a solo play by Mike Ostroski and Derek Davidson

“Grow a garden.”  The idea hits Paul like a meteor hitting the planet and he’s off.  He reads the books, sows the seeds, and before his first tomatoes ripen, departs on a crusade to save the planet one precious seedling at a time.  Saving himself, however, will prove a much harder battle.


press releases

Groundwork Returns to LA for Hollywood Fringe Festival (PDF)

Groundwork to be performd at Jesup Memorial Library (PDF)

Actor MIKE OSTROSKI Plants His Celebrated One-Man Show 'GROUNDWORK' at Climate Action Arts Festival: VISION LA’15  (LINK)

VisionLA’15 to present Groundwork (PDF)



from critics

"Directed by Davidson with punch and potency, this furiously engaging. [Ostroski’s] delivery, a combination of slam poetry and conversation, opens up worlds to an unsuspecting audience. Groundwork plants the seed of ideas worth harvesting.”

- Vanessa Cate, Stage Raw


“The immense humor of Groundwork comes in waves, but there is something about Ostroski’s [work] that [causes] even the most grave insight to make you feel at home, and perfectly uncomfortable at the same time. From the imitation of his friend’s Southern-drawl and his dramatic semi-psychic neighbor, to the tossing of every prop on stage, Ostroski has you on your toes, entranced and laughing. And there is no doubt you will leave feeling utterly inspired.”           

- Samantha Matcovsky, Huffington Post



“Mike Ostroski is a force of nature.  An actor with access to a seemingly limitless energy source which he uses to fuel character after character in this tantalizing yarn that encompasses more square footage than most museums.  It is a performance that is quite simply one of a kind.”                                                                                               - Eric Lange


Groundwork is simply brilliant and Mike Ostroski gives a phenomenal performance. It's a comedy with a subtle poignant message that resonates deeply - I was left thinking about the play and it's themes for days afterward. It's so refreshing and exciting to witness extraordinary theatre. Groundwork has it all.”                             

- Michael D. Cohen


"Mike Ostroski in Groundwork is a force of nature; his energy and enthusiasm are infectious and contagious.  The best visual image I can give you is that of a ferret on crack...  obviously his meds aren't working, much to the delight of ALL of us in the audience.  Thank God Mike has a director in Derek Davidson who knows how to reign him in, and the result is an unforgettable evening of theatre."                                                                                                          - Keith Martin


"I saw over twenty performances this summer from performers all over the country.  Groundwork was better than any of them."  

- Judy Feinberg


"You don't have to be a gardener to identify with Mike Ostroski's themes of attrition and regrowth. His engaging energy pulls you into his stories until you, too, are suffering his disappointments and celebrating his triumphs. Be prepared to leave this magnetic show with a desire to grow your own garden."

- Elizabeth Dwyer Sandlin, Writer,


"Mike Ostroski is a whirlwind of energy.  He has you laughing one moment and crying the next.  Groundwork is a delight."

- Jo Hall


“Mike Ostroski's Groundwork was purely magical. I often find myself getting rather bored with most one-man-shows; this one, however, had me glued to the end of my seat, laughing out loud, and shedding a few tears.  Mr. Ostroski displayed a rare ability to create a visceral and authentic theatrical experience.  It's a must see!”

- Sarah Chaney


“Michael is one of the most astonishing,memorable actors I have ever seen. From his first surprising cough/bark he had the audience entirely and keenly focused and he didn't let them go. His amazing physical kinetics and his powerful vocal virtuosity are unparalleled in my memory. Reverberating...emotive narrative, instantaneous, authentic character creation!  WHAT an ACTOR!  A real event, a super experience.”         

- Lowell Hayes


“Had the pleasure of seeing this show last night. A truly magnificent piece of theatre with exquisite acting, direction, writing and dinosaurs, even a Jurassic Park reference, what's not to love?? A great way to spend your evening...” 

- Jack Lafferty


“Such a powerful show, deconstructing it in the moment on stage, wringing [Mike’s] heart & ours.  Wonderfully unexpected.  [Mike’s] wit, charm, quick-mind, humor, enthusiasm were everywhere in play this evening...”  

