Jan Sládek

Jan Sládek

By Haley Ritzert

The exhibit Shakespeare in Prague: Imagining the Bard in Central Europe is running at the Columbus Museum of Art through May 21. The exhibit features the work of various Czech and Slovak theatre artists and designers, including materials from the Jarka Burian Collection and the Czech Theatre Collection held by The Ohio State University Libraries’ Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute.

This post is fifth in a series highlighting designers in the Burian and Czech Theatre collections whose work is featured in the Shakespeare exhibit at CMA. Previous artists include Čestmír Pechr, Ladislav Vychodil, František Tröster, and Marta Roszkopfová.
This post’s featured artist is set and costume designer Jan Sládek. Sládek was born in 1906 in the Czech village of Malý Kunčice. He studied business in nearby Ostrava and, in 1930, began to work as a designer at the National Theatre in Moravian Ostrava. From 1937 to 1944, he collaborated with various theatres in Prague, including the National Theatre. In May 1945, he founded the Realistic Theatre in Prague on Smíchova and was its administrative director after 1950. He continued to design regularly for the Realistic Theatre into the 1970s. The Czechoslovak government honored Sládek for his work in the 1950s and 1960s.

Although he belongs to the same generation as Tröster, Sládek’s work is more decorative and illustrative, and less abstract. This is evident in his 1962 set design for The Merchant of Venice, which is featured in the Shakespeare in Prague exhibit. Sládek’s Merchant of Venice forced perspective design, pictured below, evokes a Venetian canal-street with bridge-like arches above it. The sky and the water are similarly colored and lead to the same central vanishing point, creating the impression of a void in the center of the set.

Sládek's Merchant of Venice

Sládek’s Merchant of Venice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Sládek Shakespeare designs held in the Czech Theatre Collection include costume designs for Desdemona, Cassio, Emilia, and Roderigo from Othello.  

Desdemona

Desdemona

Cassio

Cassio

Emilia

Emilia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roderigo

Roderig 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The exhibition is organized by the Columbus Museum of Art; The Ohio State University’s College of Arts and Sciences Initiative; the Arts and Theatre Institute, Prague; and the National Museum, Prague.

Works Cited

Jan Sládek, ed. Helena Albertová, Theatre Institute Prague, 1979.

“Shakespeare in Prague.” Columbus Museum of Art. n.d.

 

Haley Ritzert is a senior majoring in history and German with a minor in Slavic languages and literatures. She is currently working at the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute and in Special Collections Descriptions and Access as part of a public history internship course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Work of Marta Roszkopfová

“Reality doesn’t interest me enough to copy it:”

The work of Marta Roszkopfová

By Haley Ritzert

The exhibit Shakespeare in Prague: Imagining the Bard in Central Europe is running at the Columbus Museum of Art through May 21. The exhibit features the work of various Czech and Slovak theatre artists and designers, including materials from the Jarka Burian Collection and the Czech Theatre Collection held by The Ohio State University Libraries’ Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute.

This post is fourth in a series highlighting designers in the Burian Collection whose work will be featured in the Shakespeare exhibit at CMA. Previous artists include Čestmír Pechr, Ladislav Vychodil, and František Tröster.

Marta Roszkopfová

Marta Roszkopfová

 

This post’s featured artist is Slovak set and costume designer Marta Roszkopfová. Roszkopfová was born in 1947 in Žilina, Czechoslovakia. She studied in Brno and worked as a scenographer at the Academy of Performing Arts (VŠMU) in Bratislava, where she studied under Ludmila Purkyňova and Ladislav Vychodil.  Jarka Burian notes that she then spent an influential year in Warsaw studying in the studio of Józef Szajna, a close collaborator with Jerzy Grotowsky.  In 1974, Roszkopfová became a resident designer at the State Theatre in Ostrava. Her work has been exhibited in numerous cities abroad, including Lisbon, Moscow, Budapest, Helsinki, Montreal, and twice in Columbus, currently as part of Shakespeare in Prague. In 1984, she received a gold medal in theatre costume design at the 7th International Triennial at Novi Sad. Scenography scholar Helena Albertová described Roszkopfová’s designs as “full of dramatic tension and dynamics,” exhibiting “metaphoric vision and intensive efforts to discover the essence of the play.” Of her own work, Roszkopfová said, “Reality doesn’t interest me enough to copy it. During work on a production, the unique, unrepeatable reality of the play is what counts most.”

