Describing Volunteer of the Month Joe Horton is a bit of a stumper. Simply because we would wish to describe in him in a way that is as clever, funny, and interesting as Joe himself. Some batted-around ideas: a play in which one character slowly realizes the awesomeness that is Joe in a dramatic crescendo; a detailed character sketch as if an actor were going to PLAY Volunteer of the Month Joe Horton; a Wild-Wild-West WANTED poster with a Photoshopped mustachioed photo of Joe (that was the bottom of the barrel).
Alas, if only we could have spoken to Joe whilst we were in the process of being stumped…
Mr. Joe Horton is a playwright, novelist, and actor who since 2010 has been an integral part of our annual festival of one-act plays, Five Bowls of Oatmeal. Joe works with students, both individually and in workshop form, to write AMAZING plays — and then serves as the MC during the performance, interviewing students about their process while wearing — yes, indeed — while wearing a velvet blazer.
(What sort of man can casually pull off a velvet blazer? Oh, only the sort of man who has met David Duchovny not once, but SEVERAL TIMES.)
Whenever Joe passes through the red velvet curtain, students and volunteers alike are soon energized by the Power of Theater. And they are also laughing their heads off.
Joe also has a unique knack for pulling out and developing a story from its very smallest seeds. In these past weeks, we’ve listened with rapt delight as Joe sits down with a student, who has an idea for a play that might be as simple as “mutants” or as complex as “a modern-day retelling of Sleeping Beauty”. Over the course of thirty minutes, the story takes shape as Joe asks a series of the right questions. The student leaves feeling (we hope) inspired and ready to get back to writing as soon as possible, and we are left wishing that Joe could be our writing coach too.
That’s the magic of Joe: he has so much creativity, so much energy, and so much writing talent that he brings out all these qualities in the people around him too. We are SO happy and grateful that Joe shares this magic with 826michigan!
Thank you, Joe, for all you do for us! We are a wittier, writier, Duchovnier place with you around.
(Psst: Come see Joe and the student playwrights in action at this year’s Five Bowls of Oatmeal! November 18, 3pm, Rackham Auditorium. Tickets $5 for people over 18 and FREE for people 18 and younger. More information at fivebowls.brownpapertickets.com!)