Susan Spangenberg performs as an actor under the stage name, Shyla Idris. Shyla is a native New Yorker of Trinidadian Indian and German descent, often taking on racially ambiguous roles. She dreamed of being an actor since the age of thirteen and began acting in high school. Shyla studied acting in NYC at The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, HB Studio, Artistic New Directions Theater Company and The Shakespeare Forum. Shyla has been a professional actor since 2003. She dedicates her performances to the loving memory of her late acting teacher, Sanford Morris of HB Studio.
Susan is the playwright and performer of the solo play, RUN. HIDE. BE QUIET., the director of the documentary film, 'RELEASED' and the author of the asylum photography book, 'Inside Outside'. Inside Outside is on view at the NYC Outsider Art Fair with Fountain House Gallery, March 2022.
'RUN. HIDE. BE QUIET.' (2014)
A multi-character, autobiographical solo play written and performed as Shyla Idris. Shyla started writing her solo play in 2009 from a Seclusion Room and her hospital bedroom on an inpatient psychiatric ward at Queens Hospital in NYC. After discharge, she continued writing and developing her one woman show for the next five years.
'RUN. HIDE. BE QUIET.' Play Synopsis:
A woman finds herself confined to a seclusion room on an inpatient psychiatric ward. Here she will have to wrestle with her sanity, her family, a dark secret, and her future, if she can get out.
Works-In-Progress Full Performance with Artistic New Directions. Directed by Kristine Niven. Shetler Studios, NYC 2014
'Go Solo Festivals' Artistic New Directions Directed by Kristine Niven, Theater 54 2013, 2012
The Hurricane Sandy Relief Benefit at Manhattan Repertory Theatre, Off-Broadway NYC 2012
A Few Favorite Past Performances & Gigs:
Susan was the main subject of the 1999 HBO documentary feature The Living Museum and appeared in an interview promoting film with host Mark Williams for Bravo's 'Ooh La La' Network, until she withdrew from the film.
1995-2001, 2016 Susan created a Mural/Installation 'Inside Outside' at The Living Museum, Building 75 ground floor black room alcove, located on the grounds of Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, NYC. Much of it was destroyed. Some of it remains. (Susan was a member artist of The Living Museum Collective, Queens Village, NY from 1995-2001 as an inpatient and outpatient.)
Hosting 'Open Mic Night' at Urban Justice Center for the formerly incarcerated and mentally ill populations, NYC 2015-2016
Writing and Performing Solo Work for Story Telling Event with The Moth, Urban Justice Center NYC 2015
Storytelling at the police academy- training the NYPD in Crisis Intervention on calls with "emotionally disturbed persons", Flushing, NY 2017-2018
Writing and Performing Solo Work for 'Poetry Electric' at La Ma Ma Theater, SoHo, NYC 2017
(Susan's father died two days before opening night. She dedicated her performances to his memory)
Susan playing and directing herself in 'RELEASED', an autobiographical documentary short film (2014) Featuring the song 'I Was Trash When You Met Me'. Video on Shyla Idris YouTube Channel. Words / Lyrics by Susan.
'RELEASED' Film Screenings...
2015 RELEASED Film Premiere (APA) American Psychological Association Film Festival and Conference Toronto, Canada