Theresa’s creative focus for over 25 years has been in Milwaukee, WI and Baltimore, MD, where she has been organizing as well as writing, directing, producing, touring, and performing in plays, solo pieces and films. She collectively founded Darling Hall in Milwaukee where she was a member of the “Tingle Troupe,” a group of four women who hosted many variety shows called Tingle Showcases. In Baltimore she helped to initiate and organize two shows called Kidult: the Kid and Adult Show! which emphasized collaborations between various artists and kids. In addition she organized events including a stage called “Cool Water Theater” at Baltimore’s large outdoor art festival, Artscape, and performance art showcases at the Whole Gallery, a live/work collective artist space where she resided for 3 years. Her interest in the variety stage also recently led her to experiment with this trope in the production of 8 Short Plays at the Mercury Theater in Baltimore. She co-directed the play with Sarah Jacklin, wrote the script and lyrics and collaborated on music, and four acts by performers were included throughout the show.
Columbus’s performances show how people become close to each other, while exposing the disconnection, anxiety, confusion, and absurdity of human emotion and interaction. Characters speak in poems to each other or to the audience, bursting into experimental singing and choreography. Traditional forms are celebrated, taken apart, and reinvented. As though mined from the scariest parts of a personal diary, the work is relatable because the audience experiences scenarios that are potentially horribly embarrassing and also which tap into the bizarre reality of being a human through ecstatic words and sounds and movement.