Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mimi Kammer's article about Performance as Research/Reflections on the NEH Institute will be published soon!

Here is a guest post by Mimi Kammer, about her forthcoming article in Theater/Practice, an on-line journal (http://theatrepractice.us/).  It will appear in late September.


“The study of theatre history and historiography is something of an adventure, not so much a survey of what was, as an investigation of what might have been.  It is about questions not answers and it should continually allow new approaches and new possibilities.”
--Jim Davis, Research Methods in Theatre and Performance, p. 97.

This fall, my article “Reflections on the 2012 Institute on Roman Comedy and Performance: 
Revising the Procedures of the National Endowment for the Humanities through Theatre Production as Research and Pedagogy “ will be published in the journal Theatre/Practice.  In this piece, I discuss the work of the institute through a performance as research lens.

Although the institute was not officially classified as “performance as research” or “PAR,”  I argue in my writing that the categorization fits.  Throughout the program, we  participants combined traditional methods of research such as close reading of primary texts with exercises in live performance that brought a physicalized, “human” element to the work.  Drawing on my own experiences, accounts from fellow participants, and the PAR scholarship of Baz Kershaw, Robin Nelson, Ian Watson and others, I discuss the ways in which embodied engagement with Classical texts suggests potential insights into ancient practices and offers guideposts to how these plays may be performed today. 

While I admit to previously tending to view PAR with some skepticism, my work with the Roman comedy program has changed my outlook considerably.  I believe that an approach to history afforded by PAR can be quite fruitful, whether in the classroom, on the stage, or in a hybrid space that combines both.  As evidence, I conclude my article by reflecting upon my work developing an ecofeminist script adaptation of Pericles:  Prince of Tyre at Simpson College near Des Moines, IA.  As the director, I utilized the performance-as-research skillset that I developed at the NEH performance institute in order to stage this late Shakespearean play with undergraduate students.


Sara Hill as Gower, the narrator/the goddess Diana in Pericles at Simpson College; March 2015.  Photo by Luke Behaunek.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

16,000 views in 114 countries

Our scenes have now been viewed 16,000 times, in 114 countries!

The viewing list is here:


Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guam, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia (FYROM), Madagascar, Malaysia, Malta, Martinique, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Nepal, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Reúnion, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the U.K., the U.S.A., “Unknown Region,” Vietnam.

49 US States +  D.C. and “unknown region, US” (with 79 views).  Only South Dakota remains.

This blog has been visited 9,350 times.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Guest post by Sophie Klein: Plautus' Mostellaria at Boston University


                    Plautus’s Mostellaria (The Haunted House)

This past spring (2014), the Boston University Department of Classical Studies and the Core Curriculum staged a reading of Plautus’ Mostellaria (The Haunted House). The play was produced in conjunction with my Roman Comedy course (CL 229). The talented students in this class were each assigned a section of the script and asked to transpose the original plot and characters, update arcane jokes and idioms, and recreate some of the “verbal fireworks” of Plautus’ Latin for a modern, English-speaking audience, taking into account the cultural, practical, and theoretical concepts and contexts they had been studying all semester. By workshopping the individual scenes in class and seeing them performed at the event itself, the students were able to explore and experiment with the material in a dynamic, hands-on, and collaborative way.

The cast comprised undergraduates, graduate students, and members of our distinguished faculty, clad in togas, tutus, beanies, bowties, and a variety of other colorful costumes. The event brought together members of the larger classics community for a memorable evening of music, pizza, and comedy.






Saturday, September 6, 2014

12,000 views, in 105 countries!

Two years after we went on-line, our videos have been seen 12,000 times, in 105 countries:


Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica,Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia (FYROM), Madagascar, Malaysia, Malta, Martinique, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Nepal, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Reúnion, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the U.K., the U.S.A., “Unknown Region,” Vietnam.

49 US States +  D.C. and “unknown region, US” (with 25 views).  Still no views in South Dakota....

International viewership continues to climb, and accounts for 55% of the views in the last 90 days.

This blog has been visited 5,900 times.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Dan Smith, Steve Earnest, and Seth Jeppesen presented at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education

Here's a guest post by Dan Smith, about the panel that he, Steve, and Seth put on at ATHE in July 2014.

