KYLE A. THOMAS
Scholar | Director | Actor
"Theatre requires the interrogation of that relationship between performance and audience--an act in transcending space to promote the sacred bonds found in community gathered together to glean meaning from story and action."
St. Louis Stories | The Station Theatre (2017)
THE LIFE LIVED THEATRICALLY
Kyle specializes in theatre history, directing theory, and methodologies that champion theatre as an act of community-building in the 21st century. Taking cues from the many facets of theatre history and scholarship as well as building upon a career as an actor and director, Kyle has developed his theory of a Theatre of the Commons, asserting that performance can facilitate, examine, and question how individuals navigate shared space in familiar--though often inequitable--ways; altogether revealing the broader story of a community/city/region as a conversation with its own history of performed identities reinforced within space. Building upon devising techniques learned as a part of studying with Anne Bogart (SITI Company) and Struan Leslie (Royal Shakespeare Company), and working from the foundational dialectal techniques of Bertolt Brecht's Epic Theatre and Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, Kyle continues to redefine theatre as a necessary means of community engagement in an ever-increasing digitalized world.
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF THEATRE
BA/BS Theatre Program Coordinator
MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY
Courses Taught: Script Analysis | Tools of the Actor | Voice & Movement | Directing | Dramaturgy | Dramatic Theory & Criticism
Directing: Comedy of Errors (2019) | Everybody (2021) | Much Ado About Nothing (2021) | Waiting for Lefty (2023)
ASSOCIATE ADJUNCT PROFESSOR OF THEATRE
UNIVERSITY OF INDIANAPOLIS
Courses Taught: Introduction to Theatre | Introduction to Acting | Speech for the Stage | Script Analysis
Directing: It's a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play (2018, pictured)
INSTRUCTOR OF THEATRE & FILM
Courses Taught: Theatre Appreciation | Theatre History | Voice & Diction | Film Appreciation | Film History
Directing: Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom (2015, pictured) | How I Became a Pirate (2013) | Mister Paradise (2011)
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, URBANA-CHAMPAIGN
Courses Taught: Introduction to Theatre | Broadway Musicals & American Culture | Script Analysis | Theatre History
Directing: Viva Verdi! A Night of Italian Opera (2017, pictured)
RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS
THEATRE OF THE COMMONS
The Theatre of the Commons is inspired by research efforts in medieval theatre history; wherein monastic familiarity with Classical forms of drama and the use of applied theatricality within the pedagogy of the monastery and wider monastic communities work to inform liturgical experimentation in medieval Europe. Thus, any control, commentary, and/or distribution of performance encoded within liturgical manuscripts must be considered for efforts in sharing political commentary and communal agency that is identifiable only within a performative frame. This argument that early liturgical performance was made malleable through the communal contestation of its social, political, and religious functions defines a medieval theatre that shares much with the social issues theatre and community-based performance practices of today.
(Pictured: The Play About the Antichrist, University of Illinois, 2013)
The Play about the Antichrist (Ludus de Antichristo) was composed around 1160 at the imperial Bavarian abbey of Tegernsee, at a critical point in the power-struggle between the papacy and Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. This new translation and commentary reveals this drama to be strikingly representative of the role that theatrical performance played in shaping contemporary politics, diplomacy, and public opinion. It also shows how drama functioned as an integral component of the educational curricula of elite monastic institutions like Tegernsee, where political administrators and diplomats were trained, and how performance served as a common, connective lingua franca among monasteries in twelfth-century Bavaria.
In this new translation, Carol Symes provides the first full and faithful rendering of the play’s dynamic language, maintaining the meter, rhyme scheme, and stage directions of the Latin original and restoring the liturgical elements embedded in the text. Kyle A. Thomas, whose fully-staged production tested the theatricality of this translation, provides a new historical and dramaturgical analysis of the play’s rich interpretive and performative possibilities.
Only verse translation in any modern language
Only modern edition to restore liturgical material referenced in the sole medieval text
Enriched by new historical research that frames the play in its contemporary political and manuscript contexts