LITTLE WOMEN Talks on the Steps

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Frank Merrill’s illustration for the 1880 edition of Alcott’s novel LITTLE WOMEN. Image from HUMANITIES magazine 30.6 (2009).

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.

Talks include:

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

Saturday April 29 at 1:30pm: Student set designer Becca Nipper discusses how the domestic life of 19th century American women influenced her scenic design for the production.
Continue reading LITTLE WOMEN Talks on the Steps

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THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Talk on the Steps by Hannah Dobrogosz and Katherine Francisco

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Student dramaturgs Hannah Dobrogosz and Katherine Francisco demonstrate Victorian flirting in their Talk on the Steps for THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, 6 April 2017. Photo by Devin Kiernan.

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.

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Drama and Theatre Studies major Hannah Dobrogosz demonstrates flirting using a fan while Arts Administration/English Professional Writing and Rhetoric major Katherine Francisco explains the secret meaning behind the gesture in their Talk on the Steps for THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. Photo by Devin Kiernan.

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

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Talks on the Steps

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.

CATS Talk on the Steps by Amanda Chunco

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Dr. Amanda Chunco discusses why humans love cats in her Talk on the Steps for CATS, 12 February 2017, at the McCrary Theatre. Photo by Devin Kiernan.

Dr. Amanda Chunco, who teaches in Elon’s Environmental Studies Department, discusses the impact of human fascination with cats in her Talk on the Steps for Cats, 12 February 2017 at the McCrary Theatre. She explained how ancient humans welcomed domesticated cats as a vital part of agriculture, and reminded the audience that many organic farms today still use cats for pest control. She then explained the impact of domestic cats on our environment, how they are responsible for the extinction of thirty-three species, and how they kill billions of rodents, birds, and other small animals every year. In fact, if your cat goes outdoors, statistics hold that it makes a kill every seventeen hours. Dr. Chunco, an avid cat lover and wildlife biologist, concluded her talk by reminding us that collar bells and leashes are great ways to allow cats outdoors and also lessen their impact on the environment.  Continue reading CATS Talk on the Steps by Amanda Chunco

CATS Talk on the Steps by Scott Proudfit

Dr. Scott Proudfit, who teaches in Elon’s English Department, discusses the poetry of T. S. Eliot in his Talk on the Steps for Cats, 10 February 2017, at the McCrary Theatre. He explained that while Eliot is remembered as a modernist master, his whimsical Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats was long a children’s favorite in England. The famous song “Memory,” however, is freely adapted by original director Trevor Nunn from Eliot’s poem “Rhapsody on a Windy Night.” Compare the first verse of Eliot’s poem with the song lyrics: Continue reading CATS Talk on the Steps by Scott Proudfit

CATS Talk on the Steps by Dan Callaway

Professor Dan Callaway, who teaches voice for Elon’s Department of Performing Arts, explains how composer Andrew Lloyd Webber uses rhythm in the song “Memory” as a musical hook to capture the audience’s attention in his Talk on the Steps for Cats, 9 February 2017 at the McCrary Theatre. He divided his Talk on the Steps audience into two rhythm sections, each providing a different beat, and then sang the famous melody to demonstrate how the combination of melody and rhythm creates a musically satisfying whole.

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Professor Dan Callaway explains the satisfying rhythm of “Memory” in his Talk on the Steps for CATS, 9 February 2017 at the McCrary Theatre.

Continue reading CATS Talk on the Steps by Dan Callaway