My Fulbright in Bishkek is looming on the horizon, and I’ll now also be teaching at the American University of Central Asia. I’ll teach a course called Creative Storymaking, both there and at Ala-Too International University, for filmmakers, journalists and theatre makers. It's going to be an adventure for all of us. These two courses are in addition to the courses I will teach at Ala-Too (AIU) using creative exercises (mostly theatre and creative writing) to teach upper-level English.
I also now have an apartment for the winter and spring, which is a relief, given that the flood of Russians fleeing Putin’s conscription has spilled into Bishkek, causing rent prices to go up and lodging to become scarce.
In preparation, I’m studying Russian with as much as brain-power as I can spare, and finding it a greater challenge than any language I’ve previously studied. I'm making slow headway, working intermittently with two separate tutors and some group classes, but I’m thankful I won’t have to depend on my Russian to survive. And of course, I'll be teaching in English.
Meanwhile, my booklet on teaching English creatively as a foreign language has gotten excellent responses from the ETAs (English Teaching Assistants) in Bulgaria, for whom it was written, and also our Embassy’s Cultural Officers and ETAs in Kyrgyzstan. I’m greatly encouraged by these responses and hope to develop the material further down the road in some way.
At the end of this month, I head back to Milwaukee and Next Act Theatre to direct a play called THE TIN WOMAN. It's part sentimental comedy, part drama and presents some definite design challenges, especially mounting it in that extreme thrust. I believe we’re arriving at a set design and a way to stage it that will work, but there's a lot still to be figured out. Thankfully, I have a good design team and have worked with all of them previously. And as always, I look forward to returning and working in Milwaukee, and especially at Next Act, which has been an artistic home for me for some time.
That’s my news for October.