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.
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.
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.
Announcing Talks on the Steps before performances of Little Women: The Broadway Musical this weekend at the Roberts Studio Theatre! This musical is based on the beloved novel by Louisa May Alcott about the coming-of-age of four sisters in Civil War-era America. Each Talk on the Steps explores Little Women from one expert point of view, and gives you extra insight into the themes of the performance.
Thursday April 27 at 7pm: Dr. Rosemary Haskell of Elon’s English Department will explore the connections between the life of Louisa May Alcott and the character of Jo, whose witty observations and strong imagination make her a fan favorite
Friday April 28 at 7pm: The English Department’s Dr. Megan Isaac examines Little Women the novel as an early example of Young Adult literature, and the Little Women phenomenon that makes Alcott’s creations still resonate with audiences today
Student dramaturgs Hannah Dobrogosz and Katherine Francisco teach audiences how to flirt with a fan in their Talk on the Steps for The Importance of Being Earnest, 6 April 2017, at the McCrary Theatre. They first described Victorian courtship rituals and the proper way to behave when on a date in 1895 London, and then outlined the different ways a lady’s fan could be used to flirt with an eligible gentleman. Flirting discreetly while under the watchful gaze of a chaperone was an important part of Victorian courtship: we see Jack Worthing and Gwendolen Fairfax attempt to flirt while watched by Lady Bracknell in Act One of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.
Student dramaturgs Jessica Burchett and Sophia Diaz teach audiences how to properly take tea like a Victorian lady in their Talk on the Steps for The Importance of Being Earnest, 7 April 2017, at the McCrary Theatre. They described the etiquette of Victorian tea parties and walked the audience through the correct ways to place a napkin, hold a saucer, and stir tea. In late Victorian England, taking tea strengthened social bonds and offered opportunities to meet potential suitors. We see Gwendolen Fairfax, Lady Bracknell, and Jack Worthing take tea at Algernon Moncrieff’s home in Act One of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.
Join us this weekend for Talks on the Steps as the Department of Performing Arts presents Oscar Wilde’s celebrated comedy The Importance of Being Earnest. Ever wondered how those uptight Victorians went on dates? Do you know if you should curl your pinky finger while drinking tea? Would you like tips on how to mimic Oscar Wilde’s stylish fashions? Find out more from our team of student dramaturgs at our pre-performance Talks on the Steps!
Thursday April 6 at 7:00pm: Dramaturgs Hannah Dobrogosz and Jessica Burchett explain the complicated rules of Victorian dating and courtship etiquette.
Friday April 7 at 7:00pm: Dramaturgs Sophia Diaz and Jessica Burchett teach you how to take tea like a proper Victorian lady.
Saturday April 8 at 7:00pm: Dramaturgs CJ Porterfield and Katherine Francisco describe Oscar Wilde’s fashion and the role of the Dandy in late Victorian culture.
Talks on the Steps take place in the McCrary Theatre lobby and are free and open to the public.
Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is directed by Kirby Wahl. Performances are April 6-7 at 7:30pm and April 9 at 2:00pm. Tickets are $13 or free with Elon ID, available at the Center for the Arts Box Office.