Stage

Stagestruck: Vincent Dowling, 1929-2013

Our critic remembers a consummate man of the theater.

Comments (1)
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

When I first met Vincent Dowling in 1990, the year he founded the Miniature Theatre of Chester, he regaled me with tales of his early life as an itinerant actor, doing “fit-ups”—one-night stands on makeshift stages—in small towns all over his native Ireland. The thrill of that grassroots adventure still lit up his face. In fact, the thrill of making live theater, in venues lowly and grand, never left him. When he died this month, the theater world, from the Valley to the international stage, lost an inspiring talent and fervent champion.

Actor, director, producer and tireless advocate, Vincent was a consummate man of the theater, not just for his many accomplishments but for his bred-in-the-bone passion for the art, the actors and the audience. And his accomplishments were many indeed.

He came to the Valley in what he laughingly called his “one-quarter retirement,” straight off a stint as artistic director of the Abbey, Ireland’s national theater, where he had begun his professional career four decades earlier. In a theater life shared between the U.S. and Ireland, he led the Abbey company on world tours of his signature production, J.M. Synge’s Playboy of the Western World, and directed the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Cleveland, where he nurtured the talent of a 20-year-old Tom Hanks, who still credits Vincent with launching his career.

Vincent simply couldn’t help making theater. When he saw the Chester Town Hall, with its cozy auditorium and tiny stage, he immediately decided it would be a splendid place to fit up a professional summer theater, notwithstanding its ”miniature” capacity and out-of-the-way locale. From the outset, the theater specialized in small-scale plays with big themes and literate scripts—a vital niche that Vincent’s successor, Byam Stevens, has continued to fill at what is now the Chester Theatre Company.

As Stevens said recently, “Vincent believed in bringing theater to the people. He was as happy performing in a library [or] church as he was performing at the White House—which he did three times—or the Abbey.” His last major production, The Rivalry, about the Lincoln-Douglas debates, was performed in schools and at the Massachusetts State House as well as in Chester and Off-Broadway.

Robert Freedman, who worked closely with Vincent in recent years, remembers that “he made you start to believe in yourself by his sheer presence, his encouragement and support.” That inclusive, enthusiastic presence, wrapped in a charismatic Irish charm, fueled Vincent Dowling’s lifelong achievements and define his lasting influence.•

Contact Chris Rohmann at StageStruck@crocker.com.

 

Comments (1)
Post a Comment

I’m excited to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site. I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working, great job.

SECRET MONEY SYSTEM - SECRET MONEY SYSTEM REVIEW - SECRET MONEY SYSTEM SCAM - FREE MONEY SYSTEM - FREE MONEY SYSTEM REVIEW - FREE MONEY SYSTEM SCAM - CASH CLOUD COMMISSIONS - CASH CLOUD COMMISSIONS REVIEW - CASH CLOUD COMMISSIONS SCAM - INSTANT INCOME APP - INSTANT INCOME APP REVIEW - INSTANT INCOME APP SCAM - SECRET WEALTH CLUB - SECRET WEALTH CLUB REVIEW - SECRET WEALTH CLUB SCAM - TOKYO BOT - TOKYO BOT REVIEW - TOKYO BOT SCAM - BINARY TRADING BLUEPRINT - BINARY TRADING BLUEPRINT REVIEW - BINARY TRADING BLUEPRINT SCAM - TRADE SNIPER - TRADE SNIPER REVIEW - TRADE SNIPER SCAM - THE 1 PERCENT CLUB - THE 1 PERCENT CLUB REVIEW - THE 1 PERCENT CLUB SCAM - THE $100K CLUB - THE $100K CLUB REVIEW - THE $100K CLUB SCAM - 7 FIGURE TRAVELER - 7 FIGURE TRAVELER REVIEW - 7 FIGURE TRAVELER SCAM - BINARY MATRIX PRO - BINARY MATRIX PRO REVIEW - BINARY MATRIX PRO SCAM - GERMAN BINARY SYSTEM - GERMAN BINARY SYSTEM REVIEW - GERMAN BINARY SYSTEM SCAM - FAST INCOME CLUB - FAST INCOME CLUB REVIEW - FAST INCOME CLUB SCAM - INSTANT TRADING PROFITS - INSTANT TRADING PROFITS REVIEW - INSTANT TRADING PROFITS SCAM - MOBILE MONEY CODE - MOBILE MONEY CODE REVIEW - MOBILE MONEY CODE SCAM - EMOBILE CODE - EMOBILE CODE REVIEW - EMOBILE CODE SCAM

Posted by Julia on 7.24.14 at 0:17
Comment:

Name:

Password:

New User/Guest?

Find it Here:
keyword:
search type:
search in:

« Previous   |   Next »
Print Email RSS feed

Topical and Timeless
“What Excites You”
A day in the life of New Century Theatre
First A Dancer
Rythea Lee combines music, dance and drama in Don’t Be A Dick .
Stagestruck: Anne and Julius
Shakespeare & Company compacts Caesar and imagines Hathaway.
New Comedy 2-nite
StageStruck: Love and Care
At Chester, theater that embraces complexity
The Emily Variations
Breaking Boundaries