Simon in The Lord of Flies, 2016

 The Lord of Flies was an experimental, devised dystopian play inspired by William Golding’s similarly titled novel written by Madison Coan, Sarah Jacqueline, Rjyan Kidwell, Sarah Lamar, and myself. Using the archetypal characters presented in Golding’s novel, the play takes place on the semi-fictitious Plum Island, where a lockdown during a press tour of the biochemical weaponry building drives the scientists to extreme measures. After casting four additional actors, we proceeded to devise the show with no director as a way of experimenting with the work’s themes of authority and power balance. Here are some blurbs about my performance from various reviewers:

“Budenz’s acting is spot on, detached yet loving, juvenile but responsible, hesitant and also a bit clairvoyant.”—Pandora Locks from The Bad Oracle

“Simon is easily the most sympathetic role—a power Budenz wields beautifully as he interrupts the frenzied multi-character scenes with monologues… these quieter, uncanny moments bring even more discomfort than the livelier scenes.”—Maura Callahan of Baltimore City Paper

“The most intriguing character, Simon, a gentle scientist with a readily shared knowledge of coconut crabs, fits Jacob Budenz perfectly. The actor’s boyish voice gives Simon a disarming innocence, a certain angelic quality, even. If you remember your Golding, you’ll have a good idea of Simon’s fate, but Budenz still manages to make it surprising and affecting. He gives the play its heart.” Tim Smith of The Baltimore Sun

Various roles in Impassioned Embraces: Pieces of Love and Theatre, 2015

From a vengeful director in “Sado-Monologue” to a deranged (if enthusiastic) Broadway hopeful in “The Backer’s Audition,” I have the chance to display many faces in John Pielmeier’s Impassioned Embraces directed by Lucia A. Treasure.

Of my performance in “The Backer’s Audition,” Mandy Gunther Theatre Bloom said, “Remarkable in every sense of the word from his command over the character’s expressions to the force with which he delivers the more intense moments of the monologue… A stunning and dynamic portrayal by Budenz makes this the most evocative moment in the show.”

Karl Glogauer in Behold The Man, 2015

In 2015, I originated the role of Karl Glogauer in Connor Kizer’s new adaptation of Behold the Man, by Michael Moorcock, at The EMP Collective. In the nonlinearly-presented events of the play, Karl’s troubled past is interwoven with the Christ-era Middle East, where he has traveled in order to find the actual, real Jesus only to find that he himself must fulfill the Messiah’s role.

Connor Kizer wrote and directed this adaptation, and I led the ensemble as the whiny, if sincere and passionate, Karl Glogauer.

Alan Strang in Equus

Playing one of the two leads in The Baltimore Annex Theater’s 2013 production of Peter Shaffer’s Equus, directed by Mason Ross, was one of my first productions with the company. Contrary to many of the more drugged-out portrayal’s of Alan, Mason Ross and I worked on an Alan who was manic, more overtly deranged, but ultimately still the tragic and sympathetic character the script calls for. The show performed to oversold houses, and ultimately the two week run was extended to four weeks due to popular demand.

City Paper’s Geoffry Himes reported that I “radiate a high voltage thrill,” saying, “As Alan, Jacob Budenz gives us the cool hipster and pagan rebel the dialogue often calls for, but the slender, mohawked actor also reveals the scared, sexually stifled little boy behind all the bluster.”

In The Johns Hopkins News-Letter, Jen Diamond said, “Budenz led the production gracefully as Alan Strang, a troubled teenager obsessed with horses… Budenz’s vibrant energy enticed the audience as he swung from bouts of wild-eyed mania to fearful moments of childlike anxiety.”

Selected Photos from Other Performances