I grew up in New York City and suburbs, started college majoring in Engineering, and ended up with an M.A. in English from University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Cornell, specializing in 20th century literature and dramatic literature. I came to UBC in 1972 to teach modern British, with an emphas...
I grew up in New York City and suburbs, started college majoring in Engineering, and ended up with an M.A. in English from University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Cornell, specializing in 20th century literature and dramatic literature. I came to UBC in 1972 to teach modern British, with an emphasis on fiction, and my early publications were almost all on novelists: Conrad, Lawrence, Woolf, Huxley, Ellison, as well as Beckett, Rabelais and Shakespeare. By about 1980, partly because I was also working in Vancouver theatres as an actor, often in new Canadian plays, I found myself teaching mostly drama courses and eventually creating a course on Canadian Drama. In 1985 I published Modern Canadian Plays, an anthology of twelve plays post-1967 with a critical introduction surveying the history of Canadian theatre. Since then, my primary fields of teaching and research have been related to Canadian drama and theatre. Modern Canadian Plays has become the major textbook in the field and is currently in its 4th edition, two volumes of 24 plays. I have published widely on modern Canadian drama, and have recently expanded my interests to the earlier periods of Canadian theatre history. I also reviewed plays for CBC Radio's Afternoon Show in Vancouver for over 15 years, and currently review for The Province newspaper as well as my website, www.vancouverplays.com. In 1993 I was cross-appointed to the Theatre Department, where I teach theatre history and, sometimes, acting for the camera.
Just as I managed to combine my love of theatre with my academic interest in drama, so too have I been able to combine a love of blues music with my academic background in African-American literature (one of my areas of concentration at Cornell). I have taught courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels in blues and literature (African-American, African-Canadian, Native-American and -Canadian), published articles, and been a frequent guest lecturer at blues conferences, including twice at the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
I stumbled into acting as an undergraduate, immediately fell in love with it, and was fortunate to arrive in Vancouver in the early 1970s just when professional theatre was taking off. I performed with nearly all Vancouver's major companies, including the Arts Club and Playhouse, the New Play Centre (now Playwrights Theatre Centre), and the now defunct City Stage and Westcoast Actors, as well as at the Frederic Wood and the old Dorothy Somerset Studio theatres on campus. As a middle-aged male character actor with an American accent, I was well positioned when Hollywood came north in the mid-1980s, and have managed to maintain a parallel career in film and television, appearing in over 200 movies and TV episodes, including a number of major film roles and recurring characters on series television. For a partial listing, go to www.imdb.com.