FACING OUR TRUTH: 10-MINUTE PLAYS ON TRAYVON, RACE, AND PRIVILEGE Discussion Group

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Students and faculty volunteer to read COLORED by Winter Miller, one of several 10-minute plays read and discussed together. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

Students and faculty gathered to read and discuss FACING OUR TRUTH: 10-MINUTE PLAYS ON TRAYVON, RACE, AND PRIVILEGE as the final in 2017-2018’s Contemporary Play Reading and Discussion series. At each event, volunteers read aloud from contemporary scripts, and join with others in a discussion about theme, character, playwriting, and the value of theatre as a way to engage in current debates.

This Spring 2018 semester in particular saw Elon students engaging in issues of gun violence, and discussing recent moments like the March for Our Lives, and the Waffle House shooting. At this play reading event, we debated the 10-minute play form and the various playwrights’ attempts to discuss the Trayvon Martin case without resorting to stereotype. Ninety minutes later, the discussion had moved from the scripts to students’ lived experiences with privilege and oppression at Elon University.

Join us next year for more Contemporary Play Reading and Discussion events!

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Students read DRESSING by Mona Mansour and Tala Manassah as part of our Contemporary Play Reading and Discussion event, 23 April 2018 in the Isabella Cannon Room. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

 

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THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Talk on the Steps by Katherine Francisco and CJ Porterfield

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Student dramaturgs CJ Porterfield and Katherine Francisco, wearing buttonhole flowers, explain Victorian dandyism in their Talk on the Steps for THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, 8 April 2017. Photo by Devin Kiernan.

Student dramaturgs Katherine Francisco and CJ Porterfield explain the importance of fashion and style for Victorian dandies like Oscar Wilde in their Talk on the Steps for The Importance of Being Earnest, 8 April 2017, at the McCrary Theatre. They explained how Wilde and other upper-class Englishmen in the late Victorian era cultivated cutting-edge style as a way to physically represent their devotion to Aestheticism–a philosophical and artistic movement focused on beauty and “art for art’s sake.” We see the two central characters of The Importance of Being Earnest, Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff, discuss clothes, style, and the importance of wearing a buttonhole flower in Act Two of Wilde’s play.

 

TWELFTH NIGHT Talk on the Steps by Katelyn Rivenbark

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Student dramaturg Katelyn Rivenbark delivers a Talk on the Steps for TWELFTH NIGHT at the McCrary Theatre, 12 April 2018. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

Drama & Theatre Studies major Katelyn Rivenbark delivered a Talk on the Steps for William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night that explored feminism and gender roles in the 1970s, the decade in which our Elon production was set. Director Fred Rubeck chose the 1970s for Duke Orsino’s court because of the decade’s experimentations with gender play, women’s liberation, and free-wheelin’ free-lovin’ lifestyles. Katelyn explored several different key feminist moments in United States history from the 1970s, including Shirley Chisholm’s campaign for the Presidential nomination and the efforts of the National Organization of Women to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

Katelyn was one of a group of first year and sophomore student dramaturgs who also created a production history of Twelfth Night through the ages, as well as an interactive photo booth that allowed audience members to follow Viola’s lead and play with gender and disguise. Continue reading TWELFTH NIGHT Talk on the Steps by Katelyn Rivenbark

ECHOES Dance Decoded by Matt Pardo

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Assistant Professor of Dance Matt Pardo explains minimalism in dance at a Dance Decoded before ECHOES, the spring dance concert, 9 March 2018. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

Elon Dance program’s newest faculty member, Matt Pardo, shared his expertise with audiences in a Dance Decoded talk and demonstration before Echoes, the spring dance concert. Professor Pardo introduced our audience to the concept of minimalism in modern dance choreography. With the assistance of two Dance Performance and Choreography BFA students, he demonstrated how the repetition of a short movement phrase can grow and build into a complex, richly textured dance piece.

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Dance Performance and Choreography BFA students demonstrate minimalism in dance at a Dance Decoded before ECHOES, the spring dance concert, 9 March 2018. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

THE INFERIOR SEX Staged Reading

American playwright Jacqueline E. Lawton visited Elon University March 3-4 for a weekend of workshops leading up to a public staged reading of her brand new script, The Inferior Sex, a funny and poignant look at 1970s feminism.

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Student actors perform THE INFERIOR SEX 4 March, 2018. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

In a whirlwind 24-hour period, students in the Acting and Music Theatre BFA programs read and rehearsed The Inferior Sex in two short rehearsals before bringing the script to life in front of an audience of students, faculty, and community members. The Inferior Sex is the behind-the-scenes look at a woman’s magazine that gets political and breaks new ground in an ever-changing world. Assistant Professor of Theatre History Susanne Shawyer acted as dramaturg and Assistant Professor of Acting Kim Shively served as director for the staged reading. Lawton re-worked the script during the rehearsal process, and noted audience responses to The Inferior Sex. As a playwright, Lawton often uses script readings to learn about the strengths of her writing, generate ideas, and make edits as she works on her second draft of the play. Continue reading THE INFERIOR SEX Staged Reading

INDECENT Discussion Group

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Performing Arts students read from Paula Vogel’s INDECENT 12 February 2018. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

Elon Drama and Theatre Studies and other Performing Arts students met to discuss Paula Vogel’s Indecent, recently seen on Broadway last year. The script tells the story of how Sholem Asch’s play God of Vengeance became a hit in the Europe and American Yiddish theatre, only to be shut down on indecency charges for a 1923 English-language production at the Apollo Theatre, New York. In telling the story of Asch’s play, Vogel’s poignant, funny, and poetic script also tells the story of European Jews in the early twentieth century, including their struggles with representation, displacement, immigration, assimilation, and persecution.  Continue reading INDECENT Discussion Group

Class Project: interactive website by the MOMENT dramaturgy team

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Director Kim Shively rehearses a scene from MOMENT. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

The dramaturgy team for Elon’s production of Moment, a contemporary Irish drama by Deirdre Kinahan, created this interactive audience guide as part of their dramaturgical work on the play. In addition to presenting research to the cast, trying out Irish recipes mentioned in the script, attending rehearsals to offer feedback as “first audience,” and creating a lobby display, the dramaturgy team of Mollie Richter, Maeve Riley, Gwen Rygg, and Georgia Smith also developed this website for audiences to enjoy.

Their website looks at the playwright’s influences, explores life in Dublin, and analyzes Kinahan’s script. The students interviewed the director and some of the cast and crew, created a fun “How Irish Are You?” quiz, and compiled musical playlists for the different characters in Moment. Check it out here: https://momentelon.weebly.com/