February 11, 2014 — Alexandra Ripp

Re-localizing Globalized Theater: The Revisionary Performances of Post-Dictatorship Chile in Guillermo Calderón’s Neva, Diciembre, and Villa

Over the last seven years, the productions of Chilean playwright-director Guillermo Calderón have toured the world to great acclaim. Although the globalization of theater—primarily via the international festival circuit—has brought his work to non-Chileans who appreciate it without deep contextual knowledge, Calderón’s work specifically reflects and engages its particular post-dictatorship context. As an artist, Calderón is motivated by national goals: to encourage Chileans to acknowledge their country’s past and criticize today’s democracy for perpetuating problems of that past. How can we, as international audience members, be responsible spectators of this “local” work in global circulation? Examining Calderón’s artistic trajectory through his plays Neva (2006), Diciembre (2008), and Villa (2011), I suggest that his work shows an evolving negotiation between a “local” Latin American model of performance and a “global” one applicable to diverse cultures. I see this shifting negotiation between models as bound up with Calderón’s increasingly direct call for Chileans to reassess their past, present, and future—and as one that demands that we be agile and discerning in our spectatorship.

**Join us Tuesday from 1-2 p.m. in room 202 of 220 York. A light, catered lunch will be provided.**

Alexandra Ripp is a first-year DFA candidate in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at the Yale School of Drama. She is a former managing editor of Theater magazine and is the 2012 winner of the John Gassner Memorial Prize for criticism. Her translation of Teatro de Chile’s Rey Planta was produced at the Yale Cabaret in 2011, and she continues to translate for the group. She is the Ideas Program Manager at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas.

February 4, 2014 — Sarah Piazza

Music and Metafiction: Creative Reading in Le cahier de romances

Creole and French lyrics to romantic ballads color Raphaël Confiant’s autobiographic portrait of boyhood in Fort de France, Martinique in Le cahier de romances (2000). The narrator and author figure, Raphaël, delights in the sonorous pleasure of listening to sung and spoken Creole. He also discovers a delectable refuge in reading French novels. Le cahier shows how vicarious experiences, like appreciating music and reading, cause pleasure by momentarily suspending reality. In addition to provoking pleasure, representations of writing, reading, and song also problematize aspects of Martinican society, such as racial and linguistic hierarchies. I argue that the way in which vicarious experiences inspire Raphaël to question his childhood space convert them from simple pleasures into forms of joy. Confiant reveals that creating and appreciating music and literature are not merely an evasion of reality but rather constitute a transformative reimagining of the past and the present. Intertextual representations of reading in Le cahier de romances invite us to creatively interpret the complex relationship between different vicarious experiences and Martinican society as represented in the novel.

**Join us Tuesday from 1-2 p.m. in room 202 of 220 York.  A light, catered lunch will be provided.**

Sarah Piazza is currently working on a doctorate in Comparative Literature at Yale University. She earned her Master of Philosophy in Spanish from Yale’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese in 2013. Her prospectus examines uses of popular music in Francophone and Hispanic Caribbean novels. She is delighted to learn about the interdisciplinary intersections of Performance Studies thanks to PSWG!

March 7, 2014 — Performance and the Sea

An IPSY Symposium featuring

Stuart M. Frank, Senior Curator Emeritus, New Bedford Whaling Museum; Director, Scrimshaw Forensics® Laboratory; Director Emeritus, Kendall Whaling Museum

Anita Gonzalez, Professor of Theatre and Drama, University of Michigan

Eleanor Hughes, Associate Director of Exhibitions and Publications, and Associate Curator, Yale Center for British Art

Mary Isbell, Postdoctoral Associate in Interdisciplinary Performance Studies at Yale

Jason Mancini, Senior Researcher, Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center

Jason Shaffer, Associate Professor of English, United States Naval Academy

Friday, March 7, 2014
continental breakfast and light lunch provided
Whitney Humanities Center, Room 208

8:30: Continental Breakfast
9:00 Joseph Roach, Opening Remarks
9:30 Jason Shaffer: “Theatre of War, 1812”
9:45 Mary Isbell: “Crossing the Line: Compulsory and Voluntary Shipboard Performance”
10:00 Eleanor Hughes: “Spreading Canvas: Marine Painting and Theater”
10:15 Q&A
11:00 Stuart Frank: “Jolly Sailors Bold: Ballads and Songs of the American Sailor”
11:15 Anita Gonzalez: “Black Stewards, Sea Acts, and Vernacular Port Performance”
11:30 Jason Mancini: “Artifacts of Performance from the Indian Mariners Project”
11:45 Q&A
12:30 Lunch

January 28, 2014 — Joseph Cermatori

Re-reading The Case of Wagner, or the Stakes of Philosophy as Theatrical Performance

In the field of theater studies, Friedrich Nietzsche’s late essay The Case of Wagner has typically been read as his indictment of the conspicuously theatrical strategies at play in Richard Wagner’s musicology, in the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk or ‘total artwork,’ and in late nineteenth-century cultural production more generally. Broadly put, this argument is the central one advanced about Nietzsche in Jonas Barish’s Anti-Theatrical Prejudice (University of California Press, 1981), to name just one celebrated instance. And yet, as numerous scholars and philosophers have more recently noted (Fuchs, Puchner, Sloterdijk, Agamben), various aspects of Nietzsche’s own writing can be seen regularly to perform certain theatricalizing maneuvers all their own. In light of these claims and the more general turn in recent theater studies toward the intersections of performance and philosophy, this presentation will use Nietzsche’s Case of Wagner to trace the contours of the precarious and critical ambivalence (as opposed to opposition) he cultivated toward theater in his later years. How, if at all, might we best distinguish between these two conceptions of theatricality in performance, Nietzsche contra Wagner’s? How might doing so help produce a new reading of The Case of Wagner, one that is informed by dramaturgical and performance-based methods of analysis? And how does construing Nietzsche’s writings on Wagner as a form of immanent critique help us to shift our understanding of his larger philosophical body of work?

