Mystic Paper Beasts

Who are the Mystic Paper Beasts?

The Mystic Paper Beasts is a masked theatre company, performing myths, original and traditional,  in a lively, witty manner, in masks hand made by the Company (mostly by Dan), in plays written/directed by Marya, with input by the participating performers.  The Beasts were founded by Dan Potter and Melisande Potter, and the troupe originally included their two little daughters, Giselle and Chloe.


It is a collaboration between two artists, Dan Potter and Marya Ursin,  and often includes performers Andrew Feldman, Rosemary Gentile,  Donna Klucewicz, Doug Moffat,  Robin Rice,  Lissa van Dyke,  Jean and Gary Williams, Akasha Zezulka, Ana Ursin-Nichols, beasts from the O’Neill world, and from Connecticut College, and from the Dragon’s Egg.


The Beasts seek to amuse and delight while they explore the underlying themes of transformation in myths and dream-stories; performing their interpretations of these universal stories with dance and mime, in their whimsical and fabulous masks.

They hope to bring to their audience the possiblity of going beneath the day’s masks to the underlying experience of each moment.


contact: Marya at

Daniel Potter google: dan’s sculpture

Daniel Potter began creating sculpture and puppeting at the tender age of eight, and continued with writing art and directing theatre while at the Putney School, Harvard College (AB, 1968), l’Ecole des Beaux Arts, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design (M. Architecture 1973).

In 1976, he co-founded the Mystic Paper Beasts Theatre Company. Since then, the Beasts, a masked theatre company, have been travelling internationally (US, U.K., Sweden, France, Italy) in various forms: as a family circus, a duet, solo with audience participation, and as a performance group of twenty or more friends. Currently, Dan is builds and paints masks, and performs in them for the company in the pieces written and directed by his partner, Marya Ursin.

In the 1980’s between tours, Daniel became a potter. His pottery, painted by Marya or by him, is shown and sold in Ct., RI, and New York. In the 90’s he began studying life drawing and sculpture at the Lyme Academy with Don Gale and Dean Keller and since then has created many large plasmacut sculptures in metal, bronze castings, and oil paintings which he has sold at several galleries on Long Island including the Elaine Benson Gallery, and in other galleries throughout the New England area, including the Hygienic in New London, Hera and the Hoxie in Rhode Island, and several shows curated by Marya at the Construction Company in New York City. Works of his, including films, can be seen on his website (google: dan’s sculpture).

For the past ten years he has been wintering in various warm exotic cultures such as San Miguel, Essaouira, Lisboa, Leonidio, Tepoztlan, Cairo, Oaxaca, Panajachel, Hanoi, Istanbul, Phnom Penh, and Chiang Mai, and sending back email stories and photographs to a long list of friends. To join them or reach him you can email

Dan and Marya enjoy three shared daughters, Giselle Potter (b.1970). Chloe Potter (b. 1973), and Ana Tiwathia (b.1980).

Marya Ursin

Marya began dancing at the age of 3. She continued dancing while pre-med and political at Swarthmore College (BA), and while in grad school at Columbia University (psychoneuroendocrinology). Following the stronger lure of the dancing arts, she finished her BA in art history at Swarthmore, hitchhiked thrice across the country, studying dance and theatre at UCLA, Long Beach, ACDFA, and then went to Paris to study at L’Ecole de Mime Marcel Marceau, and returned to NYC to train under Merce Cunningham, in whose studio she taught for eight years. Through the ‘70s and ‘80s, Marya performed as a dancer and mime in NYC at venues including DTW, BAM, Whitney Museum, LaMama, Cubiculo, Walker Arts Center (Minneapolis), danced in the companies of Laura Dean, Mitchell Rose, Sally Bowden, Brynar Mehl, Brian Hayes, Elaine Shipman, and others, mimed with Mimika mime company for two years, was in various alternative plays and films, ran a dance studio in New London, Ct., catered for famous artists, and taught (and continues to teach) yoga, dance, storymaking and telling, and “myth in mask” at the National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Centre, dance/theatre/stress reduction and now yoga in Connecticut College’s Dance Department, Children’s School, Community Dance Program, and Continuing Ed Dept, and at the Dragon’s Egg, and mammothly out and about. She has taught yoga since 1982, and is an RYT 500, has an MA in Integrative Health, and has done extensive study in various alternative healing arts, resulting in a bevy of minor certifications.

In 1989, Marya joined the Mystic Paper Beasts, of which she is now the Artistic Director. She writes and directs the plays performed by the Beasts, and designs and paints some of the masks sculpted by Dan, and acts as producing director for the Company. She has performed from Colorado to Scotland, but mostly performs in the NE of this country. The Beasts currently perform perhaps 30 times a year. She is the managing director of the artistic retreat space: the Dragon’s Egg, and produces performances for artists of this entity in NYC, Ct, and RI. Marya was a long time member of Situ, a NYC based dance troupe of choreographer Elaine Shipman, with whom she performed in and out of NYC many times a year. She is, additionally, a licensed massage therapist, volunteers for Hospice, is a painter of pottery, a grateful  student of various mentors and teachers, has written two story books, and is the proud mother of Ana and grandmother of Aarya, the fortunate partner to Dan, has four stepchildren, four step grands of bright glee, a garden, and at times various cats. She is blessed in her circle of friends and family, past and present. She experiences much joy, often, and occasional deep sadness. She gets to have it all, and is immensely grateful in this. She credits her long practice of yoga, (not to mention meditation, breathing, dancing, performing, doing what she loves, serving others when she can, and- especially- the gift of mothering) – with this experience of life as such fullness of being.