On Being a One-Eyed, One-Armed Director

060313-MAG-38-5-oneeyed_michaela-MainI recently wrote for Theatre Bay Area magazine about my first experience directing a play after my stroke:

In June 2008, at the age of 36, I had a stroke that paralyzed the left side of my body and destroyed the vision in my right eye. I could not bend or lift my left arm, open my left hand or take a step with my left leg. I spent most of my day in a wheelchair. I was sure that my career as an emerging theatre director and producer had been destroyed as well.

When my stroke hit, I had been in New York for almost 10 years. I had my own theatre company, Flying Fig Theatre, which I cofounded with Heather Ondersma. I had directed or produced eight plays for Flying Fig, and my production of “Shiloh Rules” by Doris Baizley had received a favorable review in the New York Times. For my day job, I did fundraising at New York Theatre Workshop, which allowed me to meet many of the most creative people in the business and watch them developing their work.