Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Peter Erickson "The Significance of Shakespeare's Whiteness"

The Early Modern Colloquium and the Drama Interest Group, together with the Department of English and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, invite you to attend a lecture by 

Peter Erickson

"The Significance of Shakespeare's Whiteness"
November 20th, 4:00pm, 3222 Angell Hall

Light refreshments will be served


Graduate students are also invited to attend a workshop with Peter Erickson at 9am on Nov. 21st in 3184 Angell Hall. Please email Elizabeth Mathie at to receive a copy of the precirculated paper "Bending toward Justice: From Shakespeare's Black Mediterranean to August Wilson's Black Atlantic." Coffee and breakfast will be served.

Peter Erickson is a senior lecturer in the department of Theater and a faculty affiliate in African American Studies at Northwestern University. He is the author of several books, including Citing Shakespeare: The Reinterpretation of Race in Contemporary Literature and Art (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), and has co-edited two volumes on the study of race in the early modern period entitled Early Modern Visual Culture: Representation, Race, and Empire in Renaissance England (U Penn Press, 2000) and Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare's Othello (MLA, 2005). He is currently working on a book project entitled Transfiguring Race: Racial Iconographies in Cross-Historical Perspective. In his lecture and workshop, he will be presenting contributions in progress intended for two larger projects: Arthur Little's White People in Shakespeare and David Ruiter's Shakespeare and Social Justice. Peter Erickson has written numerous essays on reading, teaching, and studying race in Shakespeare; on early modern visual culture; and on Shakespeare and contemporary theater.

Both the Early Modern Colloquium and the Drama Interest Group are Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshops and would like to thank Rackham for their generous support.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Sister Helen Prejean on Campus for Dead Man Walking

The School of Music, Theatre & Dance welcomes author Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, on Thursday, November 13 at 3PM in Rackham Auditorium, where she will present a lecture, "Dead Man Walking, the Journey Continues," as part of the Sally Fleming Master Class series. The event is free and open to the public.

The presentation is in conjunction with SMTD performances of the opera Dead Man Walking, which take place November 13 at 7:30PM, November 14 and 15 at 8PM, and November 16 at 2PM at the Power Center for the Performing Arts in Ann Arbor. Sister Prejean will also lead a post-show discussion following the Thursday evening performance.

Directed by associate professor Kay Walker Castaldo, the Dead Man Walking performances feature the University Symphony Orchestra under the baton of guest conductor Jerome Shannon. The production is double cast and will be sung in English with projected English supertitles.

Monday, November 3, 2014

General Membership Meeting

The Drama Interest Group general meeting will be on Friday Nov 7th at 3pm in 2439 Walgreen Drama Center. Hope to see you there!

The Drama Interest Group is a Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop primarily for graduate students, but also for members of the university community interested in drama and performance. Our activities include bringing guests to speak about their latest research, seeing theatre and discussing the performance together, and particularly conducting essay and dissertation chapter writing workshops for graduate students at all levels.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Upcoming DIG Writing Workshops

On April 21th at 5pm we will discuss the paper Unpacking Identity and its Miscellaneous Baggage by Carisa Bledsoe (Interarts - SMTD).

Time: 5pm
Location: MLB 2104
Invited Faculty: Holly Hughes

Unpacking Identity and its Miscellaneous Baggage is the written component of Carisa´s thesis performance: What the Tide Brought In.

What the Tide Brought In, a solo performance by Carisa Bledsoe.
Venue: Duderstadt Video Studio* Dates and Times: April 17th at 8pm and April 18th at 6pm and 8pm.  *Note: Seating will be first come first served and will be limited; please arrive early.

Carisa Bledsoe is an interdisciplinary performance artist who will graduate with a BFA in Interarts Performance, from the School of Theatre, Music, and Dance and the School of Art and Design in May.