While describing her 1988 set design for Romeo and Juliet, which features two large, round, Hoxhaist-style bunkers, Roszkopfová said that she is interested in “the problem of human suffering and maturation in the tolerant, liberal individual. I am interested in what it is that makes us slaves, although we think that we have a lot in our own hands; what makes us vulnerable, although we have the feeling that we are armored.” The bunkers represent the limitations placed on Romeo and Juliet by their parents, Roszkopfová says, and were inspired by news coming out of Gaza at the time. Roszkopfová saw a connection between the story of forbidden love and the setting in “another part of the world that had been sectioned off, where love and mutual affection and respect bloom between individuals of feuding regions, not just feuding families.” The design is reminiscent of a war zone, with trails of red in the black sky evoking both rocket smoke and blood.

Romeo and Juliet 1988 Set Design

Romeo and Juliet 1988 Set Design

Roszkopfová is still active in theatre. During the 2017-2018 season, she is designing costumes for eight productions, including Anna Bolena (Anne Boleyn) and Jesus Christ Superstar at the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava, Czech Republic. She is also designing sets for three of these productions.

Shakespeare in Prague: Imagining the Bard in Central Europe is organized by the Columbus Museum of Art; The Ohio State University’s College of Arts and Sciences Initiative; the Arts and Theatre Institute, Prague; and the National Museum, Prague.

Works Cited

Helena Albertová, biographical sketch of Marta Roszkopfová, circa 1994. Folder 14, box 4, series 1, Jarka Burian Collection, Theatre Research Institute, The Ohio State University.

Jarka Burian, Leading Creators of Twentieth-Century Czech Theatre. London: Routledge, 2002.

Marta Roszkopfová, letter to Jarka Burian, 1994. Folder 14, box 4, series 1, Jarka Burian Collection.

“Marta Roszkopfová, Guest of the Opera.” Czech National Theatre. 2017.

“Marta Roszkopfová.” National Moravian-Silesian Theatre. 2017.

“Shakespeare in Prague.” Columbus Museum of Art. n.d.

Haley Ritzert is a senior majoring in history and German with a minor in Slavic languages and literatures. She is currently working at the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute and in Special Collections Descriptions and Access as part of a public history internship course.

 

 

František Tröster: Space, Metaphor, Irony

FRANTIŠEK TRÖSTER: SPACE, METAPHOR, IRONY

By Haley Ritzert

Stage design for Romeo and Juliet

Stage design for Romeo and Juliet

 

 

From February 10 to May 21, Columbus Museum of Art will be presenting the exhibit Shakespeare in Prague: Imagining the Bard in Central Europe. The exhibit will feature the work of various Central European theatre artists and designers, including materials from the Jarka Burian Collection and the Czech Theatre Collection held by The Ohio State University Libraries’ Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute.

This post is third in a series highlighting designers in the Burian Collection whose work will be featured in the Shakespeare exhibit at CMA.

This week’s featured artist is Czech scenographer František Tröster. Tröster was born in northern Bohemia in 1904 and studied architecture in Prague from 1924-1931. Despite his architectural education, Tröster became a professional set designer in the early 1930s. After WWII, he was one of the founding members of the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (Divadelní fakulta Akademie múzických umění, or DAMU). He was named a National Artist by the Czechoslovak government and in 1958, he received the gold medal for best scenographer at the São Paulo Art Biennial.

Tröster’s work was influenced by German Expressionism, French Surrealism and Russian Constructivism. Tröster’s designs are defined by his shaping and dynamization of space. He introduced Modernism into Czech theatre design during the 1930s and 1940s, although from 1948-1956 his work took a more conservative turn. Following Khrushchev’s 1956 denunciation of Stalin, he influenced the development of a modern, abstract, and evocative style known simply as Scenography. Scenography continued to influence Czech stage design through the remainder of the Communist era and still influences it today. Tröster is regarded as one of the most influential Czech scenographers of the 20th century. His work has influenced set and costume designers alike in the Czech and Slovak Republics.

Tröster’s work is representative of the “Czech national consciousness composed equally of the grotesque and the ridiculous, Franz Kafka and Soldier Švejk, metaphor and irony.” (Unruh)  His designs and the work of people inspired by him were presented in the exhibit Metaphor and Irony 2, curated by Helena Albertová and Joe Brandesky. The exhibit ran 2004-2005 in galleries at The Ohio State University, Bowling Green State University, the University of Toledo, and the University of the Incarnate Word. It featured designs from the major movements in 20th century Czech theatre: Modernism, Scenography, Action Design, and Imagism.

