"I believe the best coders are artists. They have a natural affinity for beauty and design. There is, in fact, such a thing as beautiful code."
Dean of the College Mauri Ditzler congratulates Abbott's following his selection for the McLain-McTurnan-Arnold Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Check out upcoming productions for this year's Wabash College Theater season.
Theater professor Mike Abbott may be the only actor/playwright running Linux as his computer's operating system.
He's certainly the only guy who's written Linus Torvald
into a supporting role in a playhis hilarious, touching, and eye-opening
ride into hacker culture and Silicon Valley called Deadfish,
Idaho. Featuring staging and set innovations
that literally put actors in the audience's face, Abbott's breakthrough
production packed the College's Experimental Theater for its full run
Deadfish was a work in progress almost up to opening night, with Abbott revising and cutting scenes (including Torvald's bit part) and tweaking lines based on input from actors and others. That spirit of collaboration infused the entire production, cast members saidno surprise for those who've seen the former Wabash theater major's previous productions.
From the inventive adaptation of Aristophanes' Lysistrata,
set in the 1920s to a jazz score, his team-teaching with other Wabash
faculty in courses from Shakespeare to C&T, Abbott's collaborative
approach has brought out the best in himself, his colleagues, and his
And though the look on his face revealed Abbott's surprise
at being honored with the McLain-McTurnan-Arnold Award for Excellence
in Teaching, the honor is a fitting capstone to seven creative years reaching
across the disciplines and across campus to embrace a true liberal arts
approach his vocation.
The week before Deadfish, Idaho opened, Abbott
presented a colloquium entitled "HackerPhreaks and CyberGeeks"
detailing some of the ideas driving the play. The following edited excerpt
offers insights into the world of hacker culture Abbott immersed himself
in during the writing, as well as a snapshot of actor/ liberal arts graduate
who penned the script: