Michael Lessac, Artistic Director



In 2001, Mr. Lessac took a leave of absence from his Los Angeles TV and Film career to return to the Colonnades Theatre Laboratory he had founded 25 years before in New York City where he had produced and directed over thirty productions and over a ten year period had maintained and trained a company of eighteen actors, three playwrights and four composers. Wanting to create a way of telling the story of the South African TRC, Mr. Lessac conceived of the notion of doing so through the eyes of the Interpreters who had translated into the 11 official languages of the country. To this purpose, he reunited actual TRC interpreters to film them debriefing as they relived their experiences and memories. In 2005, he held an intensive 3-week workshop in Johannesburg with actors chosen from 300 auditions in South Africa to explore and develop script material. In that same year he held a similar workshop to develop the music with the renowned composer and musician, Hugh Masekela. He has been touring with the company since.

Mr. Lessac has directed at the National Theatre of Yugoslavia, the Guthrie Theatre in Minnesota, the Denver Theatre Centre, the Arena Stage, the Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C., and the Public Theatre in New York City. He wrote and directed the feature film House of Cards, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Kathleen Turner, and has directed over 200 television shows and sixteen pilots including Taxi, Newhart, Grace Under Fire, The Drew Carey Show, The Naked Truth, Just Shoot Me, Everyone Loves Raymond, George and Leo, Titus, Lucky among others.  Mr. Lessac is also a singer/songwriter and has recorded an album for Colombia Records called: Sleep Faster, We Need The Pillow.  He holds a doctorate in developmental psychology, and has taught both theatre and psychology at numerous universities in the USA. In 2005, in South Africa he established a sister company (CTL, SA) which has been jointly responsible for the development of Truth in Translation and – in conjunction with the parent company in New York – is dedicated to developing theatre and film pieces which identify situations around the world where there is, or once was, struggle for justice, human rights or basic human dignity, and which celebrate the possibility of perceptual change. 

© The Colonnades Theatre Lab, Inc. USA [501(c)3] and The Colonnades Theatre Lab SA [Section 21]