April 1, 2014 — Hans Vermy

The Lightest Distinction

“The Lightest Distinction” looks beyond the invention of the photograph to the spread of the electric grid as a focal point for the modern disciplinary distinction between moving image media and theatre. The talk focuses on two transitions in luminous media–the transition from gas to electric light and the change from real to digital light–exploring how the modern turn to electricity and the digital revolution extend and mirror each other both in theatre and animation. These themes and light sources are explored through Anne Washburn’s Mr Burns: a post-electric play (2012), its many media inspirations, such as the popular television series The Simpsons, and other narratives of theatrical luminescence.

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

Hans Vermy hails from the redwooded Santa Cruz Mountains. After graduating with a B.A. from Cornell University, he went on to work in production management at Trinity Repertory Company in Providence and as a film editor and production director in California. In 2007 his work on the short film The Replacement Child won the Suzanne Petit Film Editing Award from the Santa Fe Film Festival. Other film highlights include filming off the side of Half Dome for Moving Over Stone and directing the never-ending, mostly animated, folk musicalWondered Quest featuring 15 Bay Area artists. Hans is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Theatre and Performance Studies at Brown University. His current interests hover about notions of liveness, new media, and the performance of identity in cyberspace.

March 25, 2014 — Tina Post

Expressionlessness and Affective Materiality
(The Black Blackface Edition)

Black minstrel performances are often dismissed as unfortunate occurrences in the history of African American self-representation—and not without some reason. Their performers are generally assumed to have stepped (tragically, or greedily) into the minstrel form without significantly disrupting its racist tropes. Yet an attention to the obvious excess of burnt cork on an already “black” face suggests a far more complex representation of blackness, especially when these minstrels shared the stage with uncorked black performers. In this talk, I consider the ways in which blackface acts as a form of masking in the theatrical pairing of Williams and Walker, transfiguring the affects and meanings of blackness through a play of surfaces.

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

Tina Post is a doctoral student in Yale’s African American and American studies programs. Her work explores black expressionlessness as an aesthetic and performative gesture. She previously earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage and has published literary essays in The Appendix and Stone Canoe.