasing authority and responsibility. For instance, he became Assistant Production Coordinator on one of his first professional gigs following his move to LA, for Eagle Tide Films's 3 Days Gone. He gained experience coordinating large production crews and managing budgets in the hudreds of thousands. 

Assistant Direction

Daniel learned to transfer his stage direction skills to directing for the screen by working as 1st Assistant Director on short and independent film projects. With a Community Collaboration grant from Reed College, he was able to work alongside filmmaker Dan Harris as the casting director and 1st AD on a short film titled Mind Feast. In Daniel's first feature-length project, he served as 1st Assistant Director on acclaimed playwright and filmmaker Layon Gray's feature film Virgins of Venice. Daniel's extensive experience as an assistant director has advanced his creative and technical filmmaking knowledge, ultimately improving his work directing his own short films.

Sound Production

Dilliplane has worked in sound production both on-set and in post-production, including as the on-set sound technician and boom operator for two of critically-acclaimed director James Gunn's early short films, Peanus and Humanzee