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The Independent EyeChronicle

Welcome to our scrapbook of the Eye’s 30+ years. As varied as our work has been, we feel its spine has held firm. And the chronicle continues.

Highlighted titles link to archive pages that include photos, notes and scripts. See also our list of available scripts by category.

2015-2016

Toured King Lear to Denver CO; Norfolk VA; Towson MD; Philadelphia, Lancaster, Bethlehem & Bloomsburg PA; Brooklyn NY; Portsmouth NH; Milwaukee WI, West Liberty IA; and Sebastopol, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Blue Lake & Caspar CA: 28 showings. Workshops at Franklin & Marshall College, Towson University, and UW/Milwaukee. Bishop & Fuller’s novel Realists published by WordWorkers Press. Continued our weekly postings on DamnedFool.com and sales of Co-Creation and Mythic Plays, along with a new expanded edition of Rash Acts. Performances at San Francisco’s Fury Factory Festival.

2014-2015

Performance of Gifts at theatres & house concerts in CA, PA, ME, MA, IN, WI, and at the Ko Festival, along with a week of Ko workshops. Heavy work throughout the season on King Lear, premiered at Emerald Tablet Gallery, San Francisco, and toured to San Diego Puppetry Festival and Occidental Center for the Arts, 27 performances for season, and 28 puppets brought to birth.

2013-2014

Performances of Gifts in house concerts in CA, MD, DC, PP, NJ, NY & MA and at theatres in CA, PA, VA & NH, total of 28 showings. Short pieces at puppet slams. Started work on staging of King Lear. Final draft of novel version of Long Shadow. Began weekly publication on DamnedFool.com blog site.

2012-2013

Creation and premiere of Gifts, a presentation for house concerts, with 8 local showings, along with preparations for touring. Four performances from Rash Acts and Hands Up! for puppet slams. Finished screenplay Willing. Finished video editing of Frankenstein. Several readings of Co-Creation. CB open heart surgery, with excellent reviews.

2011-2012

Published our memoir Co-Creation: Fifty Years in the Making, with readings up and down California. Produced Frankenstein in collaboration with 6th St. Playhouse in Santa Rosa for 18 performances, then edited a DVD for distribution. Revived our monthly EyeSight newsletter. Finished second screenplay, Salvage, and first novel, Realists, both now making the rounds. Several performances of sketches at puppet slams in Vallejo, Arcata, & San Francisco.

2010-2011

Spreading in multiple directions. New collection of puppet pieces Hands Up! presented in Sebastopol, Occidental and Arcata, later in San Francisco’s FuryFactory Festival. Pro bono advisory collaboration with Lone Wolf Tribe’s Hobo Grunt Cycle in Brooklyn and San Francisco, and part of a delegation to a theatre festival in Hungary. Played two sketches for a square dance party on New Year’s Day, and saw two of our sketches performed, enthusiastically, at Tamalpais High School. Finished the final draft of a screenplay, Willing, and started a new one. Heavy work all spring on construction and rehearsal of next fall’s Frankenstein. And the first reading of our nearly-finished memoir Co-Creation, with joyous response, at our 50th anniversary party.

2009-2010

An enormous new puppet production, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, in collaboration with Sonoma County Repertory, running in Sebastopol and touring high schools in the county, and producing a dvd. To a national puppetry conference in Atlanta, a week of diverse experiences, and performing our piece “Five Minutes” at a late-night cabaret; and attended an actress friend’s wedding in Peru. Our play The Green Bird was performed at Suffolk University. We gave a talk via Skype to a class at Auburn University in Alabama that uses our book Rash Acts, and conducted a two-week story-making workshop with MFA students at Dell’Arte International. We began writing a screenplay, Willing, with our friend Arturo Castillo, and also our own memoir, intended for publication on our 50th anniversary. Elizabeth performed in 6th St. Playhouse’s The Chairs, and CB was elected president of the Bay Area Puppeteers Guild, coordinated their new website design and catalogued their library.