- Stephen Jobes


“An explosive, entertaining and poignant journey of a man’s quest to save the world!  Loved this show!”

- Christina Evans


“Excellent play.  Superb performance.  Audiences are in for a treat.”

- J David Hinton


“I loved the whole premise of Groundwork. It was delivered with great energy and in a conversational style that appealed to me. Mike Ostroski’s transformation into the various characters is seamless and very believable. It was extremely funny and had several poignant moments.  I loved watching Groundwork. It had great comedy and also delivered a beautiful message. A thoroughly enjoyable evening at the theatre!”



“Unique, relatable, unexpected, fun! Great character work, story, energy, and message. This show is good theatre.  Seeing Groundwork made me think if I saw good theatre once a week I might be a better person. Definitely catch this show – really delightful!”



“From the beginning I was mesmerized by the amazing layers of what Mike Ostroski can do. The show gave me things to relate to on so many levels, it made me think, it made me really glad I had gone to see this and certainly proud to tell others about it. Groundwork has planted the seed for something wonderful to grow and give to others. Mike Ostroski is outstanding...he is an incredible performer/actor and his work is brilliant as is the one man show!”



“Mike Ostroski’s storytelling is captivating and delightful. I enjoyed the show from start to finish.  Endearing, funny, and versatile, Mike Ostroski tells a universally relatable story. As an artist, myself, I couldn’t help but connect with his character’s hunger to find meaning through CREATING something new. I thoroughly enjoyed riding the roller coaster, alongside him, through the ecstatic hope of the new idea, the struggles, the joys, the nagging fear of its futility, and ultimately the unshakable faith of the creative spirit. Bravo!”

- Little Candle Productions


“Mike Ostroski is a very talented, physical, passionate actor with many funny and lovable characters in him. I really loved the overall concept, and the amount of work and love clearly poured into the piece. The ingenuity with which a “garden” is created onstage is brilliant, and the audience involvement helped keep everyone focused, as the play is purposely chaotic in its writing cadence. This play is profoundly human and emotional – gets down to the nitty-gritty of the process of creation.  Great work! Would definitely see this again.”



“Mike Ostroski is a powerhouse. His authentic solo performance was dynamic, captivating, and thought provoking.  One man shows are tough to pull off, however, Mike Ostroski managed to create a universally inspiring story that kept me riveted from the moments the lights went up. Must see!”



“Mike Ostroski is a tornado of talent. GROUNDWORK is fast paced, entertaining, thought provoking, and different. Not your typical one man show. Not only does Ostroski star but co- wrote as well.  From the moment the show starts he explodes with charisma and charm winning the audience over immediately.He seamlessly goes from one situation to another. He ties everything together brilliantly. At the performance I attended the audience could not stop applauding from the tour de force they had just experienced. Bravo.”



“This solo show by Mike Ostroski touched my heart in a way I hadn’t expected it to. Whether it’s Belle or the Beast, or your friend from Tennessee, or a neighbor with a gigantic wolf-dog; the existential dread that tends to seep into your life every now and then cannot be overcome by simply throwing yourself into a project or a job. The understanding of who you are and what you should be doing while you have your time on this planet is what I think is at the heart of this magnificent show. Mike was endearing, engaging, and his beautifully raw performance made me feel as if this was a show that he built specifically for us. Bravo. A beautifully engaging play with an honest performance by a magnificent human being. 10/10 would see it again.”



“I loved everything about this show! Unique and interesting, and the time just flew by! I was entertained and it made me think A LOT about my place in this world and what we’re all searching for. And that we’re not alone.  Mike Ostroski was a power house! So much energy and honesty. I’d watch him in anything! And the message of this show is something we can all relate too but performed in a unique set-up. Great job to all involved!”



“Mike Ostroski plays Paul, a desperate man whose herculean efforts to construct a garden in a 13×20 foot room might pay off in vegetables. Ostroski’s energy is so high he is almost walking on the ceiling as he eats his fragrant cucumber and runs a marathon round the stage in this one man show about the difficulty of building a garden – a metaphorical garden that will save the planet – and the real garden of the heart – that might ultimately destroy his life.”



"I love the slice of life. Seeing the tragedies and victories in our lives shared on stage in wonderful blossoming moments. Mike did that 10-fold.  All you need is a stage and a talented actor and magic happens. Fantastic Mike!"



