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Published: Wednesday, 2/22/2006

Bowling Green: BGSU veteran downplays achievement


BOWLING GREEN - Directing 100 plays might sound like a major milestone to some but not to F. Scott Regan, who's spent much of his life centered on the stage.

"This is not an unheard-of feat or anything. We just thought it was a good chance for a celebration," Mr. Regan said. "It's a nice opportunity for people to celebrate and for past participants to come and enjoy the show and celebrate."

After tomorrow night's 7:30 p.m. performance of All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten presented by Horizon Youth Theatre at St. Thomas Moore Parish, a reception-celebration while be held at the church.

With this show under his belt, Mr. Regan, a professor of theater and film at Bowling Green State University, easily makes the mark of 100 - if not more - shows he's directed over more than three decades.

"I directed my first play in New York when I was still a college student" at Albany State now known as the University at Albany.

While doing his undergraduate work, he began directing summer youth theater.

As a graduate student at the University of Northern Iowa, he also directed community theater and university theater productions.

For the past 24 years, Mr. Regan has worked at BGSU, and in 1998 he co-founded Horizon after recruiting young actors to perform in a university production of A Christmas Carol.

"We had a really good time [working with the kids, and when we finished we said, 'What are we going to do next?' " He and his colleague at that time, Jo Beth Gonzalez, formed the community youth theater group.

Open to all area youths, the group is an outreach program of the BGSU department of theater and is supported by Bowling Green Community Foundation and Bowling Green Parks Foundation, Mr. Regan said.

The drama club presents two to three plays a year, some dealing with heavy issues. "I've always found children's audiences to be just as interested in issues as adult. ... We've done plays that have dealt with death, divorce, with prejudice, so we've never approached it as a simple-minded project," Mr. Regan said.

During his career he has found that working with young actors is in many ways more similar than different from working with more-seasoned adults.

"I think the directing is the same. It's just you have a more abbreviated form of working. The attention span is shorter, the vocabulary the audience is familiar with is shorter," the director said.

At BGSU, Mr. Regan's main area of research and publication is child drama.

He directs a college traveling troupe that reaches about 10,000 children each year, performing in area schools.

In his tenure, he's taught courses on directing, play script analysis, graduate courses in theater for young audiences, and introduction to theater.

Having directed so many plays - including originals he's penned himself - one would think it is difficult for Mr. Regan to choose his favorite production.

Not so.

"Right now, this is my favorite," he said, referring to Horizon's upcoming show. "It might sound like a cliche, but I have fond memories of all of them except one or two. ... You really fall in love with each one of them when you're working on it."

All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten also will be performed Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at St. Thomas Moore Parish on Thurstin Street.

Tickets cost $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors and are available at the door.

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