2008-2009

Fall is devoted to beginning a full year’s work on The Tempest and undertaking a weekly blog on its evolution. Meantime, built 30 puppets for Rash Acts, a collection of five puppet pieces, which we staged for six showings in January and two more in Arcata. Local performances of old sketches at “Doomsday Cabaret,” “The Love Salon,” a couple of Chautauquas, Pupptry Guild meetings, a Network of Ensemble Theatres gathering, and arts centers. And our first-ever gallery exhibit: 7 of our puppets as part of a “Playful Art” show at Aurora Colors Gallery in Petaluma. Elizabeth journeyed eastward as a guest actress in Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble’s staging of The Clean House.

Thirty-fifth season: 20 performances and a huge amount of work.

2007-2008

Our “Mythic Kitchen” ensemble begins monthly labs, leading to an in-studio showing of The Shadow Queen, featuring five gorgeous mythic puppets and one squalid little duck. In the spring, we stage an entirely new production of Descent of the Goddess Inanna, with all-new puppets and a cast of eight. We adapt and direct Maeterlinck’s The Blue Bird for Cinnabar Theater’s youth program plus teaching a summer acting intensive, present more Dream House showings, play Freeway at our regional Puppetry Guild meeting, plus miscellaneous duo sketches at house parties. CB attends the National Conference of the Puppeteers of America, starts learning Final Cut Express for video editing, and produces DVDs of The Shadow Queen and Inanna. And we complete a new play, Akedah: The Binding, to send book rate out into the world’s dramatic repertoire. A strong sense that our refocus on puppetry is entry into a significant new phase of the Eye’s life.

Thirty-fourth season: Two new plays, two new productions, 30 events plus many workshops.

2006-2007

Four monthly episodes of the Hitchhikers’ Cauldron, then the decision to put it to bed after two seasons. We staged Ragnarok with Shotgun Players for two months in a Berkeley amphitheatre, frequently sleeping in the abandoned Radio Shack that was their rehearsal studio. Dream House opened for runs in San Francisco and Sonoma County, then began California touring. CB taught a two-week acting intensive at Cinnabar Theatre, then staged our extreme adaptation of Carlo Gozzi’s The Green Bird with Cinnabar’s Young Rep. Various micro-performances at local arts salons, benefits & parties. Started work with our son Eli on redesign of website. Chronic soul crisis, a sense that our work lacks focus, and the beginnings of redefining our mission toward mask/puppet styles of “visionary” theatre—wrestling with what we mean by that. Bishop & Fuller both on Social Security & Medicare—feeling unimaginably secure and caring.

Thirty-third season. Three new plays, 63 events, incipient launch of a new website and a renewed vision.

2005-2006

Ten episodes of the Hitchhikers’ Cauldron. Staged our new play Drake’s Drum in collaboration with Sonoma County Repertory and The Hobbit with Cinnabar Theater’s Young Rep. First work-in-progress showings of Elizabeth’s solo show Dream House at Sonoma County Rep and Exit Theatre’s DivaFest. First workshop with Shotgun Players on a projected new project. Six programs of our radio series Hitchhiking off the Map, but finally we made the decision to put it to bed after 3.5 years and 94 episodes. Workshops with Berkeley’s Shotgun Players developing Ragnarok, a new play based on Norse myth.

Thirty-second season. One new production, one collaboration on a modern classic, two shows in the womb. 42 events & 6 one-hour radio shows.

2004-2005

Regular monthly drives to Nevada City for workshops with the Foothill Theatre ensemble, and staging a collaborative production, Long Shadow, based on a local murder case. Began a monthly performance celebration, the Hitchhikers’ Cabaret Cauldron. Intense immersion in radio: 12 hour-long episodes of Hitchhiking off the Map.

Thirty-first season. One new production and a new community gathering spot. 47 events plus 12 radio shows.

