Get to Know Michael R. Tingley

Updated: Jan 27, 2020

Welcome to our latest installment of the Get to Know series! Here we sat down with the latest addition to our company, Michael R. Tingley! You might have seen him in his appearance as Dr. Hamilton in Monument's first production, Hers is the Head of a Wolf at IndyFringe! Michael is a remarkable polymath whose abundant skills have led him to careers in, among other things, painting, sculpture, graphic design, cupcake shop owner/operator, art professor, actor, and most recently the Gallery Director at ArtsIlliana.

MONUMENT: Michael it is so good to have you on board! Ready to get started?

MICHAEL R. TINGLEY: Ready as I'll ever be!

M: What’s your favorite color?

MRT: Cerulean blue with a dab of black added, like a darkened, stormy sky.

M: Favorite food?

MRT: Vegetable lo mein with fried tofu and apple slices dipped in caramel for dessert.

M: Favorite article of clothing?

MRT: A gray 1950s style fedora and cowboy boots; nothing in between.

M: Do you have any tattoos?

MRT: Not yet.

M: Favorite weather or time of year?

MRT: October 21st has almost always been a day of perfect weather; a cool, clear fall day.

M: Do you enjoy sports?

MRT: I like watching pro tennis. I miss playing catch (baseball) with Dad.

M: Coffee or tea?

MRT: Nitro CBD cold brew coffee; it has more caffeine and less jitters, but hot black tea is a decent sub.

M: Cat or dog?

MRT: Cat; like having a live teddy bear who knows how to use the potty.

M: If you had to guess, what's your spirit animal?

MRT: Crow. The one rogue crow (the one who sticks around after the rest of the murder have flown off after feeding) who I feed everyday in the winter makes long eye contact with me, as if he is trying to say something...

M: What are some hobbies/interests of yours we might not know about?

MRT: I love skydiving.

I love flying kites.

I love to sing harmony.

I love screeching, loud-til-it-hurts electric guitar feedback

with headphones on.

M: What do you do to relax?

MRT: Walking in parks.

Sitting on a dock.


Watching Nordic Noir TV series after midnight with headphones on.


Picking weeds in the garden.

Making art.

M: Dream Vacation?

MRT: 1) The train from Moscow to Beijing, because it passes through so many different cultures. 2) Taking the RV through every state, because I want to disappear long enough to see everything, everywhere.

M: Do you have a favorite author or poet?

MRT: Author: William Kennedy, if I really have to choose, but, dude, lots of good shit out there that I'm very grateful for having read... Poet: Wisława Szymborska (read "Maybe All This"! Wow!)

M: Do you have a favorite actor or director?

MRT: Director Jean Cocteau: "Orphee" is just too good! (But having met Wim Wenders, I have to say "Wings of Desire" is still top of the list... and Julie Taymor did "Titus"! Fellini and Hitchcock influenced everyone... ) Actor - Harry Dean Stanton: "Lucky", his last film says why... (Jack Nicholson and Bugs Bunny both inspired me to bluff my way out of being busted by a customs guard in Spain in 1982...)

M: Who is a hero or inspiration of yours?

MRT: So many artists from the past inspired me to pursue my art making: Brancusi, Calder, and Tatlin for sculpture; Schiele, Steinberg, Hoch for drawing and collage; And countless contemporary artists continue to prod me along, many of them on Instagram, etc... Hunter S. Thompson, Eugene V. Debs, and Tom Waits for attitude and truth; Spaulding Gray and Harvey Pekar for more truth about the mundane... Y.A. Tittle for his grit; Otto Lilienthal for teaching us how to fly.

M: What do you admire in people?

MRT: Honesty, integrity, determination, courage, curiosity, creativity, compassion, empathy, concern.

M: What do you despise in people?

MRT: The lack of any or all the above.

M: What charms you in a person?

MRT: Any display of honesty, integrity, determination, courage, curiosity, creativity, compassion, empathy, concern.

M: Where are you from?

MRT: Born in Terre Haute; grade school years in Neenah, Wisconsin; junior high, high school and first marriage in Westport, Connecticut; moved into NYC at age 26, 1977-1992; back to Terre Haute in 1993.

M: What was it like growing up there, can you describe how it affected your Worldview? How do you feel about it looking back?

MRT: 1950s childhood in Wisconsin was very "Leave it to Beaver" innocence, small town rural, middle class idealism; uprooted at twelve years old to wealthy, bedroom suburb of New York City was a shocking change into modern culture, but as sheltered and secure as rural life in Wisconsin in a different way; life in NYC in the 1970s and 80s was mind-blowing... I was extremely fortunate to be there when I was and experienced incredibly fortunate circumstances... long story... And now the latest chapter in Indiana has been...Wow!

M: You first joined the Monument team for WOLF, portraying Dr. Hamilton. What was it like stepping into that character?

MRT: Portraying Dr. Hamilton was such a fascinating experience! First, working through the process of developing the character and developing his relationship with the other characters, the playwright, director, stage manager, and audience was an incredible learning experience; second, to attempt to express some of the emotional investment of Hamilton was a spiritual connection with the human condition.

M: What do you think made WOLF an effective play?

MRT: All the characters were expressed in ways that made it easy to empathize with them and identify with those parts of the human condition that each character represented.