My name is Kyle Daniel Barrow and I am one of the Producing Directors at FRINGE. I have lived in Boise for the last 16 years with a few years here and there spent here and there. I have a love for Boise that is sometimes beyond my comprehension but time and time again when I have left The Treasure Valley I have felt its indescribable pull to return.
When I first migrated to Boise it was a temporary move to take on a position at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival as an assistant stage manager. I had been working in Salt Lake City at Pioneer Theater and the company stage manager asked me if I wanted to come with him to Idaho to work for the Summer. He painted a picture of Boise and The Festival that was beyond tempting and I applied for the job. A few weeks later I received a letter from Charles Fee, Artistic Director of The Idaho Shakespeare Festival, welcoming me, along with my contract, ready to sign and I signed it.
When I moved to Boise I immediately fell in love with the greenbelt, the river life, and the small town feel in this little city. I had never lived anywhere where so many people convened on a Friday night to celebrate life. The downtown was bustling with families, young professionals, college students, cowboys, progressives, metal heads, hippies, and punks and the Shakespeare Festival was just as my friend had described it: a beautiful amphitheater covered by the stars and a company of local actors who were more like family than working artists. Boise had me body, mind, and soul. I moved here permanently the following spring.
So much has happened to me and to Boise since that first summer. I became an Equity Stage Manager for The Shakespeare Festival only to realize that I never wanted to be a stage manager in the first place. I toured the entire state of Idaho twice performing with The Festival’s educational tour, Shakepsearience. I went back to school to finish a long overdue degree at Boise State University to become a director and while I was there I traveled with two productions to the regional level of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival and one production that traveled all the way to Washington D.C. to the Kennedy Center itself. I worked with several local companies made up of friends and loved ones including HomeGrown Theater, Green Zoo Collective and Frankly Burlesque. At the same time all of this was happening I worked tens of thousands of hours as a delivery driver, a line cook, a pizza cook, a carpenter, a painter, a call center representative, a farmer, and most importantly a father.
It has taken these experiences and so much more to bring me to this time and place and through these experiences and these years my love for this city has grown. I think that is why I have decided to start my own theatrical company here, because I owe something to Boise for everything it has done, both good and bad. I have grown with Boise.
About 11 years ago I met Rachel Reisenauer while we were both students at BSU. She has been through most of the things I have described in this letter. She has stood beside me not only as a fellow artist but as a very accomplished friend and Rachel is as responsible for this company as I ever could be.
One night she and I were doing “research” at The Red Room, a ridiculously perfect dive bar with blood red walls covered in the kind of hand painted black velvet pieces of art that you find in Tijuana and at thrift stores. Our research was in preparation for a HomgeGrown original script that was to be produced in the bar. The action of the play took place in the Sawtooth Mountains. I was at my wits end trying to figure out how to convince myself let alone an audience that we were in the mountains.
Rachel finally turned to me and said, “What is the forest of The Red Room? What does it look like?”
We researched, we designed, and together with a company of actors and technicians we created The Forest of The Red Room and it was magical.
I have let that question drive more directorial choices in my process than all the theory and lecture that I received in 13 years of classes and 10 years of professional work.
Look around you and see what is there. Don’t try to hide it. Don’t try to fight against it. Don’t try to inflict your ideas on it. Let it come from a base of reality and research. What does your world look like? Who inhabits your world? What are your world’s rules and how do they affect you? You must find your way from point A to point B and you can’t fake the path or the journey.
I see “The World of Boise” every day, the shadows of the past, the towering cranes building its future and I want to make sure that we don’t miss any of the small details: the things we drive past at 80 miles per hour, the things that we ignore while we eat on the patio of our favorite restaurant, the things that thundering rock shows and blockbuster movies drown out, the things that we choose not to see or to hear, and the things that we are too scared of to acknowledge.
“We are a theatrical production company that works to facilitate the voices of the disenfranchised and to secure a place in our community for their stories.”
This is our mission.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Dear Possible Audience Member—
My name is Ilana Lydia and I am the author of Droppin’ Johns. I worked with Kyle Daniel Barrow many years ago while I was in grad school at Utah State. He was always a joy to work with, and his style of acting caused me to grow as a director.
A few months ago, I sent Kyle a show I had just put on here in Phoenix in May. Droppin’ Johns is an intensely personal script, and at the same time, one which cannot be considered fully realized until it has a cast and audience. You see, it ends with the central actress addressing the audience directly, and much of what she has to say was not written by me at all. The content of the play will be different in each production, as the actress shapes the content based on her own life experiences.
In its first incarnation, I was both playwright and director. This was a pleasure to produce, but it did feel a little like cheating. I knew my own influences, had a definite idea from the beginning about where I wanted it to head. My actors and design team were great, and challenged me every step of the way. But it was still an act of me, from me.
With Fringe’s production, I’m looking forward to hearing it on the outside of my head, as it were. I am honored and humbled to be working with friends on this emotionally challenging piece.
Thank you for considering coming to see the production!