2003-2004

Heavy writing year. Season opens with Survival Tips for the Plague Years, dark storytelling evenings by Conrad Bishop at Sonoma County Repertory. January in Boston creating a new show, Lost City, with the Company One ensemble, then home for Hot Fudge with our Hitchhikers Ensemble. Monthly visits to Foothill Theatre in Nevada City, improvising with their actors, led to staged reading of yet another new play, Long Shadow, which will be seen on their mainstage a year hence. Side jaunts to Northwestern University for a residency, to an artists’ salon in Healdsburg, to a great fundraiser in El Sobrante, and our two ancient ladies from the Burger King showed up to do stand-up comedy at a local alternative-newspaper reception. Hitchhiking off the Map completes its second year and transforms into a one-hour monthly show, on 12 stations by season’s end.

Thirtieth season, created four new plays, 51 events, and a lotta radio shows.

2002-2003

First performances by our new ten-person group, The Hitchhikers Ensemble, in Code Red. Lightning tour to Wisconsin for college residencies, then a week at Western Washington University collaborating in the staging of Rash Acts. A full year of weekly Hitchhiking off the Map half-hours, and a series of Hitchhikers’ Rallies raising money and friends for the radio series in Oakland, Boonville, Pt. Reyes and Healdsburg. Broadcasts of specials Nativity and Descent of Inanna.

And our offspring, who grew up on tour with us, are at new life stations: our son moving from Brooklyn to San Francisco, our daughter finally getting legal status to live in Italy.

Twenty-ninth season: 22 events, one new play, 50 radio show episodes, and a burgeoning commitment to developing a strong presence in the Bay Area centered around Hitchhiking.

2001-2002

Restaging of Descent of Inanna at Spreckels Arts Center a few miles down the road: full houses, standing ovations. Week’s residency with CAST Theatre in Hood River, OR, creating new work with a wonderful group of local actors, and performing Family Snapshots. Performances for Unitarian fellowships, community colleges, a neo-pagan gathering, and a funky arts center in Berkeley. Loveplay produced by Jewel Box Theatre in L.A., Rash Acts by Company One in Boston.

In April, we launched Hitchhiking off the Map on public radio stations in Northern California: KPFA, KRCB, KWMR, and KZYX: learning new equipment, building a recording studio in the garage, and delving into the world for dozens of interviews to supplement the audiodramatic elements of the show. And in May, simultaneously, a new commissioned play for Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, Immigrants.

Twenty-eighth season: 50 events, one new play, one revival, new radio series. 1,662 people live, thousands on the radio.

2000-2001

Summer weeks of performance at Canadian Fringe Festivals in Winnipeg and Victoria—great sense of community and celebration. Extended residencies at Genesee Community College and Juniata College, creating Realists and a new version of Family Snapshots, and revival of Inanna at Wichita State mid-winter. Warm reception of Hitchhiking in three-week run at local arts center. Quick hop back to New Jersey and Staten Island for shows and classes, then home to finish renovating our studio and to host our first three Bardic Theatre workshops in our new space.

Twenty-seventh season: 57 events, touring 4 shows to CA, PA, NJ, KS, NY, and OR, plus Canada. Created one new play, revised two others, and renovated a new working studio.

1999-2000

The world turns upside down: we move to Sebastopol, California. We premiere Hitchhiking off the Map, a new revue, at The Noh Space in San Francisco and return to Philadelphia for an extended residency with three high schools, creating an evening of improvisation, then two magical weeks of Mating Cries at our first ensemble, Theatre X. More magic at a cluster of Unitarian churches. Heavy work finding a house and organizing our office.

Twenty-sixth season: 43 events, one new play, three shows on tour. Played to 1,400 select human beings. And a new seacoast.

1998-1999

Extended run of Mating Cries at Theater of the First Amendment, Fairfax, VA. Mounted two new touring shows, with first runs in Old City: Family Snapshots and Descent of the Goddess Inanna—with extraordinary collaborators in experimental working relationship. Community/school tour of Family Snapshots.

Festival performances included Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Dell’Arte’s Mad River Festival in California, and Celebration of Eros. Broadcast of new radio documentary The Golden Venture on “Soundprint” and Weavers on WHYY, Philadelphia. Our 25th Anniversary Micro-Gala put us over the top to match a foundation grant and establish The Independent Eye Tour Fund.