Staircase design for The Winter's Tale

Staircase design for The Winter’s Tale

Moon over Cemetery design for The Winter's Tale

Moon over Cemetery design for The Winter’s Tale 

Empty room design for The Winter's Tale

Empty room design for The Winter’s Tale

 

Three stage designs for The Winter’s Tale: “Staircase,” “Moon over cemetery,” and “Empty room”

 

Four original designs by Tröster’s from the Czech Theatre Collection are featured in the Shakespeare in Prague exhibit: three designs for a production of The Winter’s Tale, as well as a set design for Romeo and Juliet. The Jarka Burian collection contains photographs of several of Tröster’s designs throughout his career including for Hamlet, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, and Macbeth.

The exhibition is organized by the Columbus Museum of Art; The Ohio State University’s College of Arts and Sciences Initiative; the Arts and Theatre Institute, Prague; and the National Museum, Prague.

 

Works Cited

 

“František Tröster” in Metaphor and Irony 2: František Tröster and Contemporary Czech Theatre Design. 2004.

Vladimír Jindra, “František Tröster” in Divadelní noviny, 1 January 1969.

“Shakespeare in Prague.” Columbus Museum of Art. n.d.

Del Unruh, “Modernism to Imagism,” in Metaphor and Irony 2: František Tröster and Contemporary Czech Theatre Design. 2004.

Marie Zdeňková, “Authority, Playfulness, Metaphor and Irony,” in Metaphor and Irony 2: František Tröster and Contemporary Czech Theatre Design. 2004.

 

Haley Ritzert is a senior majoring in history and German with a minor in Slavic languages and literatures. She is currently working at the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute and in Special Collections Descriptions and Access as part of a public history internship course.

 

THE IDEATIONAL HORIZON: THE WORK OF LADISLAV VYCHODIL

THE IDEATIONAL HORIZON:

THE WORK OF LADISLAV VYCHODIL

By Haley Ritzert

From February 10 to May 21, Columbus Museum of Art will be presenting the exhibit “Shakespeare in Prague: Imagining the Bard in Central Europe.” The exhibit will feature the work of various Central European theatre artists and designers, including materials from the Jarka Burian Collection and the Czech Theatre Collection held by The Ohio State University Libraries’ Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute.

This post is second in a series highlighting designers in the Burian Collection whose work will be featured in the Shakespeare exhibit at CMA.

Ladislav Vychodil

Ladislav Vychodil

 

One of the featured artists is Slovak scenographer Ladislav Vychodil, who worked at the Slovak National Theatre from 1945 until 1999. He also established and served as principal professor of the Department of Scenic Arts at the Bratislava Academy of Fine Arts for over 15 years. His work in Czechoslovakia and abroad brought international attention to what Jarka Burian described as “the individual character of Slovak stage design,” noting that it is conceptually different from Czech scenography. Vychodil was a National Artist of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and in 1980, his designs were the centerpiece of an exhibition celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Slovak National Theatre.

Ladislav Vychodil designs

Ladislav Vychodil Design

 

Vychodil’s set design for the Slovak National Theatre’s 1980 production of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Katerina Ismailova (also known as Lady Macbeth of the Mtensk District), pictured above, is featured in the Shakespeare in Prague exhibit. The artistic, somewhat abstract design demonstrates several characteristics typical of Vychodil’s work, as described by Vychodil to Jarka Burian: an “ideational horizon,” with the horizon disappearing into red suggestive of both a sunset and spilled blood; an “inner cylinder” with “lines or ribs extending to lines of force, like a magnet, to the floor, creating a basic space,” and a “functional stage.” The swing Ismailova sits on is part of the functional stage, held up by a round, half-cylindrical structure around her.

The Jarka Burian Collection has extensive holdings on Vychodil and his work, with no less than forty-five of his productions represented including notable productions of the works of Franz Kafka, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Václav Havel. His Shakespeare designs include The Comedy of Errors, Hamlet, Richard III, Twelfth Night, and Romeo and Juliet.  The Burian Collection holds several of Vychodil’s drawings for Romeo and Juliet (Den Norske Teatret, Oslo, 1985) which Burian describes as a synthesis of the scenographer’s ideational cyclorama and functional stage.

Romeo and Juliet Design

Romeo and Juliet Design

 

The exhibition is organized by the Columbus Museum of Art; The Ohio State University’s College of Arts and Sciences Initiative; the Arts and Theatre Institute, Prague; and the National Museum, Prague.

Works Cited

60th anniversary announcement. Slovak National Theatre. 1980.

Jarka Burian. “Notes on the Slovak Scenographer Ladislav Vychodil.” n.d.

Jarka Burian. “Entry for encyclopedia.” n.d.

Jarka Burian. “Ladislav Vychodil’s Scenography Abroad.” n.d.

“Shakespeare in Prague.” Columbus Museum of Art. n.d.

Ladislav Vychodil, interviewed by Jarka Burian, circa late 1980s.

 

Haley Ritzert is a senior majoring in history and German with a minor in Slavic languages and literatures. She is currently working at the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute and in Special Collections Descriptions and Access as part of a public history internship course.

 

 

 

Shakespeare in Prague and Bratislava: The work of Čestmír Pechr

Shakespeare in Prague and Bratislava:

The work of Čestmír Pechr

By Haley Ritzert

King Lear poster

King Lear poster

From February 10 to May 21, the Columbus Museum of Art will be presenting the exhibit Shakespeare in Prague: Imagining the Bard in Central Europe. The exhibit will feature the work of various Central European theatre artists and designers, including materials from the Jarka Burian Collection and the Czech Theatre Collection held by the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute.

This post is first in a series highlighting designers in the Burian and Czech Theatre collections whose work will be featured in the Shakespeare exhibit at CMA.

One of the featured artists is Slovak graphic designer and scenographer Čestmír Pechr. Pechr studied graphic design in Prague from 1944 to 1947. In 1955, he began working as a designer and advertising graphic designer at the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava. He was one of the most important early designers of theatre posters in Slovakia. His work is notable for its emotional, dramatic, and sometimes grotesque images.

Czech theatre scholar Anna Dvořák writes that Pechr’s “talent for expressing the spirit and mood of a theatrical production is best documented in a series of posters introducing identical symbols–pale hands, for example–in varying degrees of stylization.” Here Dvořák is referring to the pale hands of Pechr’s posters for Richard II, Othello, and Henry IV, which are seen below.

 

Richard II poster

Richard II poster

Othello poster

Othello poster

Henry IV poster

Henry IV poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pechr’s work also includes set designs for plays put on at the Slovak National Theatre, including Hamlet, Henry IV, and The Comedy of Errors. His posters for Shakespeare productions include Henry IV, Timon of Athens, Richard II, Othello, and two designs for King Lear. The Jarka Burian Collection holds the four posters shown here. 

 

The exhibition is organized by the Columbus Museum of Art, The Ohio State University’s College of Arts and Sciences Initiative; the Arts and Theatre Institute, Prague; and the National Museum, Prague.

 

Works Cited

Daubrava, Miroslav. “Čestmír Pechr.” Slovenské národné divadlo. 4 October 2016.

Dvořák, Anna. “Contemporary Czech and Slovak Poster Design.” Ideas 6, no. 1, 1999.

“Shakespeare in Prague.” Columbus Museum of Art. n.d.

Haley Ritzert is a senior majoring in history and German with a minor in Slavic languages and literatures. She is currently working at the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute and in Special Collections Descriptions and Access as part of a public history internship course.

 

 

 

In Remembrance of Vera Blaine

Vera Blaine, teacher, choreographer, dancer, and department chair, passed away peacefully on December 26, 2016.  A celebration of her life will be held on Sunday, January 15, 2017, 1:00 p.m., at the Department of Dance, Sullivant Hall, 1813 North High Street, Columbus, OH.

Vera Blain - Portrait

Vera Blain – Portrait

By Marissa Ajamian

Vera Blaine, affectionately known as Vickie, had an extremely prolific career in the arts and in the Department of Dance at Ohio State. She received both her BS and MA at The Ohio State University and she returned to the University as a professor of dance. She was also the chairperson of the Department of Dance for twelve years. While she was teaching at the Department of Dance, she changed how composition was being taught by introducing the study of weight. These weight studies that Blaine created continue to be taught in the Department of Dance.

Vera Blaine - Heel Talk

Vera Blaine – Heel Talk

Blaine was born in 1934 in Barberton, OH. In her junior year of high school, Blaine joined the Actors Guild of Variety Artists which allowed her to perform in working class clubs in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. After high school, Blaine wanted to become a professional tap dancer. However, her father felt that Blaine should go to college. This led Blaine to study dance at The Ohio State University.

