By: James Fagan, Staff Photographer
Professor Michael Boudewyns has been teaching theater courses at USM since the Fall of 2016. He teaches classes that are both interesting and fun. Boudewyns likes to allow students to be creative, and playful in a way that makes his classes interesting. He loves to be able to give someone a class which might be their best class that week.
Boudewyns went to the University of Northern Iowa majoring in theatre during his Undergraduate years. Several reasons he decided to go to the University of Northern Iowa is because he had a High School theater teacher that went there, the College often hosted High School theater programs, and the College itself had a good theatre program. For his postgraduate years he attended College in Delaware to further his theater education and obtain his Masters of Fine Arts in Acting and has been on the East Coast since 1989.
Boudewyns decided to teach for several reasons. One of these reasons is that he performs theatre and has experience and knowledge of what working in the field that he teaches is actually like. He also had a great fourth grade teacher that allowed him to express his enthusiasm and creativity, which he is deeply grateful for. Another reason he decided to teach theater is he feels that in teaching theater he gets to be more subjective than some teachers do. He likes that his classes are subjective because he feels he has the ability to give his students permission to be playful and creative more often than he might if he were teaching something else.
Boudewyns’ first job was being a paper-boy in fourth grade. He had to deliver two papers during the day, one in the morning, and one in the evening. He would wake up every morning at 4:30 a.m. to deliver the morning paper. When Boudewyns was in high-school he learned that a restaurant called Ground Round had a clown named Bingo. He decided to apply for a job at Ground Round, and got the job of being Bingo. As a clown, Boudewyns would juggle, tell jokes, and generally try to get people to laugh and have fun. “I would go up to tables and just make up games, like saying that the participants had to go touch the opposite wall, but the point of the game was to go as slow as possible, and the last one to touch the wall would win,” Boudewyns said. He soon figured out that the clown didn’t have a designated uniform and could have even come in, “With a full suit on and just a red dot on his nose”, Boudewyns said. Ground Round had several people filling the spot of Bingo, so he got several of his friends to apply, and they also got the job of being Bingo. When Boudewyns went to college there was a Ground Round restaurant in the city in which he went to College. Instead of taking the bus, Boudewyns made his roommate drive him to the Ground Round. Later Michael would help to host Summer theater camp programs in which he and a colleague would take a children’s book, like Peter Pan, and compress it into a form that could be presented as a radio play by the children. He would compress the books, the children would record their voices for the show, then Boudewyns and his colleague would spend, “Literally all day and night Friday and Saturday editing and adding sound effects to the radio plays, and they would play on the radio Sunday.” Boudewyns said.
If Boudewyns could impart any piece of knowledge to the students at USM it’s that, “Everyone is making it up, always,” Boudewyns said. He feels that in many things, whether it be sports, theater, or anything in life, you might make a plan to do things a specific way, but in a sense, you’re still making everything up in a playful, thoughtful way.