Moving out to New York City after graduation, working as a waiter and auditioning for projects he ultimately didn’t book, Daniil Krimer’s journey to where he is today falls nothing short of what you’d see in a coming-of-age film.
Of course, there is no plot without the protagonist’s satisfying transformation and well-deserved happy ending after years of hard work, passion and commitment.
Krimer began his story at Montclair State University, where he graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting.
Exposed to the cutthroat atmosphere created by his classmates, he realized the competitiveness of the acting industry he hoped to join upon graduation. What would typically discourage many served as a motivating factor for Krimer, in addition to faculty members who would empower him to commit to theater.
Suzanne Trauth, the former coordinator of Montclair State’s BFA Acting Program, honed in on acting techniques and scene study with Krimer. She remembers him as hardworking and dedicated to the craft.
“Daniil is very talented,” Trauth said. “I saw that from the first day he entered the acting program. He delved deeply into characters, emotionally and physically. He wasn’t satisfied with easy solutions to problems. He liked challenges.”
Jordan Baker, a former Montclair State professor who taught students the six steps of business and how to apply oneself as an actor, says though the camera loves him, that is not really Krimer’s main interest.
“He turns the focus away from himself and puts it on the work and other people’s creativity,” Baker said.
After graduation, Krimer took the experiences built with these professors at Montclair State and ran with them to Manhattan.
Already signed by a talent agency as he was graduating, Krimer spent much of his time in the city auditioning for different works while simultaneously working as a waiter at the Plaza Hotel. After two years of nonstop grinding in The Big Apple, he decided it was time to take his dream as an actor and further cultivate it with additional training.
This led Krimer to another city, this time miles away in DeKalb, Illinois, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts at Northern Illinois University. There he grew as an actor and learned the importance of creating one’s own work, inspiring Krimer to reach where he is today.
Krimer’s next move, and present place in life, is the protagonist’s breakthrough stepping into their full potential and taking the reins of their destiny.
He co-founded Kane Repertory Theatre in 2019 alongside former grad school classmate and current managing director, Avery Bowne. Krimer now holds the title of artistic director at the theater, where he makes critical choices including what plays are produced, the artistic programming that is implemented and who is cast.
Krimer appreciates that at Kane if you dream big, those dreams can be actualized.
“This is not a 9 [a.m.] to 5 [p.m.] where every day is dull and creativity is stunted,” Krimer said. “We have been able to work with some incredible people over the past year and that’s because we figured out a way to use [COVID-19] to our advantage.”
Krimer is referring to Kane Repertory Theatre’s most recent projects. One of these includes the 2020 New Play Lab, where 15 playwrights’ works were workshopped and further developed. It has featured award-winning actors and directors, such as Mark Brokaw, Rondi Reed and Austin Pendleton, among others.
The New Play Lab went on to inspire the creation of the Multiplatform Commission, in which one playwright was chosen to have their work premiere both digitally and when it is safe to do so at a later date, in person. The online component was created using high-tech equipment that allowed the actors to essentially transform their homes into studios, later edited to make it seem as if they filmed in the same room.
As a Russian Jewish immigrant, Krimer took this opportunity to execute what he feels is his personal responsibility to diversify the plays in America. He did so by selecting “Security,” the work of playwright Hammaad Chaudry, to receive the world premiere.
Directed by Ansley Valentine and working on themes of trauma and responsibility, “Security” tells the story of Riaz, a 17-year-old who has a life-changing experience when stopped at an airport by a Homeland Security officer named Brian. It stars Academy Award and multiple Golden Globe nominee, Eric Roberts and Chicago-based actor, Harsh J. Gagoomal.
Krimer feels his experience bringing “Security” to life and collaborating with the team was fascinating.
“My job as the artistic director and one of the producers on this project was to be a second set of eyes,” Krimer said. “To guide Hammaad in a direction where I think the play can be more dramatically interesting. It is never my job to judge the story, characters [or] subject matter. My job is to read the play and think about how this play can be tighter, more effective [and] more intriguing from an almost formulaic perspective.”
Krimer’s goal with “Security” is the same as what he aims to do with all other pieces of theater: to raise important questions and remind people that there is complexity in everything.
This ties directly into what fuels him as both an actor and director.
“Emotional intelligence inspires me,” Krimer said. “So many things have stunted our ability to understand human beings on an emotional level. Great theater indirectly teaches its audiences the importance of being allowed to be affected, being present with other human beings.”
Having overcome obstacles and learned important aspects about himself, Krimer is now in a position where his ongoing passion and commitment show that there is surely more to come for him and the Kane Repertory Theatre.
In the meantime, audiences can learn more about Krimer through his artistic input and hand in “Security,” premiering virtually April 10 to May 2 with tickets sold online.