Fall Semester 2017: I found myself navigating a fantastic adventure and journey through the crazy state of Missouri and the wonderful student population at Missouri State University. I was brought on and had the opportunity to direct a play for their main stage featuring their theatre majors and then teach a group of fresh and new first year students script analysis. For those of you who knew me when I was attending Miami University as a student, this probably terrifies you, and looking back, I get that.
I was absolutely blown away at the talent, dedication, and drive these students have. The incredible cast and crew that we assembled for our production of Wendy Kesselman's The Diary of Anne Frank was more than an outside director could have ever asked for. They dug deep into a script that holds a story that i was worried would be well beyond their years and life experience, and those students without knowing it proved to me just how naive and short sighted my preconceived notions of them were. I mean... it was jaw dropping.
Digging in rehearsals they knew to find laughter, joy, humanity, and they strove for hope at all costs, they're ability to listen to each other, not merely as actors, but as human beings and friends allowed this piece to grow beyond a college show and into an experience that I hope many of them, as I know i will not, will never forget.
They're Hungry. They're Talented. They're fearless. Watch out ladies and Gents, that group of Missouri State Bears pictured are going to be anything BUT the underdogs. I know that I learned something about myself from this group of misfit theatre students, I'll choose to be an underdog every single time if they're the type of artists I get the opportunity to work with.
THEN. These crazy ass students hadn't gotten enough of that ensemble work, so they put together one of the coolest and scrappy project's I've gotten to be a part of in a long time.
PASSION, POWER, and PAWS - An Evening of Shakespeare to raise funds for Rescue One Animal Shelter.
I took a back seat, and these students put together 8+ Shakespearean scenes, multiple monologues, with half a dozen directors and more than a dozen actors all that came together one night at Lindbergs Tavern in Springfield MO to have a bard filled and fueled night of theatre. Sharing one rehearsal space, we scraped it together, I was given the opportunity to direct the Grave diggers with Hamlet and Horatio from Hamlet, and the Tennis Balls scene from Henry V....not to mention an absurd O for a Muse of Fire monologue delivered by one of MSU's craziest, talented and hard working actors.
This group was riddled with Anne Frank cast and crew, digging, finding new level of story telling, connecting 400 year old material to the world we live in today, and bridging the gap between what high cost Shakespeare in a theatre offers and what style that allows our audiences to connect to, with the juxtaposition of pulling props from our own closets. Pirate theatre. Poor Theatre, the art of beg borrow and steal. And they owned it.
Many Thanks to the wonderful people at Lindbergs Tavern for giving us them the opportunity to put on an evening of insanity.
I'm excited to hear about the next one. keep digging ladies and gents.