Twenty-fifth season: 123 events, 2 new plays, a third on tour, and a new radio documentary. Played to 11,794.

1997-1998

The Charge of the Light Brigade: produced three new shows—Once Vaudeville, Mating Cries, and Frankenstein; a new high school play, Success; a new radio series, Weavers; redistributed our three past radio series; continued Genesis work, including a high school version of Frankenstein. All shows continued in tour repertory.

Decision to prepare for an eventual move to California.

Twenty-fourth season: 91 events, 4 new plays, 1 new radio series finished (at last!). Played to 11,702 souls.

1996-1997
Revival of Mabel’s Dreams in Old City, then revival of The Chimes, and new Genesis-created play, Hammers, first with grad students from Towson State Univ. at Baltimore Theatre Project, then new staging in Old City. Community workshop with Norris Square Civic Assn. and Playback Philadelphia. A Friend from High School launches our renewed high school touring, with 27 shows, trips through metal detectors at 8 a.m., and electric response.

Louis’ Lottery at Open Stage of Harrisburg. Workshops at a sacred-sexuality retreat, Body Sacred. Editing on our Weavers radio series continues being edited, now only a year overdue. Major funding from the Pew Trust’s Philadelphia Theatre Initiative. Heavy work on Frankenstein, to be produced in collaboration with Touchstone Theatre, and new plays Pagans and Gas Wars. Summer in California.

Twenty-third season: 107 events, two revivals, one new play in two different productions, two shows on tour.

1995-1996

Dividing Lines and Mine Alone at Old City, low attendance for both. Pilot high school tour of A Friend from High School, a play about AIDS created for The Franklin Institute, very successful. Several touring gigs for Louis’ Lottery, but sponsors don’t see the homeless as a big draw. Lebanon Valley College sponsors national distribution of Family Snapshots, broadcast on over 65 public radio stations. Extensive interviews for new documentary radio series, Weavers. Very active work in the Genesis Ensemble on Hammers.

Twenty-second season: 48 events, one new play, one revival, two touring shows, and a lot on the airwaves.

1994-1995

Remounting of Marie Antoinette and Loveplay in Old City, also Joseph Sorrentino’s Louis’s Lottery and a long-delayed The Shadow Saver—then transferred to Theater for the New City in New York. New version of Dividing Lines with students at Agnes Irwin School. Touring Macbeth for runs at Open Stage of Harrisburg and Touchstone Theatre.

Twenty-first season: 111 events, including 3 new productions, two revivals, one show on tour.

1993-1994

Revival of Macbeth for extended run at City Theatre in Pittsburgh. Co-production of Marie Antoinette with Jean Cocteau Rep in New York. Conrad to Theater of the First Amendment to direct premiere of Bishop & Fuller’s music drama Carrier. Macbeth in Philly, snowed out.

Creation of new version of Dividing Lines with students at University of the Arts. Final tour performances of Reality: Friend or Foe? and videotaping it for national distribution. Flew to San Diego for workshops at San Diego State Univ. and attending their production of Rash Acts. Finished our radio series of 65 90-second dramas, Family Snapshots.

Twentieth season: 107 events, 3 revivals, two new productions out of town, one new video, one new public radio series, one blizzard.

1992-1993

Decision to move to Philadelphia, spelunking through lofts and assorted edifices, finally spotting the Ideal Space. Exhausting fall, daily trips to Annville to finish studio work on Tapdancer radio series. Rash Acts at Theater for New City in New York. Launching of a drama on educational reform for high school faculties, Reality: Friend or Foe?

Three months of renovation for the new Old City Stage Works, opening in April with Rash Acts. New version of Dividing Lines for Germantown Academy. Enormous success with Loveplay, actors from cross-country, plus dog, living at the theatre.

Nineteenth season: 88 shows, three new productions, a radio series, and a new artistic home.