**Join us Tuesday from 1-2 p.m. in room 202 of 220 York.  A light, catered lunch will be provided.**

Joseph Cermatori is a Ph.D. candidate and Javits Foundation graduate fellow at Columbia University, where his research focuses on transatlantic modernism with an emphasis on the interrelationships between theater, historiography, theater theory, and philosophy. His dissertation project draws upon a variety of critical discourses to examine the concept of the baroque as it was developed in aesthetic theory around the turn of the twentieth century, arguing that this period’s emergent avant-garde theaters and its attempts at understanding seventeenth-century cultural production shaped each other in decisive, dynamic ways.

He holds an M.F.A. in dramaturgy and dramatic criticism from Yale University, where he worked as a graduate fellow and assisted with teaching classes on theater history, Shakespeare, and collaborative theater-making. He has worked as a production dramaturg for projects at a number of theaters, including Classic Stage Company, Yale Repertory Theatre, and the McCarter Theatre Center.

Joseph is an active arts critic and a theater artist, an occasional contributor to the Village Voice’s theater section, a member of the Brooklyn-based theater design collective Wingspace, and an assistant editor at PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art. He is also a co-founder of the UNSCRIPTED, an interdisciplinary working group on performance at Columbia University.  Joseph is currently a lecturer on the theater and interdisciplinary arts faculties of Eugene Lang College, the New School for Liberal Arts.

January 21, 2014 — Alice Rebecca Moore

Admiral Nimitz Touches Time: The Dilemma of Tragic Alternatives in the History Pageant of Fredericksburg, Texas

When Fleet Admiral Nimitz toured the country in 1945 as the national hero credited with winning the war in the Pacific, he visited San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and his birthplace of Fredericksburg, Texas, which welcomed Nimitz back with a sort of awe-filled reverence. Local Esther Mueller, too, journeyed to her hometown to see the great man and to “catch a new thrill” for the end of the town history pageant. In the previous two iterations of the pageant (1929, 1936), something had seemed off. The history of Fredericksburg—time itself—effectively stopped just after the Civil War. Where Mueller expressed the need to produce a “thrill,” performance theorist Rebecca Schneider employs the theory “touching time.” In this talk, I investigate the problem of time posed by the Fredericksburg history pageant in conjunction with performance theory in order to trouble the codependence of coherent community with an investment in linear time. I argue that, when touched, time can only explode, fragment, and transform into the dramaturgy of fairytale.

**Join us Tuesday from 1-2 p.m. in room 202 of 220 York.  A light, catered lunch will be provided.**

Alice Rebecca Moore is currently completing her PhD in American Studies at Yale University. Her research investigates crossings of memory, performance, and time as evidenced in the visual and performance culture of a small town in central Texas founded as a German colony in the mid-nineteenth century. Alice also holds an MFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism from the Yale School of Drama.

La Marr Jurelle Bruce awarded Joe Weixlmann Award at MLA

We’re delighted to announce that La Marr Jurelle Bruce was awarded the Joe Weixlmann Award for Best Essay Representing Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century African-American or Pan-African Literature and Culture. This award is given by African American Review, the Publication of the Black Literature Forum of the Modern Language Association. The essay, entitled “‘The People Inside My Head, Too’: Madness, Black Womanhood, and the Radical Performance of Lauryn Hill,” appeared in a special issue of AAR, “On Black Performance.”

Mary Isbell – Amateur Stages: Nineteenth-Century Theatricals on Land and at Sea

Amateur Stages recovers the “theatrical” as a distinct type of performance in the period, documents the widespread popularity of the practice with diverse social groups including aristocrats, middle-class families, university students, office clerks, and sailors aboard naval vessels, and theorizes the unique features of theatricals through concepts derived from nineteenth-century literature.

La Marr Jurelle Bruce – ‘Inversions of the World’: Madness, Blackness, and Radical Creativity

“‘Inversions of the World’: Madness, Blackness, and Radical Creativity,” considers a cohort of twentieth- and twenty-first-century African-American artists who have instrumentalized “madness” for radical art-making, self-making, and world-making. Proposing a theory of madness that addresses its floating signification—and engages its phenomenological, clinical, sociocultural, and political dimensions—he confronts “the mad” in the work of writers Amiri Baraka, Adrienne Kennedy, Gayl Jones, and Ntozake Shange; jazz musicians Buddy Bolden and Charles Mingus; comedians Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle; legal theorist Patricia J. Williams; and hip hop musician Lauryn Hill.