Hold It All

Category: Theatre

Playing Ophelia Helped Lindsey Navigate Her Own Grief

My comrade and teacher Lindsey Trout Hughes was published yesterday in Catapult … incredible writing, with more to come…

The Good News of a Play, 3.31.2017

Playwright, clown, musician, and mensch Colin McLaughlin has invited friends over this evening to do a collective reading of his new play, Jailbird, about Eugene Debs. Colin asked me to read Debs’ famous statement to the judge at his trial for sedition, which includes the following: “Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”  May Colin’s retrieval of Debs eventually spread light and spark determination all over the U.S. and beyond.

Why Shakespeare Matters/2 by Magan Wiles

Magan studied Social Justice with me  in 2004;  did theater work with refugee kids through Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma as well as Playback Theater; worked with ISM in Palestine in 2006; got MFA at University of Tennessee (Knoxville); performed in Beautiful Resistance and My Name Is Rachel Corrie;  played Miranda in The Tempest (Shakespeare in the Park); now making her way in NYC; ten years later, she still calls me Professor-Friend.  Here’s her take on Will Shakespeare…

Shakespeare matters because, just like Tupac, young men still quote him in juvenile detention centers.  I teach acting to court-involved kids, and have for a long time, and I always feel weird about imposing another dead white writer on black-n-brown teenagers.  But Shakespeare will fire up the room every time.  Even if I can’t get them to read it, they will improvise the situations – “your uncle has killed your father and married your mother, and then your father’s ghost appears to you and tells you to take revenge.  Ok, Dale is Hamlet and David is the ghost.  Go.”  They love it.

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Why Shakespeare Matters/1 by Katie Consamus

I’ve asked a few friends, a good portion of whose lives have been in  the theater, if they’d be willing to write on the following topic because I was curious how they’d respond: Why Shakespeare Matters.  The serene, daring, brilliant, and delightful Katie Consamus sent me the following….enjoy!


The first time I can recall reading Shakespeare was in ninth grade English.  We were required to read Romeo & Juliet out of some benign English textbook full of whitewashed classics that someone on some board had once deemed relevant or important.

I read Romeo & Juliet silently to myself.  I found it difficult to muddle through, I thought it was confusing, I didn’t know half of the words, the storyline was ridiculous, and the whole thing was just too damn long.  I had been drilled in class on the rhythm and meter and how amazing it was going to be and blah-de-blah-de-blah, but honestly, to me, the whole thing seemed like a damn waste of time. In summation, I was bored, and I thought Romeo & Juliet was a piece of shit.

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Austere, Moral, Mythic, Ceremonial

Thursday 31 October 2013


A while back I read this collection, Sartre on Theater, and I noted especially the following passages from his lectures, interviews, and articles. I want to share them with you, since you are thinking about theater much of your waking hours–on the trains and buses, the Harlem streets, before you fall asleep, as you daydream about the projects you could do in Saint Louis (perhaps put on a production of The Condemned of Altona?), as you organize other people’s chaos (a miracle before their amazed eyes), and as you remember that handful of NY performances that matter most to you–as actor, audience member, citizen, human being. Read the rest of this entry »


Friday night, I sent the following message to Katie Consamus:

Isn’t acting one of the most demanding practices you could ever imagine?!
Do you ever  stand back in awe at what you all do?
Do you even think of it as a kind of religion (that which deals with the ultimates)?
I read a book this week on improv.  A seed has been planted. Read the rest of this entry »

Magan Wiles in “My Name Is Rachel Corrie”


Come to "MY NAME IS RACHEL CORRIE" at SLU Black Box Theater, July 8-11th and 15th-18th!

Blue Rose Stage Collective presents their debut production:


Taken from the writings of Rachel Corrie
Edited by Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner
Performed by Magan Wiles
Directed by Tom Martin

Come and see this profoundly moving production of the life of the murdered Palestinian rights activist Rachel Corrie. Adapted from the writings of Rachel Corrie, “My Name is Rachel Corrie” is a deeply passionate portrayal of both the life of Rachel Corrie and the cause she lived and, ultimately, died for: justice for Palestine.

Magan Wiles stars as Rachel Corrie in "My Name is Rachel Corrie."



Saint Louis University Black Box Theatre – Xavier Hall
3733 West Pine Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63156

Dates and Times:

July 8-11th and 15th-18th
Thursday-Sat At 8pm, Sunday at 7pm

For tickets: 314.779.4148 or bluerosestage@gmail.com

**Please help us spread the word about this profoundly moving and important production. You can download the flyer for the event here: “My Name is Rachel Corrie” Event Poster. Also, tell your friends and family and spread the word via Facebook, Twitter, etc. below this post!**


* Article from The Guardian about censorship of play in New York

* DemocracyNow articles on Rachel Corrie and the censorship of “My Name is Rachel Corrie”