How did you get your start at Clarke?
As I was completing my graduate work with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in 2002, which had an affiliation with the University of Alabama, I applied, interviewed and was ultimately hired to begin teaching at Clarke in the fall of 2002.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I never get tired of the opportunity and challenge of tackling a play or musical with other artists. At Clarke, I get to do this with my colleagues and my students, and we get the great privilege of dialoguing with experienced theater goers and newcomers.
How has your job changed over the years?
I think that my job has changed over the years because over the years I have been asked to wear more hats and juggle more opportunities.
What hasn’t changed about Clarke?
There is still a strong sense of family and community at Clarke. And there is still a very strong sense of respect from the greater Dubuque community for the artistic endeavors that take place here.
What was the craziest thing you’ve witnessed at Clarke?
I once saw Sister Carol Blitgen single-handedly take on a whole slew of Drama majors in a squirt-gun fight…and win! That ranks up there pretty high. On the serious side, I think it’s pretty impressive that our department has sent three shows in three years to the American College Theatre Festival.
What is your fondest memory in the classroom?
I think it might be the moment when, in one advanced acting class, a student tried to do some kind of acrobatic leap and ended up falling down and creating quite a scene. It sparked such laughter in the room, and none of us could keep it together. We all laughed with tears rolling down our cheeks. It was so wonderful to laugh like that with such great, caring, warm students. A wonderful moment.
Where is your favorite spot on campus?
The theater, of course! So many possibilities and the potential for something special. Plus, TDH is an amazing old building.
What is your favorite time of the school year?
I like the beginning of spring. I always feel like I’ve grown over the year with the students and it’s always such a hopeful time filled with bittersweet goodbyes to the graduates and a welcome embrace of the summer break!
What is your favorite Clarke production that you’ve been a part of?
I have been so fortunate to have been part of some fantastic productions, both as a guest actor and as a director. It’s so hard to choose one favorite. I think “The Laramie Project,” “Dead Man Walking,” and “Next to Normal” are a few that I’ve directed that have a very special place in my heart because of what the total experience was and what we were able to give to our audiences.
What is your favorite play overall?
Probably would be “Hamlet” or “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” I love Shakespeare, and those two plays are so rewarding. Hamlet has an infinite amount of things in it to discover again and again. And you can’t beat the magic, comedy, and genuine romance in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
What is something that you will always remember about Clarke?
There is such a down-to-earth attitude about the work that we do at Clarke, in everything, but especially in the arts. And there is such a genuine love between the students and the faculty.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Is there time to do anything outside of work? Haha. I enjoy cooking with my wife, especially creating new hot sauces, and spending time with my son, Sam and my dog, Lazar.
What would you tell a potential student about Clarke?
Clarke has such wonderful opportunities for a student who enjoys a small campus/community feel. Students have easy access to lots of leadership opportunities, no matter where their academic and extra-curricular interests lie. I think any student who is looking at the possibility of pursuing a degree in theatre would benefit from the one-on-one experience at Clarke. We have such a strong and celebrated history of producing quality work and I don’t think the rich experience in the Clarke Drama program can be beaten. Students are in for a tremendous amount of onstage and backstage experience and they will undoubtedly learn a great number of skills which will make them very marketable in any field that they choose to pursue, theater or otherwise.