The Drama Interest Group (DIG) is an interdisciplinary group focused on the discussion, study and practice of diverse theater practices. Based at the University of Michigan, DIG brings together faculty and graduate students from the departments of English, Theatre, History, Romance Languages and Literatures, Classics, Asian Languages and Literatures, in addition to several other departments (fourteen in total) to share and discuss the eclectic ideas that lie within theater and performance.
The Drama Interest Group invites you to attend a lecture and a graduate workshop by Kim Solga
Lecture: “Realism After Neoliberalism: on Katie Mitchell'sWoman Killed With Kindness”
February 17, 3pm, 3154 Angell Hall
Neoliberal statecraft; realist stagecraft: there's no love lost between performance scholars and either of these institutional symptoms of a stultifying modernity. But what if our longtime assumptions about the retrograde, conservative nature of stage realism have been too quick to dismiss the activist potential of Henrik Ibsen et al? Drawn from my new book project, and focused on the provocative case of Katie Mitchell's 2011 adaptation of Thomas Heywood's A Woman Killed With Kindness as bourgeois naturalism, this talk will make the case for the contemporary re-imagining of avant-garde realist dramaturgy and technique as one provisional but powerful artistic response to the social tyranny of neoliberal globalisation. The talk will be followed by a Q&A and a refreshment break.
Workshop: “The Activist Classroom: in theory and in practice”
February 17, 4:30pm, 3154 Angell Hall
Since March 2013 I've been writing a blog, titled The Activist Classroom (find me on Wordpress). In it I reflect on what it means to be a teacher who activates my students - critically, socially, politically. But what does an "activist" teacher do, exactly? What strategies does she employ? What are - or should be? - the limits of classroom activism? What more should we be doing? This workshop will offer a chance for student teachers/professors-in-training to think critically about their own pedagogical practice, as well as about broader teaching philosophies and pragmatics, as we share experiences and tips, talk about what teaching undergraduate students in the arts means right now, and consider the crucial role of mentorship in the process of professorial training. This workshop is open to all graduate students and faculty interested in discussing the possible intersections between activism and teaching.
Kim Solga is Senior Lecturer in Drama at Queen Mary, University of London. Her books include Violence Against Women in Early Modern Performance: Invisible Acts (2009; ppb 2013), the linked volumes New Canadian Realisms (2012), as well asPerformance and the City (2009; ppb 2011) and Performance and the Global City (2013), both edited with D.J. Hopkins. With Roberta Barker she is the co-editor of the Winter 2013 issue of Shakespeare Bulletin, focused on contemporary early modern performance and realist praxis, and she has two new articles on Middleton and Rowley's The Changeling forthcoming (in Bennett and Polito's Performing Environments, and in Jannarone's Vanguards of the Right). The recipient of the 2009 Marilyn Robinson Award for Excellence in Teaching from Western University, Canada, Kim blogs about teaching, learning, and political activism at http://theactivistclassroom.wordpress.com.
Every year, the Drama Interest Group hosts writing workshops for graduate students. These involve short sessions where graduate students and faculty gather to discuss dissertation chapters and other forms of writing in an informal setting with an eye toward developing the work.
Several graduate students have participated and have found the feedback helpful.
We will be continuing the practice this year and are seeking interested participants. The workshops can happen anywhere between February and May and should involve one chapter for which you would like feedback. Please contact the faculty sponsor E.J. Westlake (email@example.com), or the graduate student coordinators Lucía Naser (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Lauren Eriks (email@example.com) for more information.
dissertation chapter/essay/creative writing/performance workshops for graduate students (ongoing, please consider participating. Just send us a request to workshop something!)
visit from feminist activist and early modern scholar Kim Solga (February) mini-conference of regional scholars such as Koritha Mitchell, Ann Folino White, Elizabeth Mullenix, Jonathan Chambers, and Claudia Wier (March 29th)
co-sponsorship with the Orientations Working Group of a visit from scholar of Chinese performance Robert Bickers (April 1-3)
Department of Theatre & Drama to offer options for graduate students:
I wanted to also mention that the Department of Theatre & Drama is committed to offering options for graduate students to take courses in our department. Some DIG members have found that they can approach individual professors about adding graduate sections of courses, especially those upper-level undergraduate courses that have small enrollments. Several of our combination grad-undergrad courses have been quite successful, including Postmodernism and Performance, offered last term. Please be sure to peruse our offerings.
Theatre Research Symposia:
Thursday, November 21st, 5:00-6:00 pm, Mbala Nkanga "Blackness and Black Performers on the Parisian Stage, 1886-1960"
Tuesday, December 3rd, 5:00-6:00 pm, Anita Gonzalez "Black Sea Acts: New Research in Maritime Performance"
Thursday, January 23rd, 5:00-6:00 pm, E.J. Westlake "The Last Escape of Billy the Kid: Dramatizing Biography and the Corpse on Trial"
Thursday, February 13th, 5:00-6:00 pm, Leigh Woods "Shakespeare and Me."
Lectures will take place on North Campus - 2439 Walgreen Drama Center
Music/Performativity/Politics: Writing at the Intersections
with recent alumni Katherine Steele Brokaw and Jennifer Solheim
Tuesday, March 26, 5:00 pm 3222 Angell Hall
"Tudor Musical Theater: Nicholas Udall's Respublica" Katherine Steele Brokaw Assistant Professor - School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts University of California-Merced
In 1553, the Catholic Queen Mary had just taken the throne in England, and no one know to what extent she would restore the old musical church rites that had been expunged under her Protestant brother (King Edward VI). This same year, Nicholas Udall's political morality play Respublica was performed at court by a group of choirboys. While most critics have seen this play as deliberately avoiding religious controversy, I argue that the play's music obliquely addresses matters of church politics and doctrine. Udall's strategy is one of dissimulation: characters, actors, and playwright are all cloaked in various disguises, making the play's religious messages multivocal and thus able to appeal variously to audience members of mixed religious sympathies. The play thus uses the tools of music and theater to urge the Queen towards compromise on such ecclesiastical matters. While she ultimately ignored this suggestion (thus earning her nickname "Bloody Mary" for her prosecution of Protestants) Respublica reveals the extent to which the first year of her reign offered the possibility of social concord, thereby complicating received notions of this period.
“Beirut Calling: Lebanese Avant Jazz in Global and French Mediterranean Contexts” Jennifer Solheim Visiting Scholar, Department of French and Francophone Studies University of Illinois—Chicago
On the night of July 15-16, 2006, avant jazz trumpeter Mazen Kerbaj set up his recording equipment on the balcony of his apartment in Ras Beirut, Lebanon, and began to record an improvised piece, using the sights and sounds of Israeli bombs as accompaniment. The resulting composition, which can be found on Kerbaj’s blog (kerblog.com), is a recording called “Starry Night.”
In this presentation, I analyze “Starry Night” through two contexts. First, I read the piece itself as an urgent call to the global community to take action against the Israeli bombings of Lebanon in the summer of 2006. Second, I look at the translation of Kerbaj’s blog into French for a print edition published by the Paris-based graphic novel publishers L’Association in 2007. With this second reading, I address the ways that “Starry Night” serves to oppose social assumptions of Arab masculinity as inherently violent.
Sponsored by the Drama Interest Group a Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop based in the Department of English Language and Literature For information contact EJ Westlake - firstname.lastname@example.org
Every year, the Drama Interest Group hosts dissertation chapter writing workshops for graduate students. These involve short sessions where graduate students and faculty gather to discuss previously distributed chapters in an informal setting.
Several graduate students have participated and have found the feedback helpful.
We will be continuing the practice this year and are seeking interested participants. The workshops can happen anywhere between January and May and should involve one chapter for which you would like feedback. Please contact the DIG graduate coordinator, Lucía Naser email@example.com for more information.
The Drama Interest Group is a Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop.