It's been a good summer. In July, I directed a one-man show about Al McGuire. McGuire was a college basketball coach who led Marquette U. to national prominence and victory in the 1977 NCAA tournament. He later became a broadcaster for NBC sports, where he worked with Dick Enberg until just before his early death from leukemia. Enberg wrote the play, McGuire, which premiered a few years ago at Milwaukee Rep. It was very successful but a protacted legal battle ensued over the rights. When the smoke cleared, Barbara Enberg (Dick's widow) and Rech Entertainment had the rights. Last winter, they asked me to direct a remount, hoping to launch a new production that could tour. In July, we mounted McGuire at Next Act Theatre.
Tony Crivello played McGuire both at Milwaukee Rep and in this new production. He's a terrific actor with a high-profile career, including a Tony Award for Kiss of the Spider Woman on Broadway. I really enjoyed working with Tony and reshaping the production, which meant reconceiving the design, adding more behavior and creating a vehicle that can tour. In addition to directing, I designed the set, and also really enjoyed the collaboration with the projection and lights designer, Aaron Sherkow. We ended up with somewhere over a hundred, beautifully designed projections. Happily, the show was very well received. Now we'll see if other gigs come from it.
In early August, I travelled to Vancouver for a 2 week intensive workshop with David Diamond on Theatre for Living, which is an offshoot of Theatre of the Oppressed. I discovered David's work as I began to search for workshops in Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) last winter. We corresponded a bit, then I read his book and saw several videos of his remarkable work.
A protege of Augusto Boal, David founded the Theatre for Living and spent three decades working throughout Canada (and elsewhere) using Forum Theatre and Image Theatre as a tool for social justice work. His many projects include Forum productions with various indiginous peoples, gang members, homeless people, etc. He's a passionate, articulate teacher and the workshop was both rich and demanding. I think it will filter through my teaching and perhaps further. And next weekend I'll be taking yet another 3 day training at Theatre of the Oppressed NYC. This training (like the 2nd week in Vancouver) is focused on being the Joker (facilitator/director) for workshops and productions in TO. I'm very curious to see where all of this leads in my work.
Meanwhile, I'm progressing (slowly!) with studying Russian and looking forward to the acceleration of planning for going to Kyrgyzstan in the winter.
That's my news.