When she registered for classes, Blaine enrolled in modern dance with Helen Alkire who became one of Blaine’s mentors. While Blaine was a student, Alkire took the dancers to the American Dance Festival. At the festival, Blaine took her first composition course with Louis Horst, composition teacher and musical director for Martha Graham. After receiving her Masters at Ohio State, Blaine moved to New York City to study under Horst at the Martha Graham School of Dance. While in New York, she also studied at the Cunningham studio to learn the Cunningham technique and repertory. Her classmates included Yvonne Rainer and Trisha Brown.

Vera Blaine - Teaching

Vera Blaine – Teaching

In the late 1960s, Blaine was offered a teaching position at Ohio State where she was influenced by the work Lucy Venable and Odette Blum were doing with Labanotation. The Laban effort and space work intrigued Blaine which led her to create her composition class around weight studies. She became the leading choreographer and director of the University Dance Company for 15 years. In 1977 she received the Ohio State University Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award. In 1983, Blaine became Chair for the Department of Dance which she remained until 1995. In 1988, she was the first recipient of the Chairperson Recognition Award. In 1996, Blaine received the OhioDance award. In 2005, she became Professor Emerita and taught Composition part-time in the department. In 2006, she received the University’s Distinguished Service Award. Her choreography has been performed by professional dance companies including HARRY, The Bill Evans 2nd Dance Company and the Kinetics Company.

Vera Blaine had a major impact on The Ohio State University’s Department of Dance. She was a mentor for many of the students of the department and helped to shape their ideas on composition. Her weight studies class continues to be used to help students become aware of these weight qualities within their own dancing. Blaine dedicated much of her life to building the Department of Dance and helping to maintain its status as one of the top dance departments in the country.

Marissa Ajamian is an undergraduate in the OSU Department of Dance. This blogpost is excerpted from a major research project she conducted as part of the Second-year Transformational Experience Program (STEP) during summer 2016 on OSU’s Women of Dance. Her research was supervised by Nena Couch and Karen Eliot.

TRI’S 30TH ANNIVERSARY

We are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Lawrence and Lee Institute!

lawrence-and-lee-anniversary

Members of the family here for the celebration on October 23, 2016

On November 7, 1986, the Theatre Research Institute was named in honor of the playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. It has been an exciting 30 years of growth as well as moves from Lincoln Tower where Bob and Jerry are pictured in 1986 to Ackerman to the wonderful renovated Thompson Library.  We recently had the opportunity to celebrate not only this anniversary, but also the 100th birthdays of Lawrence and Lee, in a wonderful event that brought together members of the Lawrence and Lee families from California, Pennsylvania, and D.C.

The following are the remarks given at that event by Nena Couch, who joined the Lawrence and Lee Institute as the founding curator in 1986, acknowledging the playwrights and some of the people present who have been instrumental in building the Institute.

Some of us have had the great pleasure of growing up with Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, studying their plays in school and seeing productions. For those who might not yet have had that experience, we will have a brief window into their work in just a few moments.

lawrence-and-lee

Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee at the Theatre Research Institute at its naming in 1986

In many ways, Jerry and Bob were the theatrical conscience of the country for the many decades of their partnership, from their work in radio to great plays that spoke to human and individual rights, be that individual a free-thinking Mame (Auntie Mame and Mame) who urges us to discover new things about ourselves and the world, a Drummond (Inherit the Wind) whose balancing of the Bible and Darwin shows us that the open and inquiring mind is our champion against censorship, a Countess Aurelia (Dear World) who proves to us that “one person can change the world,” a Supreme Court Justice Dan Snow (First Monday in October) who fights for the light for everyone, or a Thoreau (The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail) who is not afraid to march to a different drummer.  Lawrence and Lee have populated stages all over the world with sometimes serious, sometimes funny, but always passionately committed, individuals.  The playwrights were always enemies of, as they said, “anything which places corsets on our minds or our soaring spirits.”  With that in mind and in their honor, the goal of the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute has been to support research, teaching, and creativity which allow the spirits of our students, faculty, and visiting scholars to soar.

I was very honored to be selected as the first curator of the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute and to have the opportunity to work directly with Bob and Jerry who were inspirational. And many talented and creative individuals have been a part of the Institute’s work over the years.  Some of them are here today, so I would like them to stand as I acknowledge them.