1991-1992

Fall on the West Coast, with development of Tapdancer at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Mark Taper Forum. Dividing Lines for Franklin & Marshall College “Day of Dialogue,” and residency at West Virginia University. Rash Acts at Shubin Theatre in Philadelphia and Third Step Theatre in New York. Tapdancer opens for hit runs in Lancaster and Philadelphia, and Mark Twain is revived at Lancaster’s beautiful Green Room Theatre. Two-week workshop and staged reading of new piece, Loveplay, in New York.

Eighteenth season: 57 gigs, two new shows, two revivals.

1990-1991

Our first year, after many, without a theatre, but with a good working studio in ex-candy factory, opening Rash Acts in that same Unitarian church basement from 1977. A Tennessee Williams year, directing Camino Real with students at Franklin & Marshall, then Out Cry as co-production with Bloomsburg Theatre, opening on the eve of the Gulf War. Beside Herself at Bethlehem’s Touchstone Theatre, then to Seattle’s New City Theatre for Tapdancer workshops.

Seventeenth season: Two new shows, 2 revivals, 60 performances, one major war.

1989-1990

A season of solo shows. Mark Twain Revealed at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre; Mabel’s Dreams, with Camilla Schade; Pamela Hadas’ Beside Herself: Pocahontas to Patty Hearst—first musical collaboration with Michele Mercure. Action News to Theatre X in Milwaukee. Cutback on home schedule results in declining revenues, confirming our slow, implacable decision to leave the Eye Theatre Works, selling it to our colleague Camilla’s new-born Co-Motion Theatre.

Sixteenth season: Three new shows, 79 events, and a horizon tinted either with sunrise or sunset.

1988-1989

Overwhelming activity: Heart’s Desire, The Lorelei, Late Lite News Comedy Works, Billy Bishop Goes to War, Gameshow, and Limitations. Crossroads Music Series; Spring Festival of Words with Denise Levertov, Dan Epstein, Alicia Ostriker and Ai. Radio series The Want Ads wins NFCB Silver Reel Award. Video of The Man with All the Answers. Action News in New York and at Movement Theatre International—a show with no movement whatever.

Fifteenth season: 126 events, 6 shows and a radio series. A go-for-broke season succeeds in doing precisely that.

1987-1988

Sea Marks and The New Comedy Works are big hits. Bishop/Fuller’s The Chimes, commissioned by Fulton Opera House as a Christmas show, is roundly condemned, as is Action News at the Eye. Amazed, a modern commedia, redeems us, but the box office begins to tell us that we have scant local audience for the work we see as central to the Eye.

Fourteenth season: 83 events, 4 new shows. Cutback on touring, due to the economic boom destroying arts budgets.

1986-1987

Kent Brown’s Valentines & Killer Chili, with college touring; musical revue Jacques Brel; first late-night improvisational Comedy Works; Sidney Sulkin’s poetic No More to Prophesy. Poet Series includes Etheridge Knight, Alicia Ostriker, Philip Schultz, Ted Enslin, and Ed Ochester.

Inauguration of Eye Lab to explore new work. Radio broadcast of Action News on WXPN, Philadelphia, and performance for National Radio Drama Conference. Critical reception of Bishop & Fuller’s Marie Antoinette—a huge investment of time and pride—keeps half our subscribers from attending and plants doubts in us about the viability of our work within the institution we’re hell-bent on creating.

Thirteenth season: 109 events, including 5 new productions, 11 guest performances, a new radio piece, and completion of renovations on the Eye Theatre Works.

1985-1986

Staging of Harvey Pekar’s comic-book American Splendor, Sam Shepard’s True West, Camilla Schade’s Spaces. Conrad Bishop directs Lancaster staging of Hedda Gabler, then to Milwaukee for Full Hookup, to Louisville for Smitty’s News. First Eye Poets Series: Pamela Hadas, Rikki Lights, Dan Epstein, Len Roberts. Families video wins APGA National Film Fest. Endless board meetings on the Advancement Plan lead to near-resolve to stage it all as a musical.

Twelfth season: 112 performances, 2 premieres, 2 revivals, 4 guest artists. Theatre stage and seats installed, with upgraded lighting and sound systems.

1984-1985

Soul-searching put on three-year hold, first by raising $20,000 in three weeks for down payment, secondly by NEA Advancement Grant. Commencement of “forced growth”: theatre renovation, huge fund-raising effort. New creative work becomes a bothersome (though strangely persistent) hobby. Camilla Schade’s Restaurant, co-production of Dark of the Moon at the Fulton, revival of Macbeth, and Under Milk Wood.

Bishops win NEA Playwriting Fellowship. Le Cabaret co-produced at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre, Macbeth at The Painted Bride. Gala performance, Dreamers, at Fulton Opera House, feeding throngs with catered loaves and fishes.

Eleventh season: 122 events. 4 new shows, 1 revival, 3 guest artists. Touring 6 shows. Frantic obsession with money. Vital new ensemble member: a 64K Macintosh computer.

1983-1984

Camilla Schade’s first show as a director-choreographer, Moves, a huge success, likewise Waiting for Godot, likewise Pat Lemay, Camilla Schade, Elizabeth and Johanna Bishop in Summer Sisters. Season’s successes undone by debacle of a grating, under-rehearsed revue, The Want Ads. Poetry reading by Daniel Mark Epstein, concert by Saul Broudy, performances by Touchstone Theatre, and Steve Shade’s Parts Missing.

Tenth season: Five new shows, 4 guests, 136 events. Notice that three-year lease would not be renewed: buy or get out. Heavy soul-searching about the future of progressive theatre in Lancaster.

1982-1983
Medea: Sacrament

Medea/Sacrament at Baltimore Theatre Project and extended run at CSC Repertory in New York. John Schneider’s Acts of Kindness opens first fall season at theatre. Week’s residency at UNC/Greensboro. “Out of the Back Bedroom,” staged reading of writings by and about the disabled. Staged readings of Double Mortgage and Action News—light operator a 10-year-old Eli Bishop.

Calls from a Curious Planet, staging of children’s writing as an adult show, is extraordinary success. WITF-TV broadcasts Dessie. “Volunteers,” sketch for United Way banquet, garners huge applause, many requests for free shows. Families for National Conference of Teachers of Family Medicine in Boston. Le Cabaret at Lebanon Valley Women’s Club sets a new record: not a single laugh.

Ninth season: 2 new shows, 3 staged readings, 171 encounters with human beings in loud groups, plus one utterly baffled women’s club.

1981-1982

First inspection of For Rent building at 208 East King, 1 p.m. Monday, August 31. Lease signed Sept. 28, moved Dec. 19 into the “Eye Theatre Works.” Toured Penn State branch campuses. Opened Le Cabaret de Camille a week after return from North Carolina via Michigan. Rehearsed Medea/Sacrament at new bare-walls space, opened at Messiah College. Deigan O’Connor’s Sailing to Jerusalem and Lee Devin’s When the Time Comes presented as staged readings at F&M.

Bishop & Fuller’s Full Hookup at Actors Theatre of Louisville festival. First audience at Eye Theatre Works: open rehearsal of Medea/Sacrament Jan. 30. Seats cadged from school in time for opening with three-show retrospective in May.

Eighth season: 142 shows and workshops in 7 states, mostly in Pennsylvania. Two new works, 2 staged readings, 1 new theatre.

1980-1981

Heavy Midwestern tour in September, home to open an ill-prepared puppet fantasy Marvels at Steinman; later, still ill-prepared, in Pittsburgh—urgent need to reduce touring in favor of local base allowing time for new work. Memorably hapless performance of Families at community college for non-English-speaking audience. Taping of sketches for WITF-TV.

First local staged readings of new plays, Debra Freeberg’s Next of Kin, Clayelle Dalferes’ The Isle Is Full of Noises, and Roma Greth’s A Quality of Mercy. Revival of Dreambelly at Steinman Theatre. Invitation to Families for National Conference on Child Abuse & Neglect. Co-production of Hedda Gabler with Milwaukee’s Theatre X. Taping of Families for WUHY-FM, Philadelphia—wins Ohio State Award.

