, When I first thought of taking a sabbatical, it seemed like a great idea! Taking a semester to really focus on a project, travel, research, sit on benches pondering my existence. Sounds pretty good right? Well I soon found that some sort of project plan and other stuff had to go into a sabbatical application and bench pondering, didn't seem all that lofty a goal. So what could I do? I was at the point in my tenure when I was eligible, and maybe in all this "research" I could travel with my wife during our 30th anniversary year...
All I needed was a project! Something aligned to my uh, scholarly work.
I teach acting and directing with a lot of spiritual guidance along the way. So,...I thought, should I write a book? NO. OK, then perhaps research a book, which I may or may not ever write. I was told, that's not the sort of project the sabbatical approval committee is likely to approve. Well, I'm a professional actor, I should act. But acting means finding a theatre, that is auditioning for a play with themes that align with my faith, somewhere probably far from home, for quite some time. There was talk about playing Lear. That sounded exhausting. Besides, I've been in KING LEAR twice in two different roles and I know how it ends. Perhaps I could write my own piece, Wait, I already did. THE GOLDEN KEY, my many years in the making, still tweaking, one man show on the life of GK which had been filmed in it's 90 minute entirety and aired on EWTN then put on it's on-demand channel. But it was written to be a stage play not a TV miniseries. Could I really do, the play? How it was meant to be?
Why not! It was meant for the stage, it's how I wrote it. I never got to do it on stage after EWTN snapped up the show and made it into a tv series, CHESTERTON STATION. A miraculous blessing in and of itself. Thank you EWTN! Maybe I could tour a few parishes and Cathy and I could road trip! Maybe even a Chesterton School might want to see it? Besides, they won't approve it anyway.
I threw together a proposal, mentioning Chesterton students, seniors graduating who might come to Franciscan if I could be an ambassador of sorts and turned my paperwork in. I knew I wouldn't get it so I went back to memorizing the next CHESTERTON STATION episodes I wrote last fall and put that crazy idea out of my head. That's when the Sabbatatical approval committee sent me word that my sabbatical was approved for spring 2024. Wait what? I guess Chesterton and I were gonna be taking our show on the road!
Flash forward 6 months, and suddenly there are emails, phone calls, booking logistics, planes, trains, conversion vans, booking dates, Chesterton schools yes, but also Catholic Centers, midwest Universities, all sorts of performing venues began to nail down dates, it went from notes, to pads, to writing on the wall which turned into a map with routes, dates, and squiggly lines.
So far it looks like I’ll potentially be performing in New York State, Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, California, New Mexico, Florida, Tennessee, Ohio, Maryland, Minnesota and there are still a few more places are working out the details.
Ours is the God who sends, maybe with a jolly jesting Chesterton tugging on his robe a bit.
Suddenly it was time for reworking that old script, reworking tech needs such as lights, sound, props, etc., and memorizing some 65 pages. But that was all in September, the tour wouldn't begin until next year,.. plenty of time. Then suddenly it was the Feast of All Saints!
I won't bore you with the details, however I really enjoy talking to so many Chesterton fans on the phone. I enjoy those conversations so much, I often forget what dates we agreed on! And Christmas is coming! And so is my first show! Stay tuned to this page to follow along on this whirlwind tour. Consider this your behind the scenes backstage pass. I'll try to include dates on every entry so you can follow along. Currently tour slots in January, April, and most of February are all booked.
It won't be no TRAVELS WITH CHARLIE, but it will be an adventure of epic proportions. Just like me. One thing for sure, we will be, on the road again...