Clayton State University has greatly benefitted over the past eight years by the presence on campus of one of the nation’s foremost artistic and literary talents, Clayton State Theatre Director and Assistant Professor of Theatre Philip DePoy.
The author of a string of highly-acclaimed plays; not one, but two mystery/detective novel series, and the much-discussed historical novel, “The King James Conspiracy,” DePoy has left his mark on the University, not just through a series of compelling and entertaining productions in the Clayton State Theatre, but through the establishment of a theatre major.
Alas, as the old English proverb (which was not quoted by Brother Timon in “The King James Conspiracy) says, “All good things must come to an end.” DePoy will be leaving Clayton State to concentrate on his growing number of literary efforts – he currently has three books and two plays in the making. DePoy notes that he also has several other projects coming up that will require more time than he could give if he continues to serve as the director of the Clayton State Theatre. His last day at Clayton State will be Wednesday, May 9.
“When I first came to Clayton State eight years ago, and was asked to create a theatre major, it was a monstrous truckload of fun,” he says. “Inventing like, 20 new courses, finding students who would understand the unique nature of our ideas, I really loved doing it.
“As luck would have it, I've also been able to keep pace with my own work in both the literary and theatrical worlds -- until now.”
In addition to creating the University’s theatre major, DePoy also counts among his successes the professional efforts of his former students.
“It's also been pretty great to see lots of our theatre majors go on to great work after graduation,” he says. “Our very first major, Brittany Loffert, runs the 14th Street Playhouse now. Our longest-running major, Tim Hand, is a genuine performance artist. Bryan Meadows will one day run for president, and I'll vote for him -- as long is he lends me money when I need it, because he's also going to be a millionaire. I mean, I'm very proud of all of these students.
“(And), nearly everyone I've ever had to work with on campus has been remarkable, kind, hilarious, smart, talented -- in various combinations of all.”
Away from the Clayton State Theatre, where he has directed everything from “Hamlet the Musical” (which he wrote) to “Everything Goes, Episode One: Big Max Takes a Cab,” DePoy is the EDGAR award winning playwright of “Easy,” which represents New York's vote for best mystery play in the country. He is also an actor, director, producer, musician, composer, folklorist, historian and the author of more than a dozen novels and some 40 theatre pieces that have seen production throughout the United States. His Dell mystery novels, featuring Atlanta character Flap Tucker, have been called the best regional detective fiction on the market today. Not coincidentally, recent reviews also call his Fever Devilin novels "the best regional fiction being written in America today." (There seems to be a pattern there.)
“The King James Conspiracy” is a dizzying mix of historical facts and figments of the author’s imagination, noted Atlanta Magazine in its review of DePoy’s 11th novel.
Set in 17th-century England, “King James” story centers on a group of scholars assigned by King James I to create a definitive English translation of the Bible, i.e., the King James Version of the Bible. This does not sit well with Pope Clement, and one of the scholars is murdered and horribly mutilated, setting into motion a stakes conspiracy that could rock the foundation of Christian beliefs. Think Irving Wallace’s “The Word” crossed with Umberto Eco’s “The Name of the Rose,” and you’ll get an idea what DePoy hath wrought.
Over the years, Clayton State has had, and still has, many talented faulty members, not the least of whom is Assistant Professor of Theatre and Communication Shontelle Thrash. However, as his many fans know, there is only one Phillip DePoy, and he will be greatly missed.