As part of Gannon’s Schuster Theatre’s 2018 Alex Clemente Fundraiser, the stage welcomes GU alumnus and former faculty member William Doan, Ph.D.
Doan will be performing his solo presentation of “Drifting” on Saturday.
The Alex Clemente Fund for Performing and Related Arts is an annual event held by the Schuster Theatre to raise funds.
Since 1996, the theater program has raised funds that provide support for guest artists who either visit the campus to work with students or provide master classes and workshops away from campus when Gannon students travel.
In the past, the fund has helped broaden students’ theatrical knowledge by bringing John Bucchino, Broadway composer, and Alicia Rhodes, NYC intimacy director, to Gannon for productions and workshops.
Doan graduated from Gannon University with his Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre and communication arts in 1982.
He went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University and a doctorate from Case Western Reserve.
While a student, he participated in many activities such as Alpha Psi Omega (Gannon’s honorary theater fraternity), WERG and many theatre productions, including “Runaways” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.”
While a faculty member for 18 years, he also directed and designed productions such as “Twelfth Night,” “Macbeth,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and even created some original plays.
“The Odyssey” was one of these productions he co-created with the late Dr. Cherie Haeger.
Doan moved to Penn State in 2008 and became the associate dean for administration, research and graduate studies for the College of Arts and Architecture before joining the School of Theatre full time in 2013.
Doan served as president of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education from 2011-2013 and will be inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre in April 2018.
Doan will be returning to Gannon to perform on the Schuster Theatre stage his solo performance version of “Drifting,” a life journey into traumatic brain injury, sibling loss and art.
The original production received a workshop at Dixon Place Theatre in New York in March of 2014, followed by performances for The Doctors Kienle Center for the Study of Humanistic Medicine at the Hershey Area Playhouse.
These performances were meant to be a trigger for ethical discussions about end-of-life decisions.
The version that will be performed at Gannon focuses more on Doan’s experience coming to terms with his sister’s traumatic brain injury and death and how this ultimately influenced his art and life.
Doan explained how the solo performance takes a multimedia approach, utilizing home movies, drawings and voice-overs to help tell the story.
“It’s in many ways, a memory play,” said Doan, “taking place mostly in my head and my heart.”
He continued to express how he finds the story is important to share and how he has found telling the story very comforting as he continues to perform.
“Drifting” begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, with a pre-show reception starting at 7 p.m. and post-show talks occurring after the performance.
Cost of admission is $25, with proceeds going to the Alex Clemente Fund for Performing and Related Arts.