TWELFTH NIGHT Talk on the Steps by Katelyn Rivenbark

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


THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Talk on the Steps by Jessica Burchett and Sophia Diaz

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.

Continue reading THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Talk on the Steps by Jessica Burchett and Sophia Diaz


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.