Sunday, November 1, 2015

Special issue of Classical Journal, on the 2012 Summer Institute, now in print!

Here's a guest post by Meredith Safran, who guest-edited the current issue of Classical Journal (111.1), dedicated to our Institute and featuring articles by Erin Moodie, Nancy Sultan, Sophie Klein, Mike Lippman, Chris Bungard, Ted Gellar-Goad and Tim Moore, and Sharon James, Tim Moore, and Meredith Safran.  The journal is available electronically through JSTOR.  Clara Hardy Shaw, of Carleton College, has done informal reviews on her blog:

Meredith writes:

By now, many of the readers of this blog will have received the recent volume of Classical Journal, which features fruits of the 2012 NEH Summer Institute in Roman Comedy in Performance. A little over two years ago, CJ editor Laurel Fulkerson agreed to take a chance on a special issue devoted to exploring the intersection of performance and research into Roman comedy. The initial versions of these papers were presented at the 2013 CAMWS Annual Meeting, in a panel organized by Erin Moodie of Purdue University and Christopher Bungard of Butler University and featuring participants from the NEH Institute. Over the next two years, Laurel and I worked with the authors to develop a kind of “how-to” manual for teaching various aspects of Roman comedy through performance, primarily directed at undergraduates and adaptable to Latin-based and in-translation courses.

The pieces cover a variety of technical and broadly sociological topics, fusing together scholarly research and practical application. Each piece offers both exercises that any teacher—novice or specialist—can try in the classroom and intellectual grounding and objectives for those experiments. In the first half of the volume, Erin Moodie takes on the challenge of preserving the spirit but not the letter of Plautine Latin in creating new translations. Michael Lippman explores the connection between mask and body work in communicating character. Timothy Moore and Ted Gellar-Goad provide a variety of approaches for integrating the sine qua non of Roman comedy, music and meter, into the classroom. Sophie Klein uncovers the significance of silent characters and advocates for making them present in analysis and performance.

Taking off from Sophie’s analysis of the sociological significance of silent characters in comedy, the second half of the volume plays with the dynamics of masters and slaves (Christopher Bungard), the multilayered potential of metatheater to expose power dynamics (Meredith Safran), and the experience of integrating Plautine comedy into a full-fledged reconstruction of a Roman religious festival (Nancy Sultan). These papers are bracketed by an introductory essay by Sharon James, Timothy Moore, and me explaining the genesis and goals of the NEH Summer Institute and the CJ special issue, and a concluding essay that provides a brief history of integrating performance and research since the early twentieth century by Erica Bexley. Erica kindly agreed to join the project due to her own interest in Plautine performance, featured in The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Comedy, edited by Michael Fontaine and Adele Scafuro.

It’s exciting to see the labor of the past several years in print. We all look forward to hearing what happens as people try them out!

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 (  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.

11/4/15 update: the PDF of this now-published article can be downloaded here:

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.