Amy Heuring isn't the second coming of Steven Spielberg, but she has plenty of experience in the director's chair.
The Clay High School teacher, who last year retired as a drama teacher after 23 years, has directed such plays as "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Anything Goes," Agnes of God," and "Thoroughly Modern Millie."
Heuring, 46, caught the acting bug years ago. She has mostly acted with the Genoa Civic Theatre but has performed in "The Full Monty" at the Toledo Repertoire Theatre in downtown Toledo.
She was a theater major at Findlay College (now the University of Findlay) and served as a substitute teacher for one year while performing with the Genoa Civic Theatre. One of her performances included a role in "Annie Get Your Gun" at Genoa High School.
Heuring began teaching at Clay in 1985, where she teaches senior English, creative writing and speech. She has directed more than 90 shows in 23 years at Clay, including full-length plays, musicals and one-act plays.
Working as a director and actor, Heuring said, is "like creating something that's alive."
"Taking something from the page and giving it to the actors and bringing it to life, it's a phenomenal thing," she said. "There's nothing like it. It's similar to how a coach feels when he works with his athletes and they have their plays they have to work out to be successful and to win. Directing is very similar. Directing is that same idea, but bringing it to life as an art form."
On Valentine's Day, Heuring directed an EdgyRepReading of the Toledo Repertoire Theater's production of “The Vagina Monologues” at Owens Community College's Center for Fine and Performing Arts. The play was to benefit the YWCA Battered Women's Shelter.
"The Vagina Monologues" is an Obie Award-winning (off-broadway) episodic play written by Eve Ensler, who originally starred in the production. The play has been staged internationally, and a television version featuring Ensler was produced by HBO.
In 1998, Ensler launched V-Day, a global non-profit that has raised more than $50 million for women's anti-violence groups through benefits of "The Vagina Monologues." Actress Whoopi Goldberg and singer Melissa Etheridge performed the play at Madison Square Garden in 2001.
The local cast featured eight female actors, including 1995 Clay graduate Vicky Monhollen-Clyce.
"I'm very honored to be chosen for this production," Heuring said. "It's wonderful to be working with so many talented and brave women, and I am really excited."
Gloria Moulopoulos, artistic director for The Toledo Repertoire Theatre, said she has known Heuring for a long time and recommended that Heuring direct the play. Heuring also serves as an education liason for the Toledo Repertoire Theatre's board of directors.
"She filled in for us when we lost an actor in "'The Full Monty,' " Moulopoulos said. "She's a very knowledgeable, bright person and we wanted to get her more involved. You reconnect with people and you know about someone, and Amy comes highly recommended."
"The Vagina Monologues" deals with the resiliency of women and is made up of a series of monologues read by women as a celebration of female sexuality in all its complexity and mystery.
"The title is kind of shocking," Moulopoulos said, "but once you understand the concept of it, it deals with how strong and passionate and resilient women are in light of abuse and neglect. This show brings that to life and is really amazing. You can be literally laughing one moment and crying with the character the next.
"The women (actors) have really embraced this show as well. They are risk takers; they're brave. This material is not easy material. The language is pretty heavy duty at times. It's definitely a show for women, but I think men will appreciate it. It makes them appreciate the women they love even more."
Three local celebrities served as guest artists — Chrys Peterson from Channel 11, Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates, and Lisa McDuffie, executive director of the YWCA.
All proceeds from the play go to the YWCA Battered Women's Shelter.