Seventh season: 137 shows in 13 states; 2 new, 1 revival, 3 staged readings, 1 audio production. Decision to find a theatre facility for use in Lancaster.

1979-1980

Invitation to perform at First World Workshop on Social Action Theatre in Jerusalem. Schade: “This is the furthest east I’ve ever…” In August, Lifesaver created as companion piece to Dessie, premiered in Lancaster. New revue Families opened on Midwestern tour—title piece had been created for Gov. Thornburgh’s inaugural. October performances in Arizona, climaxed by fried ice cream at Guadalaharry’s.

First four-show Lancaster season at Steinman Theatre—running all our tour repertory. Male acting replacement dropped; we decide to continue as trio. Overwhelming exhaustion from five-city Pennsylvania Humanities-funded Families Colloquy Series. Local bookings, ranging from Welcome Wagon to True Value Hardware. Wanna selected for O’Neill Playwrights Conference—first Bishop/Fuller play written for theatres other than their own.

Sixth season: 187 performances, touring 5 shows to 13 states and Israel. Two new works.

1978-1979
Intense summer of work on three-actor, 36-puppet nightmare Macbeth, opening late July in Franklin & Marshall College basement with half-finished puppets. September, company tours in halves, Dessie in Texas, Black Dog in Wisconsin. Link-up in New Orleans, straight 24-hour drive back for show in Harrisburg, to Illinois two days later. Blizzarded New England tour, stayed with social worker going through all-night crisis vigil (inspired new play Lifesaver).

Macbeth at Chicago’s Body Politic, Pittsburgh’s 99-Cent Floating Theatre, Baltimore Theatre Project, and New York’s Performing Garage. Return to U. of Delaware, creating Who’s There. Prison workshops in Baltimore and Wilmington—met arts consultant Joyce Brabner, later wife of American Splendor’s Harvey Pekar. Three Mile Island threatens melt-down.

Fifth season: 232 shows and workshops, touring 4 shows in 17 states; 2 new works. The Eye rents a parish house for offices; staff expands, melts down.

1977-1978

The Eye moves to Lancaster, PA, with studio in Bishops’ Millersville basement. Immediate September return to Illinois to create a play with Status Offenders Services, I Wanna Go Home. Western tour through Oklahoma, Colorado, and Wyoming in flimsy one-engine planes, California, Minnesota (frantic search through 3 counties for prop Twinkies for Dessie), Michigan, Alabama, etc., 10 weeks before returning to new home.

Company expansion, adding Camilla Schade and Joe Uher. December, first New England tour. Created (in Unitarian basement) a new Schade/Uher revue, Black Dog, in January, opening at Baltimore Theatre Project. February tour to Georgia and Mississippi with NEA workshops, including Koinonia commune, paid in boxes of pecans. Daily Schade quote: “This is the farthest south I’ve ever been,” later to become “…farthest west…,” etc. Work begins on Macbeth, learning lines around a Georgia pecan pie.

Fourth season: 226 shows, touring 4 shows to 27 states, 1 new.

1976-1977

All over the map! Five Midwestern states in September, then opening Dreambelly Oct. 1 in Milwaukee. October in California, Colorado and Washington, DC. First Lancaster performances to audiences of about 10 each. NEA Expansion Arts-funded improvisation workshops for community groups in the Midwest. February Michigan tour cancelled: roads impassable. Taping of Dessie for Wisconsin ETV. East again in March, considering move to Pennsylvania.

First southern tour: Virginia, Georgia, Alabama; police called to hotel ballroom by someone hearing screams, arrived to find us performing Dessie. Dayton workshop stimulated formation of new theatre company, “Crazy Ladies in Bag Three.”

Third season: 1 new show, touring 4 shows for total of 274 performances and workshops in 21 states.

1975-1976

Heavy fall touring in Wisconsin and Illinois. New revue Sunshine Blues opens in Philadelphia, with a grisly one-act about child abuse, Dessie, added as a second act the following week at Baltimore’s Theatre Project: overwhelmingly negative reaction. But Dessie slowly begins to find an audience, performing for U. of Iowa’s Changing Family Conference, training sessions for Michigan Dept. of Welfare, and a marathon 23 shows in 10 days in Wisconsin.