Part of the Lawrence and Lee impact at OSU before the Institute was named for them, David Ayers was executive director of the American Playwrights’ Theatre, a non-profit organization founded by Jerry Lawrence and Bob Lee in 1963 here at Ohio State to promote new plays by established writers for regional and university theatres. David also originated roles in two Lawrence and Lee plays: The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, and Jabberwock.

Alan Woods, director emeritus of the Lawrence and Lee Institute, was my longtime colleague and partner as the Institute made the transition from a departmental collection to a national resource. As the Institute director for 30 of his 38 years of service at OSU, Alan worked to integrate use of collections into student scholarship, was executive editor of Theatre Studies, a journal for graduate theatre students from around the country, initiated the Eileen Heckart playwriting competition to provide new works for older actors, and was an outstanding teacher whose students are now active professionally in a wide range of positions from the academy to commercial theatre to theatre criticism. The Lawrence and Lee Institute as it exists today owes much to Alan’s contributions.

In 2009, theatre professor and resident lighting designer Mary Tarantino stepped into the role of Institute director, and has been a great partner in growing the use of Institute collections within the Theatre curriculum and building the Institute’s programs. Mary’s own courses are a model for embedding primary sources in the classroom, and her work in this arena has been recognized in national presentations and publications. Mary also brings great expertise to the Institute team in theatre design and technology which is a major area of collection growth and use.

Anca Galron, while officially in another OSU Libraries’ department, seemed like she belonged to the Lawrence and Lee Institute. She spent many years cataloging and processing great performing arts materials and bringing her own subject expertise with her master’s in theatre to improve access to our collections.

As the first Lawrence and Lee Institute curator, it was a huge pleasure to be able to welcome Beth Kattelman in 2006 as the Institute’s second curator, the Curator of Theatre, a position made possible by the amazing generous bequest from Jerry Lawrence. Beth has a long history with the Institute from her grad student years when she served as Theatre Studies editor. Following her PhD here, she went on to get the MLS, and came back to us to bring together theatre scholarship, expertise in performance and production, and library qualifications to enrich the Institute. Beth is a brilliant teacher, and engages students in multiple departments with Institute collections in ways that keep bringing them back for more.

We feel that Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee have left us an amazing legacy that guides us as we continue to build the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute, and it is a real honor to be here with the families and all of you to celebrate this first 100 years of their lives and work.

“Theatre is the universal means of expression. It embraces all of the arts through which human minds seek to reach one another.”
Jerome Lawrence, Robert E. Lee – November, 1986

Howdy Doody Marathon

Howdy Doody Marathon, New Special to Air on Independence Day

By Cecelia Bellomy

Soft-body Howdy Doody doll, c. 1950-59

Soft-body Howdy Doody doll, c. 1950-59

“Buffalo Bob” Smith’s belt

“Buffalo Bob” Smith’s belt

It seems like a new candidate may enter the presidential race on a platform of cheap sodas, one day of school, and two Christmas holidays per year. Straight from Doodyville, it’s Howdy Doody, the eponymous, red-haired marionette from The Howdy Doody Show, and he’s back on television for the first time in over fifty years.

This landmark show was the first children’s television program as well as the first program to be broadcasted five days a week. After an impressive 2,543 episodes, the final episode aired on September 24, 1960. The Howdy Doody Show has not aired again since that day. Until now.

Super fan and television producer Burt Dubrow has been working to get Howdy back on television screens and found success through COZI TV, a classic television re-run channel owned by NBC.

The nine-episode marathon will air on July 4th , beginning at 9 a.m. EDT and will be bookended by a new special highlighting Howdy Doody’s two presidential campaigns in 1948 and 1952, Howdy Doody for President.

Between fireworks and barbecue, take a trip down memory lane or discover for the first time the only freckle-faced puppet with enough charisma to capture the hearts of a whole generation of American children.

You can find more information on the marathon here: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/52675380b43347759f1f90b9b401348a/its-howdy-doody-time-again-july-4th-tv-marathon

To commemorate the marathon, enjoy a curated selection from the TRI’s very own Ralph MacPhail Jr., Howdy Doody Collection.

Original Howdy Doody Show test pattern. The final image fans would have seen at the end of each episode from early 1948 to mid-1955.

Original Howdy Doody Show test pattern. The final image fans would have seen at the end of each episode from early 1948 to mid-1955.

“Buffalo Bob” Smith, Howdy Doody, and Clarabell the Clown on the steps of the Capitol for “I Am an American Day,” May 15th, 1949

“Buffalo Bob” Smith, Howdy Doody, and Clarabell the Clown on the steps of the Capitol for “I Am an American Day,” May 15th, 1949.

“Howdy Doody for President,” 1948

“Howdy Doody for President,” 1948

 

“I’m a Friend of Howdy Doody” lunchbox, 1954

“I’m a Friend of Howdy Doody” lunchbox, 1954

Undergraduate Fellow Studies Historical Film Medium

Undergraduate Fellow Studies Historical Film Medium

By Cecelia Bellomy

When I ask Jayce Fryman, current Special Collections Undergraduate Research Fellow, to see the film for the 9.5 mm projector he is studying, he opens the box with sudden excitement. He unravels a bit of a slender roll of film where I see several successive black-and-white frames of a towheaded boy squinting into the sun stationed in front of a large, gnarled tree. Jayce seems to be easy going by nature, but it is easy to see his passion for the work he is doing.

Jayce Fryman with Baby Pathé Projector

Jayce Fryman with Baby Pathé Projector

 

Fryman, a rising junior, is studying The Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute’s Baby Pathé Projector. The Baby Pathé reads 9.5 mm. film and was one of the first at-home video apparatuses, a French machine which, surprisingly, “encroached” on the American film market. The projector is a new acquisition for the TRI which has found a home in the Magical Lantern and Optical Entertainments Collection.

The Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute’s Baby Pathé Projector

The Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute’s Baby Pathé Projector

 

Jayce, a film studies major himself, indulges my ignorance of all things film history with grace: the art of 9.5 millimeter film “didn’t last terribly long,” he says, but it “was popular for a short time” from the mid-twenties to late-thirties before being overtaken by the 8 millimeter format. 9.5 mm. can be distinguished by its central sprocket holes, or holes in the middle of the strip at the bottom of each frame which, according to Jayce, creates a “much better image” than 8 mm. He hopes to get one of the TRI’s two Baby Pathé projectors working while he is studying at the TRI. He tells me a part has been ordered to try to restore the machine.

When I asked Jayce what was the most surprising thing he has learned so far, besides more knowledge of the medium, he reports that the projector was acquired by the TRI from the West End Lyric Theatre in St. Louis, where it was owned by the Skouras brothers, one of whom, Spyros, would become the president of 20th Century Fox. Jayce is clearly a bit awestruck by the history of the objects he is studying.

It is important to Fryman, as an undergraduate, to get “exposure” to research “as early as possible” since he hopes to teach and do research in the future. In the upcoming months, he reports that he will be doing research on the niche genre he calls “horror musical films.” He says he wants to know why some genre mashups are successful and others aren’t. It is a similar drive that pushes Jayce forward in his TRI research. The 9.5 medium had blown over in America by the beginning of the 1940s but survived in Europe into the 1960s, and Jayce hopes to find out why this style of film was so short-lived in the United States.

RICKY J. MARTINEZ HONORED

RICKY J. MARTINEZ HONORED AT CEREMONY

By Cecelia Bellomy

Ricky J. Martinez signing his copy of his remarks for the TRI. Looking on: Mary Tarantino, OSU Department of Theatre Lighting Designer and Director of the Theatre Research Institute; Deborah Robison; Damon Jaggars

Ricky J. Martinez signing his copy of his remarks for the TRI. Looking on: Mary Tarantino, OSU Department of Theatre Lighting Designer and Director of the Theatre Research Institute; Deborah Robison; Damon Jaggars.

Ricky J. Martinez, Cuban-American playwright, director, and choreographer from Miami, Florida, was awarded this year’s Margo Jones Award during the 30th Anniversary Season at the New Theatre where he serves as Artistic Director. In the program for the Theatre’s most recent production, his original play Roof!, Martinez’s Artistic Director’s note describes this momentous anniversary season as having the theme of “survival of the determined,” featuring five playwrights, including himself, who have “persisted writing—artists believing their work on stage is integral to their growth and the growth of our young city.”

The persistence of Ricky J. Martinez is finally being recognized. He was awarded this year’s Margo Jones Award, presented by The Ohio State University Libraries’ Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute. This award honors those who have demonstrated a significant impact, understanding, and affirmation of the craft of playwriting, and who have encouraged the living theatre everywhere. Martinez was presented with the award at a ceremony which took place at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, the regular performance space for the New Theatre, on April 30th.