Please let us know if you are coming so we can send you this paper.
For questions/concerns please contact:

On April 24th we will discuss  “Wooden Wars” – new Yiddish play about Polish-Jewish relationships by Jana Mazurkiewicz

Time: 6pm 
Location: 2439 - Walgreen Center 

About Joanna Mazurkiewicz:
Joanna Mazurkiewicz developed a strong interest in the “rejected daughter of Jewish culture” (Yiddish theatre). As a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan, she continues her research into American Yiddish culture and contributes to its rich tradition through her multilingual play about Polish-Jewish relationships, the main language being Yiddish, in addition to English and Polish. The title of the play is Wooden Wars (“Hiltserne Milkhomes” in Yiddish and “Drewniane Wojny” in Polish). The play is slated to open in December 2014 and is expected to attract audiences from a wide range of backgrounds: Polish, Polish-American, Jewish, non-Jewish, and general theatre enthusiasts. The main goal to demonstrate that Yiddish can be revived not only in academia but also in the arts. Mazurkiewicz strives to encourage a discussion about a revival of Yiddish as a stage language and as a means of exploring the current state of Polish-Jewish relationships. 

For questions/concerns please contact:

The Drama Interest Group is a Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Process-Practice-Pedagogy, a DIG Symposium

Saturday, March 29th
Schedule of Events

Opening Remarks: 10:00-10:05 AM, Studio 2 
E.J. Westlake, Sponsor of the Drama Interest Group
Leigh Woods, Head of Theatre Studies

Session #1: 10:05-11:30 AM, Studio 2
Moderator: Leigh Woods
Juliet Guzzetta (Michigan State University) "The Theater of Narration: Italy, History, Performance."
Mbala Nkanga (University of Michigan), "The Tree of Knowledge and the Archeology of a Performance: Mvett"
E.J. Westlake (University of Michigan), "The Last Escape of Billy the Kid: Dramatizing Biography and the Corpse on Trial"

Session #2: 11:35 AM-1:00 PM, Studio 2
Early Modern Shifts
Moderator: Mbala Nkanga
Claudia Rene Wier, (York University, Toronto) "Shifty Identities in the Gestural Dynamics of the Commedia dell’Arte."
Leigh Woods, (University of Michigan) "Shakespeareland"
Dan Smith, (Michigan State University) "Cloistered Pleasures: Libertine Drama and the History of Play Reading."

Session #3: 2:05-3:25 PM, Studio 2
Moderator: Shelly Manis
Elizabeth Reitz Mullenix (Miami University), Barnum's Woman in [Red,] White [and Blue]: Carnival, Intertext, and the Performance of Nationhood."
Koritha Mitchell (Ohio State University), "Home as Civil Right: A Raisin in the Sun."
Ann Folino White (Michigan State University), "Cooking with the Stars: Celebrity and Consumer Culture in Early-Twentieth Century Cookbooks."

Session #4: 3:30-5:00 PM, Studio 2
Moderator: E.J. Westlake
Jonathan Chambers (Bowling Green State University), "Revising Homer: Rinde Eckert’s Highway Ulysses."
Abigail Dotz (University of Michigan) and Travis Ross (The Vintage Mojo), "Accessing Agamemnon: Communicating a Classic Through Modern Media."
Shelly Manis (University of Michigan), "Grave Robbing or Savvy Revision? What Happened when Kushner Revised Homebody/Kabul."

Saturday, March 8, 2014


The Department of Theatre & Drama and the Drama Interest Group present Agamemnon.

Directed by theatre professor Dr. E.J. Westlake, UM's Agamemnon is Aeschylus' classic Greek play with a modern twist. This production turns the world of Aeschylus on its head - full of modern day politics and scandal which highlights the timelessness of Aeschylus' famous play. Performances take in the Video Studio of the Duderstadt Center March 14th and 15th at 7:30. For more information, please follow us on twitter (@UMAgamemnon), on facebook (U of M Agamemnon) or at our website:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kim Soga visits UofM presenting: “Realism After Neoliberalism: on Katie Mitchell'sWoman Killed With Kindness” and “The Activist Classroom: in theory and in practice”.

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

Friday, January 17, 2014

Get your dissertation (or article, or research paper, or creative writing piece) on!

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 (, or the graduate student coordinators Lucía Naser ( and Lauren Eriks (  for more information.