Category: Exhibits

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

Roderigo

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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

Sud Costa Occidentale: A Story in Images

Sud Costa Occidentale: A Story in Images

Thompson Library Exhibition Space, September 1 through 10th during library hours.

Curated by Beth Kattelman and Francesca Spedalieri, with additional help from Shelby Brewster and Justin Luna

 

Exhibit photo 1

Exhibit photo 2

 

This exhibition features photographs, prints and posters chronicling the work of Sicilian theatre artist Emma Dante and her company Sud Costa Occidentale. The photographs were taken by Giuseppe Distefano, a professional photographer who has documented Dante’s work for years.

Photos of Compagnia Sud Costa Occidentale by Guiseppi Distefano

 Photos of Compagnia Sud Costa Occidentale by Giuseppe Distefano

 Photos of Compagnia Sud Costa Occidentale by Guiseppi Distefano_2

 Photos of Compagnia Sud Costa Occidentale by Giuseppe Distefano

 

 

The exhibition also features prints of original drawings created by Maria Cristina Costa, a freelance illustrator who has collaborated with Dante on several projects including two children’s books: Anastasia, Drusilla, and Cinderella; and The Highs and Lows of Snow White.

Illustration for Anastasia, Drusilla, and Cinderella by Maria Cristina Costa

 Illustration for Anastasia, Drusilla, and Cinderella by Maria Cristina Costa

Illustration for The Highs and Lows of Snow White, by Maria Cristina Costa

  Illustration for The Highs and Lows of Snow White, by Maria Cristina Costa

 

The prints of Distefano’s photographs and Costa’s illustrations are now a part of the permanent collection of the Theatre Research Institute and are available to interested researchers.

This exhibition is presented as part of The Ohio State University’s Emma Dante Project, an event that will bring the theatre company to the United States for the first time. As part of the project, the company will perform their most recent work Operetta Burlesca (Operetta Burlesque) on September 3, 4 and 5 at OSU’s Thurber Theatre. An interdisciplinary symposium and the screening of a new documentary on Dante’s work will also be presented as part of the project. For more information: https://theatre.osu.edu/events/operetta-burlesque and http://theatre.osu.edu/events/blurring-boundaries-without-burning-bridges.

Dr. Frank Mohler and his work

 

Dr. Frank Mohler

Frank and Claudia Mohler visit Theatre Magic:
Technology, Innovation, and Effect

 

THE MAGIC OF MODELS

One of the objects in Theatre Magic: Technology, Innovation, and Effect, currently in the Thompson Gallery, combines the oldest and newest technologies on exhibit.  The model built by Dr. Frank Mohler from designs in the Theatre Research Institute microfilm of Palatina MS 3708 probably illustrates the stage house of the Teatro San Salvatore in Venice and a production of La Divisione del Mondo which premiered at the Teatro San Salvatore on February 4, 1675 with music by Giovanni Lengrenzi and the libretto by Giulio Corradi. The scenery was probably designed by the Mauro brothers. The music has been lost, but the libretto and the scenery and machinery sketches have survived in the Biblioteca Palatina in Parma.  Over sixty years after its premiere Luigi Riccoboni wrote of La Divisione del Mondo:

As to the Decorations and the Machinery it may be safely affirmed, that no Theatre in Europe comes up to the Magnificence of the Venetian Opera; some of them will be handed down to our most distant Posterity. For instance, the opera entitled La Divisione del Mondo, which the Marquis Guido Rangoni exhibited in the Year 1675 at his own expense at the Teatro San Salvatore.

Internationally acknowledged as an expert in Renaissance and Baroque theatre architecture and machinery, Dr. Mohler has constructed working models of 17th-century theatres both in physical and virtual forms.  The model in this exhibition has working machinery including:

Mechanized wing change
Mechanized border change
Brailed curtain
Downstage traps & elevators
Wave traps
Wave machines
Mid-stage elevator
Hinged upper stage
Traveling borders to allow a machine to move downstage
Tracks to allow a machine to move downstage
Flying performer

However, because of the fragile nature of the model, exhibition visitors cannot manipulate the machinery themselves, so exhibit consultant Marlon Barrios Solano layered Augmented Reality, a 21st-century technology, onto the 17th-century technologies to give them life and movement.  The expression augmented reality, often abbreviated to AR, refers to a simple combination of real and virtual (computer-generated) worlds. Given a real subject, captured on video or camera, the technology ‘augments’ (= adds to) that real-world image or object with extra layers of digital Mobile AR refers to the use of portable smart phones or tablets to detect and see digital information overlays in real-time about the environment and its objects. The real word is augmented with digital media.