The ceremony saw a large turnout of Ricky’s teachers, students, and Miami theatre folk, including many of Ricky’s collaborators from the New Theatre and elsewhere. Speakers included Carol Cadby, a 30-year theatre educator who teaches at George Mason University, Signature Theatre, Synetic Theatre, The D.C. Theatre Lab Conservatory, Arlington Public Schools, and was Martinez’s former teacher; and William “Bill” Schwartz, professional actor and New Theatre favorite. The award was presented by Damon Jaggars, Vice Provost and Director of The Ohio State University Libraries, and members of the Margo Jones Medal committee—Nena Couch, Beth Kattelman, Mary Tarantino, Deborah Robison representing the Jerome Lawrence family, and Jonathan Barlow Lee representing the Robert E. Lee family. Also in attendance were Neila Lee and Jenny Lee.

 

Martinez and Eileen Suarez, Managing Director of New Theatre

Martinez and Eileen Suarez, Managing Director of New Theatre

An award-winning director, Martinez has been invited to direct for the MFA Playwrights’ Workshop at the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival, and Stanford University’s National Center for New Plays; James Madison University and the Forbes Center; Words A-Fire Festival in New Mexico; Ignition Fest at Victory Gardens, and others, in addition to his direction for New Theatre. Martinez’s risk-taking and collaboration with playwrights on more than 50 world premiere plays has proved more than successful. Many of the works have gone on to become Pulitzer Prize finalists and winners and ATCA’s Steinberg finalists and winners, among other prestigious awards, and many of the works have been preserved for the American theatre through publication. Nationally, Martinez has stayed an active champion for new works, participating on the Executive Committee for the National New Play Network (NNPN); the Advisory Board of the Latino Theatre Commons; the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) panelist (seven years); Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation; National Fund for New Musicals; PlayPenn; and San Antonio’s Luminaria Festival.

As a playwright, Martinez has been mentored by Arthur Kopit and Tina Howe; is an NNPN playwright alumni, and has works being read and produced nationally and internationally. Martinez is an accomplished actor, dancer, choreographer, singer, song writer, musician, community leader and theatre activist. Recently, he has been empowering hometown artists, as well as audiences, with the celebrated Miami 1-Acts Festival that provides a platform for Miami-centric voices of the next generation of theatre makers to be heard. Martinez has worked tirelessly to encourage new and varied voices in the theatre internationally, nationally, and right in his hometown, but has garnered less personal acknowledgement than his work deserves. Perhaps it was New Theatre Board Chair Steve Eisenberg who best stated the significance of the ceremony: “I feel like tonight the universe is more balanced.”

 

Margo Jones Award Honoree Ricky J. Martinez with members of the Robert E. Lee Family: Neila Lee, Ricky J. Martinez, Jenny Lee, Jonathan Barlow Lee

Margo Jones Award Honoree Ricky J. Martinez with members of the Robert E. Lee Family: Neila Lee, Ricky J. Martinez, Jenny Lee, Jonathan Barlow Lee

 

The importance of the Margo Jones award was recognized by the Miami Dade County office of the Mayor and the Board of County Commissioners proclaiming April 30th, the day of the ceremony, “Ricky J. Martinez Day” in honor of his award and of his work in expanding Miami’s art landscape. This is the first time the Margo Jones Award has been the catalyst for a proclamation, and The Lawrence and Lee Institute is named multiple times in the document: “Whereas: Miami-Dade County is proud to echo the sentiments of the Ohio State University’s Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute as they honor this fine gentleman with this prestigious award.”

 

Ricky J. Martinez and his mother. Ricky J. is holding the Margo Jones Award medal and the proclamation from the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of Commissioners proclaiming Saturday, April 30, 2016 Ricky J. Martinez Day

Ricky J. Martinez and his mother. Ricky J. is holding the Margo Jones Award medal and the proclamation from the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of Commissioners proclaiming Saturday, April 30, 2016 Ricky J. Martinez Day

 

Ricky Martinez was “dynamic and gracious and tearful” during the ceremony, and his acceptance speech was exceptionally “moving,” said Beth Kattelman, member of the Medal committee and Curator of Theatre for the Theatre Research Institute. In his speech, Martinez addressed that question that many lovers and makers of theatre are asking today, Is theatre dying?

[making theatre is] very, very dangerous…but so are we…because we are alive…and theatre is made by living people. So the unwritten fact is theatre has never-was never dying! It’s in the moment, as we are; living!

In a world where new theatre faces the constant threat of being swallowed up by newer and more convenient medias, theatre makers with a clarity of vision and persistence like Martinez’ are an invaluable necessity.

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