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Matt Bowdren’s Hamlet was haunting and haunted. He seems mad one moment, simply cunning the next. He is consumed with revenge but has tender moments. His sorrow and his passion are get the sense that while Hamlet hears his father’s ghost when no one else can, speaks in riddles that seem to underscore his madness, and is wildly mercurial, he is crazy like a fox. Bowdren kept us glued to his actions and words, anxious to see where he would go to — and he would always go someplace interesting.
— Arizona Daily Star
The key, of course, for making a production of this play work is an excellent Hamlet, and Rogue has given us one. Matt Bowdren captures Hamlet’s complicated personality, his intelligence and his wit with credibility and vulnerability, giving us an artfully compelling and complex character.
— Tucson Weekly
Here is what we loved. Matt Bowdren brought all of Iago’s awful qualities to devastating life. He made him charming, destructive, jealous, cruel. He was hard to turn away from
— -Arizona Daily Star
“The character’s passion for forestry, his exhaustion with caring for patients, and his constant introspection, wrap around Bowdren like a rich cloak. Because of him, we know Astrov, we ache for him, laugh at him.”
— Arizona Daily Star
“Metamorphosis,” the most familiar and theatrically complicated of the two, features a brilliant performance by Matt Bowdren as the unfortunate Gregor Samsa
— Tucson Stage
 Tom Joad - Grapes of Wrath

Tom Joad - Grapes of Wrath

And Matt Bowdren was sublime as Adolphus, Barbara’s fiancé. He is a bit of a hypocrite - he joined the Salvation Army because he wanted to win Barbara’s heart, not save souls - and Bowdren gives him a charm and depth that brings him into sharp focus.
— Arizona Daily Star
Bowdren’s Robert, an erudite book publisher who hates being betrayed, but not enough to deny indulging in some betrayals of his own, was contained and very British, but all the while radiating a vibe that violence was just under the surface.
— Arizona Daily Star
Matt Bowdren also juggles two roles as Superfrog...Bowdren continues his mastery of not-quite-human characterization, having recently played the man turning into a cockroach lead in Rogue’s production of Kafka’s existential “Metamorphosis.” His Frog is courteous, courageous, yet still alien, creating a sort of Kabuki of the Absurd.
— Tucson Sentinel
Matt Bowdren and John Shartzer play Benjamin and David, two friends whose relationship spans the transition from teen years to adulthood. The two actors not only perform with great nuance and integrity; they give off an air of boundless exuberance, as if the whole production were something they spontaneously put together in their garage.
— Tucson Weekly
 Uncle Vanya - Astrov

Uncle Vanya - Astrov

The Arizona Daily Star is taking a look at some of our favorite actors. Some are retired from the stage, others, like Matt Bowdren, still create vivid life on the boards. Here, Bowdren recreates a scene from "Hamlet," a role he played with great success in the 2015-16 season at The Rogue Theatre.


...beautifully-adapted contemporary version of Anton Chekov’s classic tragedy, skillfully directed by Matt Bowden, we have an exciting new company who can stand confidently beside Chicago’s other fine theatrical troupes.
— Chicago Theatre Review
Director Matt Bowdren infuses the production with the tenderness and anger the play requires. He makes the sprawling intimate. He reminds us that we must not be complacent.

What Bowdren has done is no small feat: Eight actors portray about 20 characters. There’s an angel with beating wings. Ghosts wander in and out. Scenes jump from a hospital to a bar to an upscale apartment to a back alley where men meet for sex. Bowdren, who uses a simple set and quick scene changes, finds the humor and the grace in this dark, often disturbing play.
— Arizona Daily Star
The performances that Bowdren gets from his excellent cast are uniformly wonderful....I asked my husband what he thought of this play and he said, “It was sort of brilliant.” I agree. Carefully constructed and wonderfully acted, Leave Me Alone is one of those little gems that deserves to find an audience. The Story Theatre has, in its inaugural production, entered the crowded Chicago theatre scene with a quite literal bang.
— Chicago On Stage
Matt Bowdren, directed this version, pulling together the vast reach of its parts into a clear and singular product. Assisted by the efforts of many fine performers, his vision melds fluidly with Kushner’s, and the epic tale we see here, echoes the simple and the complex stirrings of Kushner’s creation.
— Tucson Weekly

Directors Notes for Macbeth:

Macbeth is a play that is saturated in fear. Witches, magic, war, political unrest, all of these create an atmosphere of terror in the play. However, the true fear comes not in the blood and gore, but in the startling recognition of humanity in the play’s tragic villain, Macbeth. Macbeth is brutally murderous. He kills men, women, and children. However, unlike the villains we love—Richard III or Iago—Macbeth cannot delight in his acts. His imagination plagues him until the end, and although he recognizes, weighs, and is revolted by the implications of his actions, he acts nonetheless. Shakespeare is a master at creating complicated and conflicting characters and Macbeth is the pinnacle, a ruthless murderer with a boundless imagination and the ability to love.

In the world today, we behold images of violence and death almost daily. Unarmed drivers shot by law enforcement, tourists being run down in crowded marketplaces, chemical weapons being dropped on innocents, and all too often it feels that all we can do is wonder why?  We want to find a reason why someone would commit these acts. We need to know what causes someone to hurt, to destroy, and to murder. It would help to make sense of such senselessness if there was an outside force dictating these actions.

In Macbeth, we want desperately to believe that magical forces push the tragic hero/villain. We hope there is something dark outside of our control that illustrates that a man revered in his society, who is respected and accomplished, as Macbeth is, can commit such atrocities.

This is the fear in the play. Not the magic or the blood, but the simple fact that Macbeth knows what he is doing, and our own ambition, jealousy, and greed is the dark force acting on us. Shakespeare shows us a world that fosters violence, a world that begs for it, and then gives us the most human character. A man who makes the choice, over and over, to satisfy his own ruthlessness.