Both kids celebrate their birthdays (1st and 3rd) on tour; we drive to southern Illinois, kept warm in ill-heated van by small kids in laps. Residencies for U. of West Virginia and American Baptist Conference, and Kirkwood College in Iowa, including workshops for classes in business and floral culture—slept in van in parking lot, as sponsor had neglected to secure lodging.

Second season staggers to an end with 2 shows created, 197 performances in 12 states. Decision to abandon producing in Chicago, concentrate entirely on touring.

1974-1975

The Eye is chartered as a Wisconsin corporation with offices—Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller’s basement apartment—in Chicago, using a small room at Body Politic Theatre to produce a season. Day before opening, the theatre burns. First Eye show—Song Stories, a duo revue—opens at Beloit College, Sept. 18; next week at a sooty Body Politic. Tiny audiences, though one critic calls the duo “the theatrical minstrels of the Midwest.”

Fall touring, Elizabeth 8 months pregnant. Horror melodrama Goners opens, panned, though our smash-hit baby daughter, Johanna, is born in December. January residency at University of Delaware, creating revue Knock Knock, featuring then-student Camilla Schade. Shows at Philadelphia’s Wilma Project and around East and Midwest. Conrad hospitalized with pancreatic tumor, directs new revue The Money Show, opening the day before his abdominal cavity.

First season: 4 new shows, 1 major surgery, 1 new daughter, 109 performances in Midwest and East.

Bishop/Fuller photo
Chronological list of plays

King Lear (2015)
Gifts (2013)
Frankenstein (2011)
Hands Up! (2011)
The Tempest (2009)
The Green Bird (2007)
Dream House (2006)
Ragnarok (2006)
Drake’s Drum (2005)
Long Shadow (2004)
Hot Fudge (2003)
Lost City (2003)
Survival Tips for the Plague Years (2003)
Code Red (2002)
Immigrants (2001)
Hitchhiking off the Map (1999)
Descent of the Goddess Inanna (1998)
Family Snapshots (1998)
Frankenstein (1998)
Mating Cries (1997)
Get Happy (1997)
Success (1997)
Once Vaudeville (1997)
A Friend from High School (1996)
Hammers (1996)
Mine Alone (1990)
The Shadow Saver (1994)
Louis’s Lottery (1994)
Carrier (1993)
Loveplay (1992)
Rash Acts (1992)
Tapdancer (1991)
Dividing Lines (1991)
Okiboji (1991)
Out Cry (1990)
Camino Real (1990)
Beside Herself (1989)
Mabel’s Dreams (1989)
Mark Twain Revealed (1989)
The Man with All the Answers (1988)
Limitations (1988)
Billy Bishop Goes to War (1988)
The Lorelei (1988)
Heart’s Desire (1988)
Amazed (1987)
The Chimes (1987)
Sea Marks (1987)
Marie Antoinette (1986)
No More to Prophesy (1986)
Jacques Brel is Alive and Well (1986)
Valentines and Killer Chili (1986)
Smitty’s News (1985)
Spaces (1985)
True West (1985)
American Splendor (1985)
Under Milk Wood (1984)
Dark of the Moon (1984)
Restaurant (1984)
The Want Ads (1983)
Summer Sisters (1983)
Waiting for Godot (1983)
Moves (1983)
Calls from a Curious Planet (1982)
Burlington Lunch (1982)
Action News (1982)
Double Mortgage (1982)
Acts of Kindness (1982)
Full Hookup (1981)
Medea/Sacrament (1981)
Le Cabaret de Camille (1980)
Hedda Gabler (1980)
Marvels (1980)
Wanna (1980)
Families (1979)
Lifesaver (1979)
Who’s There (1978)
Macbeth (1978)
Black Dog (1977)
Dreambelly (1976)
Dessie (1975)
Sunshine Blues (1974)
The Money Show (1974)
Knock Knock (1974)
Goners (1974)
Song Stories (1974)