THEATRE MAGIC: TECHNOLOGY, INNOVATION, AND EFFECT continues through May 11, 2014 in the Thompson Library Gallery.

Dr. Mohler is Emeritus Professor, Scenic and Lighting Designer at Appalachian State University.  He received the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from The Ohio State University where he built a number of historical theatres from microfilm  records of historical theatrical documents held in the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute.  Following graduation, he taught and designed at Denison University, the University of South Carolina and the University of Virginia.  Over his career he has created over 250 set or lighting designs; he also provided the conceptual design for the Appalachian’s Valborg Theatre. He has published and lectured on Renaissance and Baroque theatre architecture and machinery, as well as given conference presentations, including at Cesky Krumlov, the beautiful Baroque Czech Baroque theatre that retains its original machinery. Dr. Mohler has moved from building physical models of theatre to making virtual ones, and created and maintains the Development of Scenic Spectacle web site.

Marlon Barrios Solano is a Venezuelan artist, researcher, consultant, educator, curator, on-line producer, video broadcaster and vlogger based between in USA and Germany.  He is the creator/producer/curator of dance-techTV, a collaborative internet video channel dedicated to innovation and experimental performing arts and its social network dance-tech.net. He has also conceived and developed the on-line interdisciplinary co-learning platform meta-academy.org.  With a hybrid background on cognitive science, dance improvisation and new media arts he researches and explores the uses of network technologies, participatory systems and collaborative practices within cultural production and education environments.  He holds an MFA in Dance and Technology 2004 (real-time digital technology, performance of improvisation and embodied cognition) from The Ohio State University, USA.

Theatre Magic: Technology, Innovation, and Effect

New Exhibit

 

TheatreMagic

 

January 15-May 11, 2014

Thompson Library Gallery

1858 Neil Avenue

Columbus, OH 43210

 

This exhibition explores the unsung heroes of theatre—the innovators, designers, and technicians—whose “magic” has wowed audiences since the beginnings of show business. Visitors will uncover the secrets behind special effects, explore the workings of a toy theatre and a 17th-century theatre through virtual reality, experience what a magic lantern “pose show” might have looked like, and try their hand at theatrical lighting design. The exhibition will feature manuscripts, photographs, original designs, set models, props, and costumes from the special collections of the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute.

Theatre Research Institute a partner in current Urban Arts Space “Painting Tableau Stage” exhibition.

Theatre Research Institute a partner in current Urban Arts Space “Painting Tableau Stage” exhibition.

September 24 – November 14, 2013

Urban Arts Space, 50 W. Town St. Suite 130, Columbus, OH

The central visual core of Painting Tableau Stage is comprised of paintings by four contemporary artists from the United Kingdom—Moyra Derby, Stuart Elliot, Mick Finch, and Beth Harland—all of whom share an interest in concepts of the tableau, a term that has received recent critical attention in the U.K. and often translated as “picture form.” In addition, a small selection of scenographic artifacts and models from University Libraries’ Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute will complement the exhibition as a visual reminder of some ways theater and painting share aspects of the tableau. The exhibition is curated by Department of Art professor, Laura Lisbon. The exhibition accompanies an Ohio State University graduate seminar in the Autumn, “The Emergence of the Tableau,” led by Philip Armstrong (Comparative Studies), Lisa Florman (History of Art), and Laura Lisbon (Art).

Beth Kattelman, Curator of Theatre, will give a curator talk at the space in conjunction with the exhibit on Friday, October 11 at 12:30 p.m.

Japanese Noh Theatre Woodblock Prints on Exhibit

The Japanese Noh Theatre in Woodblock: The Smethurst Collection of Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)

The Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute, Japanese Studies, and the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures collaborated to host an exhibition in the Special Collections Gallery of Japanese Noh theatre woodblock prints on loan from collectors Richard and Mae Smethurst.  Richard Smethurst gave an accompanying lectured on the artist Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927) in Thompson 165.

Richard Smethurst lecturing

Richard Smethurst lecturing

DEALL faculty member Shelley Quinn and Richard Smethurst

DEALL faculty member Shelley Quinn and Richard Smethurst

Nena Couch and Richard Smethurst

Nena Couch and Richard Smethurst

Maureen Donovan, Shelley Quinn, and Nena Couch

Maureen Donovan, Shelley Quinn, and Nena Couch