A panel on the NEH Summer Institute on Roman Comedy in Performance was presented at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) conference in Scottsdale, Arizona on July 25, 2014.  The panelists were three participants in the NEH Institute: Steve Earnest (Coastal Carolina University), Seth Jeppesen (Brigham Young University), and Daniel Smith (Michigan State University).  The session began with an overview of NEH Summer Institutes in general, and of the Roman Comedy Institute in particular.  Dan Smith spoke about the twenty videos created by the Roman Comedy Institute and suggested several possibilities for the use of these videos as teaching tools. He detailed his own use of the four English-language Pseudolus videos for teaching applications of translation theory in a graduate seminar on Translation and Adaptation. Steve Earnest (newly returned from a trip to China!) then recounted what he took away from the NEH Institute as a teacher of acting, expressing his appreciation for the thorough grounding in Roman history and culture afforded by his participation.  Historically informed mask work was a particular focus of Steve’s presentation.  Finally, Seth Jeppesen discussed new research he has done on a possible staging of Rudens in the Forum, crediting readings and conversations from the NEH Institute with inspiring this research.  He also described a staged reading of Amphitruo that he produced as part of a class at BYU, again crediting the NEH Institute with giving him the courage to pursue this practice-based learning opportunity.  The spirit of cross-disciplinary collaboration was certainly evident, with two Theatre faculty and a Classicist sharing the work of the Roman Comedy Institute at a conference for colleagues invested in the teaching of Theatre at the college level.

Dan's handout for the panel:


Daniel Smith, “Resistance, Renewal, and the NEH Summer Institute on Roman Comedy in Performance”
Resource Guide
 
NEH Summer Institute on Roman Comedy in Performance Website: http://nehsummer2012romancomedy.web.unc.edu/

Plautus, Pseudolus (lines 133-234)
Group A: Performed in Latin; musical underscoring
Group B: Commedia dell’arte (female Ballio); contemporary jokes
Group C: Drag King version with critical “break-out” scene
Group D: Hip-Hopera; focus on rhythm, rhyme, and meter
Group E: Commedia-inspired; “mocking slaves

Plautus, Bacchides (1116-1211)
Version 1: Sung in Latin; performed with masks
Version 2: Performed in English with masks
Version 3: Performed in English without masks

Plautus, Casina (353-423)
Version 1: Full masks designed for Roman Comedy Institute
Version 2: Full masks designed for Greek tragedy
Version 3: Half-masks, improvised in commedia dell’arte style

Plautus, Mercator (691-802)
Version 1: Performed in Latin
Version 2: Angry wife (English Version A)
Version 3: Sad wife (English version B)

Plautus, Persa (753-858)
Sung in Latin

Plautus, Truculentus (775-854)
Version 1: Sung in Latin
Version 2: Sung in English

Terence, Eunuchus (739-816)
Version 1: Performed in Latin with masks and ancient costumes
Version 2: Using 19th-Century English translation and costumes
Version 3: Sitcom

Ideas for Teaching
Pseudolus and Translation: 4 different English-language versions.
·       Theatrical Practice and Correspondence Rules: Meter, Gender, Masks
·       Linguistic Translation: Insults, Character Names, Translation of Jokes

Practice-Based Research:
·       How acting choices change a scene (Mercator English A and B)
·       Music in Roman Comedy: Persa, Truculentus, Pseudolus A, Bacchides
·       How use of masks changes performance (Casina especially)



Nancy Sultan's comedy/tragedy masks

This is a guest post by Nancy Sultan of Illinois Wesleyan University.  (Note: Nancy will be giving a presentation on the IWU Megalensia at CAAS in October, so our NEH Institute will be publicized again.)

Nancy Sultan, director of Greek and Roman Studies at Illinois Wesleyan University, regularly stages readings and scenes from Greek and Roman plays in her classes. Curtis Trout, professor of scenic design in the IWU School of Theatre Arts, regularly teaches courses in Properties for the Stage and Scene Painting.  These two collaborate frequently, with amazing results. Together they have staged two full productions of Greek plays (Aristophanes' Lysistrata and Euripides' Trojan Women) and have established a permanent collection of props, masks, and backdrops for the performance of Greek and Roman plays.

The latest collaboration has resulted in a full set of masks for Greek tragedy and Roman comedy. Curtis worked with Nancy to design the masks based on historical sources—vase paintings, frescoes, and manuscript illuminations. Using stiff, yet light, cardboard, Curtis created a template for the structure of the masks that students in his "properties for the theatre" class executed. Students painted each mask with individualized details for each stock character. Inside the Greek tragedy masks Curtis inserted an adjustable baseball cap for wearing comfort. The Roman comedy masks are smaller, and are held in place comfortably with ribbon. The masks belong to Greek and Roman Studies, but can be rented on request.

Here are some photos:






Saturday, May 24, 2014

11,111 views, in 102 countries!

Viewership creeps steadily up, especially during the school year.  We are now at the weird but amusingly non-mystical number of 11,111 views, in these 102 countries:


Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia (FYROM), Madagascar, Malaysia, Malta, Martinique, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Nepal, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Reúnion, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the U.K., the U.S.A., “Unknown Region,” Vietnam.

 U.S. viewership accounts for 65% of total views.  For the scenes in Latin, international viewership is around 50%.

This blog has been viewed 4,835 times.