Sean Metzger//September 17

Sean Metzger//September 17



Sean Metzger presents research from his recent book, The Chinese Atlantic: Seascapes and the Theatricality of Globalization, on 9/17/21 at 12pm-1pm EST.

“In The Chinese Atlantic, Sean Metzger charts processes of global circulation across and beyond the Atlantic, exploring how seascapes generate new understandings of Chinese migration, financial networks and artistic production. Moving across film, painting, performance, and installation art, Metzger traces flows of money, culture, and aesthetics to reveal the ways in which routes of commerce stretching back to the Dutch Golden Age have molded and continue to influence the social reproduction of Chineseness. With a particular focus on the Caribbean, Metzger investigates the expressive culture of Chinese migrants and the communities that received these waves of people. He interrogates central issues in the study of similar case studies from South Africa and England to demonstrate how Chinese Atlantic seascapes frame globalization as we experience it today. Frequently focusing on art that interacts directly with the sites in which it is located, Metzger explores how Chinese migrant laborers and entrepreneurs did the same to shape—both physically and culturally—the new spaces in which they found themselves. In this manner, Metzger encourages us to see how artistic imagination and practice interact with migration to produce a new way of framing the global.”

BIO: Sean Metzger is Associate Dean for Faculty and Students and a professor in the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. He has published Chinese Looks: Fashion, Performance Race (2014) and The Chinese Atlantic: Seascapes and the Theatricality of Globalization (2020) both with Indiana University Press. He has coedited six collections of essays and a volume of plays and authored more than 50 articles and reviews. He is the former president of Performance Studies international and the editor of Theatre Journal.

Phoenix Gonzalez

Phoenix Gonzalez
Feb 23 noon-1pm EST

“‘The Fleetinge Fludd’: Ecological Thinking in a Contemporary Performance of Two Medieval Noah Pageants”
Phoenix Gonzalez is a Master of Arts in Religion student at Yale Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music. In her work, she combines medieval drama and climate activism, staging medieval texts today to explore how they can forge community and help us question our assumptions, beliefs, and practices, both about religion and our environmental crisis. She received her BA in Religion at Princeton, where she first caught the medieval “bug.” Prior to her work at Yale, she lived in New York, where she performed in various new musicals and plays.
The Noah story was well known in late medieval English iconography, appearing frequently in striking stained glass windows and elaborate, emotional illuminations in personal Bibles, Books of Hours, and manuals for sermons such as the Holkham Bible. It was also one of the few Hebrew Bible stories to be found across the English mystery plays, those plays that added contemporary issues to stories in the Bible and then staged them for their communities each summer on the Feast of Corpus Christi. The importance of the Noah story in the medieval biblical narrative and its cosmic proportions beg the question, what sort of ecology did this pageant put forth for its medieval audiences? What image of nature would an audience have walked away with? This essay explores how two medieval plays performed at Yale Divinity School’s Marquand Chapel were staged to redefine the ecology of human relationships and their material surroundings, thereby reinterpreting what it means to interact with the wildness of God, each other, and the natural world. What can we learn from this reinterpretation today?


Yana Ross

Yana Ross

Feb 16, noon-1pm EST

Yana Ross is a cultural nomad— since age 5 she has been traveling through a vast variety of countries and cultures, absorbing experiences and adapting to various conditions of life and work. Her artistic passion is digging deep into a foreign culture to unveil a taboo subject which often is invisible to the locals. She then explores the themes in collaborative and improvisational methods often based on classical texts but ascued to transmit the main subject of research. Her Swedish Uncle Vanya took on ideas of “forced” inheritance and gender equalities, Our Class in Vilnius with local history of genocide and Icelandic “Salka Valka” with a subject of incest and overwhelming sexual child abuse in a local society. All of her international productions since 2013 have been awarded Best Director award in respective countries. Ross is the first female director to work on legendary Volksbuehne stage in Berlin (Macbeth 2008) and first and still the only female director who won the Golden Cross for best performance in Lithuania (2014, 2019)

She now is part of the artistic team at Schauspielhaus Zurich where during the 3-year tenure she shapes and navigates a state institution together with other seven artists: Trajal Harrel, Wu Tsang, Leoni Boehm, Nicolas Stemann, Alexander Giesche, Suna Geurler and Christopher Rühping. After completing her commitment in 2022 she will embark on a long-term collaboration with Berliner Ensemble.

Ross is currently in pre-production for performance based on David Foster Wallace “Brief interviews with hideous men” — working title “Requiem for Masculinity.” She is creating a strange dream Californian landscape with a bunch of mythical cowboys who take on human personae but perhaps are a reincarnation of greek gods propelling masculine mythology to it’s end. In the same landscape they encounter an Adam/Eve combo represented by two German adult industry performers who literally fuck on stage and also highjack some narratives.

