MARK 'COACH' MINEART
DR. HARRIS FRIEDBERG
Associate Professor of English, Wesleyan University
I had the good fortune of meeting Mark Mineart while my wife was a Fulbright Scholar at the American University of Cairo in 2011-2012. I have been a Shakespeare scholar for over forty years, but I learned more from talking informally with Mark about the plays which we both love than from any of the innumerable scholarly studies I have read over the years. The freshness and inventiveness of his insights into character and staging inspired me to change some of my most cherished ideas and have measurably altered how I approach the plays in my classes. I am grateful for the opportunity to swap ideas with so interesting and thoughtful a practitioner of the theater, one whose love for it is infectious and whose knowledge is so deep and worn so lightly. It’s no exaggeration to say that I will never think about or teach plays in the same way again.
I also had the privilege of seeing his remarkable production of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest while I was in Cairo. I had never much cared for the play, but he made it funny and gripping using a cast of undergraduates whose first language was not English. How he drew those performances out of his students, teaching them so much about the nuances of American English, was nothing short of a miracle. I have also seen his galvanizing effects on his students. He is a transformative teacher and a brilliant theatrical mind. Were he at my institution, I have no doubt that he would be a tenured professor. He is a gem.