College of Fine Arts and Communication


COFAC Colloquium

COFAC Colloquium 17 — Friday, April 13, 2012 — Dance Studio Theatre, CFA 1003

“Fulbright in Russia”

Theatre Experiences in Moscow

Robyn Quick, Professor & Chair, Department of Theatre Arts

Abstract

I had been selected as a Senior Fulbright Scholar, and assigned to a position in Moscow. The Fulbright Foundation aims to promote mutual understanding among citizens of the US and those of other countries. I had proposed to the foundation that I would promote Cultural Understanding through Dramaturgy. To that end, I was invited to teach at the Russian State University for the Humanities. I offered two courses: Contemporary US Drama: A dramaturgical Study, and Shakespeare’s Language in Performance: A Dramaturgical Study of Hamlet. Although the students were initially taken aback by my unfamiliar practices ­ such as my excessively lengthy 2-page syllabus and my expectation that they would attend class at the same day and time each week ­ they grew to appreciate the experience, and our discussion of plays led to some wonderful conversations about life and culture. My engagement with American drama in Moscow also took the form of some work at a professional theatre, as I directed a staged reading of Yury Klavdiev’s Russian translation of Suzan-Lori Parks’ The Book of Grace. Here too, my new friends and I made fascinating discoveries about each others’ worlds though our discussion of plays and our rehearsal process. Perhaps most satisfying were the moments of connection we found. I recall most fondly the reception after the performance, in which a Russian director raised his glass and toasted me for directing “a very Russian play.” While in Russia, I also wrote two short articles, attended numerous plays, lectures and conferences, and tweeted about my experiences as the invited guest one week on the web site of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas. Although my main focus was on my duties in Moscow, I remained in constant email (and sometimes Skype) contact with Tom Cascella in order to understand, and sometimes contribute to, ongoing conversations in the department.

“Changing Roles of Body in Japanese Theatre”

Naoko Maeshiba, Associate Professor, Department of Theatre Arts

Abstract

Professsor Maeshiba will share her experience of learning the techniques of Noh, a 600-year old Japanese theatre form. She will give her perspective on the role of this traditional art form in a contemporary context, and how the relationship between language and body has been changing in Japanese theatre. The presentation will end in her demonstration of a noh dance from a play called Atsumori.

“Social Media and Disability Rights Activism:

Is the Internet Finally Providing ‘Liberating Technology?’”

Beth Haller, Professor, Department of Mass Communication & Communication Studies

Abstract

In the 1990s, media and disability scholar Jack Nelson wrote often about the new technology he felt would be change the lives of many people with disabilities. In particular, he saw the Internet as a game changer, with its ability to allow people with disabilities to better access the social world without leaving their home computer. The Internet was heralded as the “liberating technology” that allowed people with disabilities to be less isolated, as well as a way for people with disabilities to interact with others with fewer barriers. This presentation argues that current disability activism that uses social media is fulfilling the promise of the Internet and cyberspace as a “liberating technology.” The add-on of mobile phone technology and its applications, as well as the ease of joining social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, have combined to truly bring together the global disability community for activism, information exchange, and enjoyable social interaction. Social media has reinvigorated some disability rights activism, as well as fostering more interaction within the disability community regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, disability or geography. Social media allow disability advocates to use vast global networks of “friends” or “followers” to better promote the issues or events important to them.

 

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