Jeremy O Harris & Amauta Marston-Firmino

We are  excited to host Jeremy O. Harris in conversation with Amauta Marston-Firmino, both YSD ’19 and the playwright and dramaturg of Slave Play. They will have a brief discussion on Jeremy’s essay for the Guardian on the impact of the pandemic on the American theater industry and culture, followed by ample time for questions and dialogue with our group. We invite you to take a few minutes to read Jeremy’s article before our meeting.

Jeremy O. Harris: Full-length plays includeSlave Play (Broadway, New York Theatre Workshop, NYT Critics Pick, Winner of the 2018 Kennedy Center Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, and The Lotos Foundation Prize in the Arts and Sciences), “DADDY” (Vineyard Theatre/The New Group, Almeida Theatre), Black Exhibition (Bushwick Starr), Xander Xyst, Dragon: 1, and WATER SPORTS; or insignificant white boys (published by 53rd State Press). His work has been presented or developed by Pieterspace, JACK, Ars Nova, The New Group, NYTW, Performance Space New York and Playwrights Horizons. In 2018, Jeremy co-wrote A24’s upcoming film Zola with director Janicza Bravo. He is the 11th recipient of the Vineyard Theatre’s Paula Vogel Playwrighting Award, a 2016 MacDowell Colony Fellow, an Orchard Project Greenhouse artist, a resident playwright with Colt Coeur, and is under commission from Lincoln Center Theater and Playwrights Horizons. Jeremy is a graduate of the Yale MFA Playwrighting Program

Jeremy is currently developing a pilot with A24 for HBO.

Amauta Marston-Firmino is a writer and dramaturg who works in film, television, and theater. He was the dramaturg for Slave Play and received his MFA in dramaturgy from Yale School of Drama.

Paige McGinley

Practicing Parallelism: The Freedom Vote of 1963

In November 1963, the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), in cooperation with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), held a massive mock election in Mississippi. Tens of thousands of Black voters, many of whom were disenfranchised by the state, participated, but scholarly and popular histories have tended to pay scant attention to this action. Bringing together performance theory, civil rights-era historiography, and new work in the social sciences, this talk considers the Vote in light of theories and practices of prefigurative politics, wherein activists build “a new world in the shell of the old.”

Paige McGinley is Associate Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, where she directs the graduate program in Theater and Performance Studies. Her book, Staging the Blues: From Tent Shows to Tourism (Duke UP, 2014) was the recipient of the Errol Hill Award and the John W. Frick Book Award.

Nahuel Telleria


“Becoming Boezzio: Exemplary Bodies and the Ethics of Memory in Postdictatorship Argentina


Museums typically display inert objects, and theaters present live bodies. But what happens when exhibitions have minds of their own? When what used to be still is? In the play Museo Miguel Ángel Boezzio (Miguel Ángel Boezzio Museum, 1998), a Malvinas veteran gives a lecture performance about his life while expectant audience members await the revelation of a secret history that never comes into being. Tied to the recent past of disappearances, war, and military dictatorship in Argentina between 1976 and 1983, the veteran’s exemplary body testifies to his survival and the recurring nature of national trauma. By affording him a stage and platform, playwright and director Federico León reflects on the logic (or illogic) of museum curation and puts the country’s troubled memory politics on display.


Nahuel Telleria is a doctoral candidate in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale School of Drama. His research looks at the confessional attributes that structure postdictatorship Argentine theater in relationship to the socioeconomic contexts of democratic return and financial collapse. He has an MFA from Yale, an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago, and is the recipient of a 2019 Fulbright Research Grant. Alongside his scholarly endeavors, Nahuel works as a freelance dramaturg, translator, and writer.

Michael Portnoy//April 27th, 2021

In his artist’s talk, Portnoy will trace the themes and approaches that animate his work: his participatory projects based in his method of “Relational Stalinism”; his sustained engagement with experimental comedy; and his method of generative satire aimed at the “improvement” of visual art performance practices.  Along the way, he’ll reflect on the entanglement of language, movement (ie, dance and behavior), and theory in the creation of his performances.

Michael Portnoy (b. 1971, Washington, DC, USA) is a New York-based artist. Coming from a background in dance and stand-up comedy, his performance-based work employs a variety of media: from participatory installations to sculpture, painting, writing, theater, video and curation. Portnoy is largely concerned with manipulating language and behavior as a tool for world-bending – either in his “Relational Stalinist” game structures in which confusion, complication, and ambiguity are used to stretch participants’ speech and movement; or his quest to “improve” existing breeds of art through re-engineering. He has presented internationally in museums, art galleries, theatres and music halls, including recently Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Austria (2019 & 2018); Witte de With, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2016); the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2015); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2014); Cricoteka, Krakow, Poland (2014); Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2013); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2013); The Kitchen, New York, USA (2013); dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel, Germany (2012); 11th Baltic Triennial (co-curator), Vilnius, Lithuania (2012); and the Taipei Biennial, Taipei, Taiwan (2010).


