Dave Dannenfelser from Theatre Arts shares his experiences with visiting artists John Clancy and Nancy Walsh, who are directing the next BU Players production, The Shape of Things.
My career as a theatre artist really began when the NYC International Fringe Festival hosted my play, When Words Fail. I’d been writing, directing and working as an educator in theatre arts for some time, but my Fringe experience made me believe that my future would be about making a life out of my work in theatre.
It happened when I met John Clancy and his wonderful wife and partner, Nancy Walsh. John and Nancy were busy forming the foundations for what would become the largest and one of the most prestigious theatre festivals in North America, the Fringe. But I never would have been a part of this event or the movement that grew out of it if not for the Generosity of Spirit John, Nancy and so many other fine artists possess.
|Photo by Eric Foster|
Back then, I approached my long-time collaborator, Kevin Kittle, with the idea of getting a bunch of actors together to “find” a play that I could go off and write. Kevin exercised his Generosity of Spirit and said, “Sure, let’s do it” and we were on our way. We didn’t know we were entering a process now known as Devised Theatre. We just called it fun.
Since rehearsal space in NYC can cost a small fortune, location was a problem. Enter John Clancy, his own Generosity of Spirit intact, with an offer of space he wasn’t using that summer on 45th Street. And that was it. We had a space, gratis and enough naiveté to ask a group of actors to come and play with us. Because actors are also full of Generosity of Spirit, they did.
That play went on to a small, successful run Off-Off Broadway and was later published by Martin Denton of nytheatre.com. Recently there has been interest in using the play in a collection focused on artists working on the Independent Theatre scene. Independent Theatre or Indie Theatre is the movement to remove the geographical and class distinctions of the Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway Theatre structure. It’s being led by the League of Independent Theatres, with John Clancy as executive director and Nancy in the fight with him.
Generosity of Spirit. It’s a phenomenon created by the best impulses of a theatre artist and John and Nancy have it in abundance. These two fine artists have been spreading some GOS around Bloomsburg University as they prepare students through rehearsal for the BU Players’ production of The Shape of Things by Neill LaBute, which will be performed April 18 through 22 in Alvina Krause Theatre. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Join us for the play and see what a little GOS can do for you.