Being Inspired

Spent the weekend in Orlando, Florida, at the National New Play Network annual December event, the National Showcase of New Plays. Boy, I love this event. Hosted by the amazing Orlando Shakespeare Theatre this season, the facility and staff are absolutely fabulous. So grateful to have the chance to be here again this year.

A few solid days of theatre – seeing 6 full length readings, having practically non-stop chats and meet-n-greets, brainstorming sessions, handshaking and discussions about plays, playmakers, theatres, institutions and programs and process. You come out the other side of it thoroughly exhausted, but also feeling a sense of inspiration that is incredibly energizing. So many people who have a single thing in common: We all believe in the power of Theatre.

The thing that kept hitting me this weekend, too, was the variety of theatre that we believe in. Everyone there has a process, a target audience, a mission that’s the core of their work, and no two companies or artists are alike… but we all spend this time exploring how we do what we do, and learning how others do what they do, so that we can all get better. So that we can DO better.

Of course, like any conference, there’s lots of business-card exchanges, and people you see only once or twice a year that you get to re-connect with, and lots of people you meet for the first time. There’s opportunity for discussion in formal, moderated meetings, as well as wonderful opportunities to continue those conversations relaxing with a beer late in the evening. Ideas are thrown around and concepts are challenged and challenges are explored.

Now I get to return home and, hopefully, continue to help make a difference in the community we serve at Williamston Theatre. This wonderful reminder of the opportunities I have, and the responsibilities I have, has been a tiring, but invigorating few days, and it has left me with a big handful of excellent questions to take back to my work.

First, though, I need to sleep. Then, tomorrow – let the work begin again!

Embrace Wonder

Wisdom begins in wonder.  –  Socrates

Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.   –  Saint Augustine

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.  –  e. e. cummings

Cherish sunsets, wild creatures and wild places. Have a love affair with the wonder and beauty of the earth.  –  Stewart Udall

Random Picture Post!

A fun goofy shot from a couple of weeks ago – we were in Ann Arbor getting Max’s Senior Pics taken!

Here’s a nice one! Can’t believe he’s a senior! So excited for what his future holds. 

Very excited about our next show at Williamston Theatre. I’m directing Beau Jest with an amazing cast! 

It’s a ton of fun, lots of love and laughter. Here’s an image of the set model. We are doing it in the round, and I am LOVING it. 

A couple rehearsal shots from different angles:

My daughter Maggie was excited – the Apple tree she planted several years ago matured enough to give us a nice apple harvest this season!

Boy, I just realized how long it’s been since I posted here! Wow. Life got busy. Since my last post a lot has happened: we wonBwst Play for the 2016/2017 Season with our production of 1984:

Jeanne got to stare at an eclipse!

We produced an amazing play, The Taming, by Lauren Gunderson!

And I made Maggie pose for a picture on her first day of college, so I could compare it to the picture of her first day of kindergarten. Amazing. So proud of this kid. 

And now, coffee, errands, rehearsal, and lots of other stuff. 

Happy Wednesday everybody!

You Gotta Be A Good Guy…

In Preacher, written by Garth Ennis,  John Custer gives his son, Jesse, the words he will live by for the rest of his life. Before being murdered in front of his son, John hugs Jesse, tells him that he loves him, and gives him some advice:

“You gotta be a good guy, Jesse. You gotta be like John Wayne: you don’t take no shit off fools, an’ you judge people by what’s in ’em, not how they look. An’ you do the right thing. You gotta be one of the good guys, son, ’cause there’s way too many of the bad.”

I’ve had this post saved as a draft for a long time, because I’m not sure how to finish it. So I decided “the heck with it”, and I’m just posting it. I like this quote. I like the scene, and the imagery. I like the way the quote has stuck with me for a long, long time. 

I hope anyone reading it likes it too!

Pic Post Friday!

I had a wonderful quick getaway with my amazing wife Jeanne earlier this week.   We stole a couple days from the schedule and visited Saugatuck, Michigan.  We stayed in the fabulous Hidden Gardens bed-and-breakfast, where I now want to live year-round.

We spent a lot of time on Lake Michigan, at Oval Beach. Just beautiful.   Here’s the only pic I took at the beach!

To get to the beach, you have to take a short walk from downtown Saugatuck, across the Kalamazoo River.  This chain ferry is the way to cross and, according to the operator, it’s one of only a handful still in operation across the country!

Here is the guy cranking us across the river. Yes, when offered the chance, I did some cranking! Life is short, try stuff, celebrate everything!  😁

Jeanne and I had a great time, it was a wonderful relaxing couple of days. Downtown Saugatuck is adorable with lots of parks and little shops and great food. (If you go, don’t miss The Southerner, or Phil’s!)

This flower shop has the best name ever.

We also enjoyed some relaxing and great wine at a cool place called Borrowed Time…



With life being crazy, and politics driving everyone nuts, and work being always busy, and Jeanne and the kids going back to school in a week…. a little breathing room with the most important person in my world was just perfect.

I hope you’re all able to carve out some hammock time, whatever your version is, before long.  These are the moments all the hard stuff should lead to. Don’t forget to take them.

A nice thought on life…..

“Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

― Adapted from the original by Loren Eiseley


Taking a breath

Sometimes the best thing, the most productive thing, is a little down time.  

Just being outside, breathing. Being with family. Do some reading. “Refill the well”, as Julia Cameron would say. 

Some Kazan, some beverages, a tiny fish and a couple more days of this to come.  Thanks, Universe.