Gordon Bolar is the former station manager of WMUK. He retired in 2016 and now he’s returned to his other passion, the theater, as a playwright. Aside from 22 years working in public media, Bolar has written seven plays and produced three. He’s taught theater at the university level for six years. Bolar's newest play is "Homemakers in Heaven."
“Writing plays was a goal in my retirement,” Bolar says. “I am able to do it more seriously now that I am retired. I came out of a great playwrights’ conference in Kenyon, Ohio, and I got a lot of prompts and ideas, saw a lot of other work, and that inspired me to write this new play.”
Bolar says "Homemakers in Heaven" addresses that place where people put the women who created homes for them - their mothers and grandmothers - after they die.
“Do you picture your mother with wings in clouds in heaven? Or is she a presence in your life with whom you are able to engage and talk to?” Bolar adds, that those questions “are what drove me. It’s really a series of 13 monologues for the full play. We’re going to see the first four at the Epic Center.”
The one-act play, “Homemakers, 1967,” will be produced at the eighth annual Theatre Kalamazoo New Playfest at 7 p.m. on February 9 and at 4 p.m. on February 10 at the Epic Center's Judy K. Jolliffe Theatre. It will be one of several plays performed at the event that's free and open to the public.
“One of the ideas that spurred this (is) in Fukushima, Japan, (where) there was a phone booth erected by a farmer in his backyard. It looks like a real phone booth with the Asian cornice, Japanese style. It’s for those people who would like to talk with their deceased relatives who perished in the Fukushima disaster. I think there were some 3,000 souls who perished in that tidal wave. And people lined up. Is it connected to anything? I don’t know. They seem to think so.”
Bolar brings a telephone to the stage in his play, too. It inspires surprisingly intimate, vulnerable conversations, imagined or not, between the caller and the deceased.
Gordon Bolar earned an MFA in directing from Ohio University, through a Shubert Playwriting Fellowship. He received a PhD in theatre from Louisiana State University, where he wrote his dissertation on the Royal Court Theatre in London, England.
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