May 28, 2009

Stephan Simek, Assoc. Professor of Theatre

“Truth without fantasy is only half the story,” my mother told me when I was growing up in Czechoslovakia. To live a full life, I would need the imagination to conjure new realities.

“Truth without fantasy is only half the story,” my mother told me when I was growing up in Czechoslovakia. To live a full life, I would need the imagination to conjure new realities.

Our family, dissidents, fled to Switzerland. I found political asylum in the United States. I made my life in theatre. I dreamed that one day I would teach and direct at Lewis & Clark College. And so I do. It is very powerful, fantasy.

A young Czech director, fearless about art, politics, and life, taught me that the text of any play is only the pretext. The actual text is the performance—if you dare to make it so. This is what I teach my students.

Our students are so open, so earnest, so dedicated. It is not a dedication with heavy boots. It is a dedication to fly. They are unfinished. They explore ways to finish themselves. This is why they come here. They come to write the other half of their story.