Todd Bauer is a blind playwright, director, and lecturer. His play The Bird Feeder Doesn’t Know will receive a production at Raven Theatre in Chicago in Spring 2015. He is an ensemble member of the New York–based Apothetae company; Yoga and You received a staged reading at the Greenhouse Theater complex in Chicago; and Touch Tour had a staged reading at Griot Theater in Los Angeles in 2014. His play Downsizing Camus has received staged readings in Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center, in New York at Theater Breaking Through Barriers, and in Chicago at Victory Gardens Theatre. In 2011 he directed John Milton’s Samson Agonistes at the University of Notre Dame, the first time the work was fully realized. Todd has also directed programs exploring the role of disability in the works of Pinter and Beckett at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. He was awarded an NEA Challenge America Grant while a visiting artist with Visible Theatre in New York and a fellowship from the Ragdale Foundation in 2009. He was nominated for a 3Arts Artist Award in 2011.
Todd has taught British and American drama at the Newberry Library since 2002 and was the American correspondent for Beat Scene magazine from 1994–2000. He earned a B.A. in accounting from Miami University and an M.A. in liberal studies from Northwestern University.
Other interesting life facts
His childhood home was destroyed by a tornado while he was in the basement; he has been evacuated from a hurricane and stranded by a volcanic eruption in Ecuador. Todd has also run 2 marathons and lived with indigenous tribes in the Amazon and Indonesia.
Todd shared his personal story and experience for the Beyond Blind Interactive project. Learn more about what it's like to see the world through his eyes and his writing process.
At some point it flips. It goes from the world fearing you; to you fearing the world.
What happens when care-givers get to the point of needing care?
Herman and Ingrid have only one child, and he has a disability. They have always encouraged him to seek assistance in order to attain independence but now, due to the natural flow of life, Herman and Ingrid’s independence is threatened. Choices they found easy and obvious to make for their son are now being resisted and avoided when related to themselves.
When compassionate actions toward others are seen as insults when directed to oneself, the family unit becomes both echo chamber and torture chamber.
Chicago Tribune, April 9, 2015
“Todd Bauer’s The Bird Feeder Doesn’t Know…[is] highly relatable. Raven’s production delineate with some gutsy clarity the frustrations of growing older and of taking care of loved ones who hate their own impending mortality.”
Chicago Theatre Review
“The Bird Feeder Doesn’t Know serves as a perfect example of the [Chicago] theater aesthetic …what it represents is life on the stage, and that is what makes Chicago theater so profoundly beautiful.”
Mia and Ripley are comfortable. Really comfortable. Really, very, comfortable. After being married for twelve years, they have achieved a level of comfort approaching inertia. But then Ripley enters a yoga studio. The contortions they put their bodies, minds, and hearts through brings with it new discoveries about themselves and their marriage, as well as devastating truths. This play examines the destructive power of comfort and routine, and the exhilarating discomfort in breaking out of it.
“If you could have sex with any Muppet, which one would you choose?”
Downsizing Camus is a dialogue-driven full-length play in which Zach, a male Ph.D. candidate and Meg, a slightly older businesswoman, attempt to connect over the course of a blizzard-bound evening at a college tavern. Everything from the meaning of postmodernism to whether or not love is a social construct to their best college stories concerning the involuntary evacuation of bodily fluids is discussed. When Starshot, Zach’s smitten nineteen-year-old advisee, enters the intimate environment, the emotional and intellectual tension builds to the point of devastating explosion.
“My husband loved this depressing artsy fartsy crap! I like adaptations! You know: books, fairy tales. Stuff I already know how it’s going to turn out!”
Touch Tour is a full-length comedy in which friendship and love are complicated and celebrated when the issue of disability is introduced. Romantically inept Cody is smitten by Vivika while attending a play where she provides audio-description for visually impaired patrons. In order to win her approbation, he convinces his best friend Lars to pose as his blind brother despite their being of different races. The ruse is fraught with hilarious near-disasters, but miraculously works. Cody soon discovers he is not the only one who has been deceiving for the purpose of romance, once it is revealed that Vivika herself has a disability. Confronting issues of tolerance and acceptance both of others and oneself, Touch Tour illuminates the universal humanity we all share through the maturing power of laughter and love.
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