"Fantastic show, incredible, engaging performance. Fascinating subject matter, woven together semi stream of consciousness, but performed in an incredibly connected way to each individual audience member. Funny, profound, earthy and metaphorical! GO!"



"I loved the simplicity of the show, because the storytelling and acting made the room come alive. Mike is a brilliant, versatile, and compelling force on stage, and the script’s refrain from tying everything up in a nice bow made it all the more powerful.  Overall, I think this show is fantastic. It’s smart, interesting, well-executed, and a stunning piece of theatre. It’s applicable for any person of any age and background, and a joy to experience."



"Loved this show. The intensity and philosophy shine through the story of one man’s search for peace of mind.  Long after the show is over you will remember the haunting quality of Paul’s troubled state of mind as he plans a garden and finds the connections of his new passion with his own life, the history of the earth of the people on it. A beautiful and moving journey."



"This is such a wonderful show. Beautifully written and artfully performed. A wonderful story that is entertaining and moving and inspiring and such a joy to watch. This is a must see show. So compelling. It’s impossible to look away. If you miss any one moment of this show you’ve missed a moment of brilliance. Go see it!"



"THIS is what a solo show can be. We were comparing it to Murder Blood Bear Story, and it’s such a different show, but they both do what needs to be done, which is tell an honest story with characters with dimension. Perspective. Every solo show artist needs perspective on their story, and this one has it."



"I loved the energy that Mike Ostroski brings to the play. His performance is so truthful that you can see the garden come to life on stage.
The content of the show is rich with touching moments, funny situations, banjo chords, life lessons… and gardening tips! Mike Ostroski delivers an inspiring performance. As the stage gradually becomes a garden, his character feeds the audience with a universal piece full of amazement, excitement, frustration, disappointment, and hope, always. The universe is his garden."



"This was a great show about wanting to do better and be better while questioning one’s own ability and value in the world to effect change. Groundwork is a show about awareness, both self-awareness and awareness of the world in which we live. There’s a real conflict in this play I think we all can relate to about wanting to do good while questioning our existential value and whether we’re always focusing on the right things. Good writing, good acting, raising great questions without conceit of drawing any conclusions. Good art raises good questions."



"I loved it all. The piece was moving and relatable in so many ways. The staging was genius, and the flow was constant and beautiful. I loved the way Paul connects with his audience, and encourages to live these feelings with him. It brings a person into the show to where they feel like they are living it just as much as Paul is. I don’t think there is anything negative that anyone can say about this piece. The emotions are raw, the passion is tangible, and the humor is perfectly placed amongst such painfully realistic mindsets we all find ourselves in at one point or another. I was immediately hooked by the story. Mike Ostroski is a never-ending pool of energy, and I don’t think I have seen anyone piece together such beautiful chaos on their own before. You forget that Mike is an actor, and you begin to believe that he is just another lost soul searching for the goodness in the world (which I am sure he is in many ways). Bravo to the whole team behind this piece. You have created beautiful art that boldly and unrelentingly reflects reality. The only thing I didn’t like was seeing it come to an end."



"Excellent script and performance. A very-well developed piece and thoughtful presentation. Mike Ostroski delivers a thought-provoking, enlightening, heart-felt piece about the status quo of our presence on Planet Earth. The gardening metaphor works poignantly with our human growth and the stages of life. Strongly recommend this enjoyable, entertaining and well-executed performance."



"I thought the play did a great job of taking you into the mind of someone grappling with enormous issues of life, love, the future of the planet and who finds a way to “ground” himself, both literally and figuratively, by planting a garden. I thought all of the supporting characters in the play were distinctly drawn. Rather than being just a rushed half-realized imitation or caricature, they became flesh and blood people as well. I thought the ending was emotional and evocative. I found this to be a really thoughtful, complex, but emotionally involving show and also something entirely unique. From the pre-show music to the banjo to the references (Poor Richard’s Almanac??) it had a voice that is often missing in theater."



"[I liked the] energy and commitment of performer, the physicality of the work, and the way the story circled recurring themes and landed in a small quiet place. This was engaging, thought provoking and moving!"