SummerQuest 2006

Eastern Michigan University
Department of Communication and Theater Arts

High School Summer Workshop for Forensics and Theater Arts

I have been on the faculty of Eastern Michigan University's SummerQuest forensics speech workshop for high school students from 2000 to 2007, helping to coach and mentor the next generation of public speaking performers.

On the second night of the workshop, I performed for the students. For two hours (the time always seems to fly by!), during this demonstration/discussion forum, I share with the students my own journey as a professional actor and storyteller. I weave together personal narrative with performance of literature, and through it all I keep a discussion going, encouraging students to have an opinion, to ask questions, to be bold, to be themselves.

For SummerQuest 2006, my theme was keeping our sense of wonder alive. The opening selection was Lawrence Ferlinghetti's "I Am Waiting," where the poet is "perpetually awaiting a rebirth of wonder."

One of my students, Matt Hood, helped me videotape that evening's performance. Thank you, Matt! I have segmented the video into each of the selections I performed that evening, including some of the footage from the discussion that followed or preceded each piece.

These video selections are in QuickTime format and can easily be viewed with most web browsers. For each link, a window comes up containing the video, it's Total Running Time (TRT), and the file size of the QuickTime movie. The microphone was mounted to the camera. You may need to turn up the volume.

Performance Videos

I Am Waiting

A poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. I ask the students, "How would you add to this poem? What are you waiting for?"


A poem by Ntozake Shange. A mandate to listen to your own advice.

The Mountain Whippoorwill

The poem by Stephen Vincent Benet. Subtitled "Or, How Hill-Billy Jim Won the Great Fiddlers' Prize."

The Road Not Taken

Words by Robert Frost. Simple. Elegant. True.

No Goodbyes

A poem by Paul Monette. The rawness of grief is explored.

Emotion in Performance

A discussion about the role of emotion in performance.

The Trust

Elinor Wylie's poem about taking a risk to put yourself in another's hands.