I'm in the midst of a virtual orientation week for my Fulbright in the winter and spring of 2023. It's a diverse group of scholars, researchers and soon-to-be English Teaching Assistants who will be posted throughout Central Asia. I've also gotten my Fulbright posting at Ala-Too International University in Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan. I'll begin in January but have already had an introductory Zoom with the Vice Rector, Dean, Department Head, Department Chair, Director of International Relations, the International Project and Program Coordinators and two representatives from the U.S. Embassy. Quite an honor. I came away from the meeting feeling ready to pack and leave tomorrow. Still, there's a lot to figure out between now and January (not to mention my other projects). For one thing, my progress with learning Russian has been slow. Not that I'll be teaching in Russian, but day to day life in Central Asian cities is in Russian. So I have to get moving on that. Of course, I also want to learn some Kyrgyz, but that will likely wait until I'm there since its not available in most language programs.
My highlight from last month was a wonderful weekend workshop with Geo Britto from the Centre de Teatro do Oprimido (Theatre of the Oppressed) in Brazil.
Theatre of the Oppressed is an interface between theatre and social action. I've been drawn to it for a long time and it has been an influence in various exercises I've used as a teacher. But now I am finally pursuing some opportunities to get closer to the source. This is partly because I'm hoping to draw on some of this work while in Kyrgyzstan. Anyway, it was a great workshop, enriching to me as an artist and as a person. I look forward to more such learning, later in the summer.
In July, I'll head to Milwaukee to direct McGuire, a one-man show about Al McGuire, written by Dick Enberg, with Tony Crivello playing Al. He's a powerhouse, Tony Award-winning actor, and it's going to be a lot of fun. Between now and then there's a lot of tech work to finish (slides, music, sound) but we have a really good team and solid ideas and I enjoy the process. Rech Entertainment is producing the show but we're mounting it at Next Act, my artistic home in Milwaukee, so that's an added treat. I love that space and am very comfortable there.
I'm also just finishing a booklet I've written on an Alumni Grant from the Bulgarian Fulbright Commission. It's called Throw the Cat Out the Window! Teach English Creatively as a Second Language. It will be an ongoing resource the Fulbright English Teaching Assistants in Bulgaria. The graphic designer is working on layout now, but pretty soon we'll be sending it off to Sofia, so the incoming ETAs will have it for the coming year. I plan to update/adapt the text for Kyrgyzstan during the fall and bring it with me to use in workshops and classes while there. This is the flowering of a seed that was planted in Sofia back in 2019 and it's fulfilling to see it blossom.
That's the news for June.