© 2020 by Michael Shutt

  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Instagram Icon
  • Grey YouTube Icon

I have spent my life making theatre.  I got my BA in Theatre at Kalamazoo College, my MFA in Acting at UCLA, and I am a graduate of The British American Drama Academy in London, England. 

 

I have spent the last 25 years as a working actor, director, and producer of Theatre in Los Angeles having worked with such companies as Celebration Theatre, Ghost Road, Son of Semele,  Anteaus, and most notably, my artistic home… Moving Arts. At Moving Arts, I originated countless roles in World Premiere Plays including the role of Ellery in the LA Weekly Awards Production of the Year, Song of Extinction not to mention over 500 performances in the unique immersive theatrical event The Car Plays. I directed and produced many shows, co-created and facilitated MADlab: Moving Arts’ nine-month-long New Play Development Program (now in it’s 7th year), and even served as Managing Director for a couple of years.

 

I have spent almost 30 years passionately developing and telling other people’s stories.  Then suddenly in 2015, I realized I had a story of my own to tell.

 

After a series of inexplicable strokes, I found myself in the ICU not able to see, walk, or speak clearly.  None of my friends or family had ever experienced a stroke and none of us understood the implications and ramifications.  Finding myself getting frustrated at people not understanding me, I realized that I had to tell the story of not only having and surviving a stroke, but the rebirth and rise from the ashes that comes from refusing to give into one.

If I was going to tell this story, I was going to do it the only way I knew how...theatrically!  If there was a reason I had dedicated my life to developing new theatrical works, this was it!

Laying in the hospital bed, my biggest fear was that I would never act again. I didn’t know if I could memorize lines anymore, I didn’t know if I could make my way around a stage, and I didn’t know if anyone would ever want to work with what looked to be a pretty big liability ever again.  So I did what anyone would do in the face of fear...I dove into it. One thing I learned growing up as a kid on the beach...if a waveforms behind you, rather than letting it crash over you, it’s much easier to dive into it headfirst and swim through it. So that’s what I did..I dove in headfirst and decided if I was going to write this as a play, that I would write it as a one-man show for me to perform. 

 

This is how I began writing A LESSON IN SWIMMING.