Padraic Lillis, artistic director of The Farm Theater, will be Centre College’s 2018 Visiting Humana Scholar.
An accomplished director and playwright, Lillis will perform his one-person show titled “Hope You Get To Eleven or What Are We Going To Do About Sallie?”, a play discussing the topic of suicide, on Friday, Sept. 7 at 8 p.m. in Weisiger Theatre. In addition, Lillis will be directing the College’s Family Weekend production, “I Have Something To Say,” Sept. 19-22.
“I was a guest artist at a university last fall  directing ‘A Christmas Carol,’” Lillis says in a statement about the play. “During the rehearsal process, a student, who was charming, witty and seemingly comfortable with herself, committed suicide over the Thanksgiving break. It was heartbreaking. No one saw it coming.
“I also have a relationship to the issue, having battled with depression at various times in my life,” he added. “I don’t talk about it, and I don’t think people in my life know I battle with it. I, like that student, appear as if everything is OK. If you look at my social media persona, you’d see that I’m running a theater company, I am an award-winning director and my profession allows me to travel to fascinating and beautiful places.
“However, that is clearly not the whole story,” Lillis continued. “We need to create an environment where it is not only safe but acceptable to talk about things that are difficult and not necessarily glamorous to share. The aspiration for the show is to inspire conversation on the topic of suicide; to invite people to share their relationship to the issue and/or have compassion for people that have a relationship to suicide.”
This past year, Lillis was inducted into the Indie Theater Hall of Fame. In 2013, he was named an Indie Theater Person of the Year, awarded the New York Innovative Theater Award for Outstanding Direction and named New York International Fringe Festival’s Outstanding Director.
Lillis’ plays are published with Dramatists Play Services and Indie Theater Now. He was awarded the Dayton Hudson Distinguished Artist Fellowship and a Drama League Directing Fellowship. He also served as chairman of the education committee for the internationally recognized Labyrinth Theater Company, where he designed and oversaw all of their educational programming. In addition, Lillis taught with NYU’s Dramatic Writing Program for over a decade.
The Humana Visiting Scholar program was funded through a gift to Centre from the Humana Foundation, a philanthropic branch of Louisville-based healthcare corporation Humana Inc. Previous Humana Scholars at the College have included Ayana Mathis, Wendell Berry, Joel Pett and Silas House.
IF YOU GO
Humana Visiting Scholar: Padraic Lillis
“Hope You Get To Eleven or What Are We Going To Do About Sallie?”
Sept. 7, 8 p.m.
Family Weekend production
“I Have Something To Say,”
Lillis will take nine students through the process of writing and crafting their own 10-to 12-minute solo performance pieces.
by Centre College News
September 5, 2018