LaMarr Jurelle Bruce May 4, 2021


This talk begins with an incident in 2004 on the set of Chappelle’s Show. Performing a satirical blackface sketch, Dave Chappelle heard what sounded like a sinister inflection in a crewmember’s laughter. The moment engendered both a snap and a click for Chappelle, who realized that his comedy might inadvertently endorse antiblackness. He became disillusioned with fame, abandoned the third season of his show, reneged on a lucrative contract, absconded from America altogether, and headed to South Africa. Remarkably, tabloid media and public discussion insinuated that he went crazy and went to Africa—as though the two were parallel journeys—evoking racist tropes of Africa as epicenter of unReason and savagery. In this presentation, I examine the specter of madness within Chappelle’s performance repertoire and public persona. In particular, I read his comical threats that he might lose his mind; his satires of the madness of white supremacy and black abjection; the tabloid allegations that he had gone mad; his affinities with the iconoclastic comedian and self-avowed “crazy nigger,” Richard Pryor; and his journey across a mad diaspora.


Bio:  La Marr Jurelle Bruce, Ph.D. is an interdisciplinary humanities scholar, cultural and literary critic, black/Black studies devotee, first-generation college graduate, and Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. At UMD, he is also a faculty affiliate in African American Studies; Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies; and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies.

Dr. Bruce studies and teaches black expressive culture and creativity across literature, film, music, theatre, and the art and aesthetics of quotidian black life. Throughout his work, he is especially attentive to blackness and feeling: the phenomenological, affective, erotic, psychic, and sensuous experience of life across the diaspora. More broadly, his interests include popular culture studies, queer theory, disability studies, mad studies, performance theory, psychoanalysis, and theories and praxes of love. He cultivated these interests while earning his B.A. in African American Studies and English & Comparative Literature from Columbia University and his Ph.D. in African American Studies and American Studies from Yale University.

Winner of the Joe Weixlmann Award from African American Review, Dr. Bruce also has work featured or forthcoming in American Quarterly, The Black Scholar, GLQ, Oxford Bibliographies in African American Studies, Social Text, and TDR: The Drama Review as well as the anthologies No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies (Duke University Press) and The Mad Studies Reader (Routledge Press). Along the way, Dr. Bruce has earned grants and fellowships from the Beinecke Library at Yale University, the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia, the Ford Foundation, the Fund for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale, the Graduate School at the University of Maryland, the Mellon Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Summer Institute on Tenure and Professional Advancement at Duke University. In 2018, he delivered the Stirling Lecture in the Department of English at Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Bruce’s first book, How to Go Mad without Losing Your Mind: Madness and Black Radical Creativity, is forthcoming from Duke University Press. How to Go Mad is a study of black artists who mobilize madness in innovative literature and performance—and more broadly, in radical art-making, self-making, and world-making. His second project, The Afromantic, will generate a cultural history, critical theory, and existential expression of black joy and love amid antiblackness.

Big Art Group

Caden will discuss the history of Big Art Group, their works, and their framework for building and executing their performances. In the realization of the work, the company developed several strategies and techniques for performance training. Among these are Real-Time Film; Movement-based training in awareness of the video camera and its frame; and strategies for mediated presence. Caden will also discuss the company’s tactics of Queering Character: creating a character that exists only as an assemblage of the effort of several actors working as a group, negotiating representation from moment to moment, and existing as a cyborg.
Caden Manson is a performance and media artist, co-founder of the performance/media ensemble Big Art Group, editor at Contemporary Performance, and curates the annual Special Effects Festival in NYC. Caden has co-created, directed, media and set designed 22 Big Art Group productions; shown video installations in Austria, Germany, NYC, and Portland; and performed PAIN KILLER in Berlin, Singapore, and Vietnam. Big Art Group has toured throughout Europe and North North America and has been co-produced by the Vienna Festival, Festival d’Automne a Paris, Hebbel Am Ufer, Rome’s La Vie de Festival, and Wexner Center for The Arts. Manson is a Foundation For Contemporary Art Fellow, Pew Fellow, and a MacDowell Fellow. and has been published in PAJ, Theater Magazine, Theater der Zeit, and Theater Journal. Caden is the Director of The Theatre Program at Sarah Lawrence College BA, MFA