Category: Theatre (page 1 of 3)

Shakespeare Among the Suicide Bombers: The Turmoil of Theater in Modern Afghanistan

Shakespeare Among the Suicide Bombers: The Turmoil of Theater in Modern Afghanistan

Shakespeare Among the Suicide Bombers:
The Turmoil of Theater in Modern Afghanistan

SPOTLIGHT ON STUDENT RESEARCH – #3

Meet John Michael Sefel!

John Michael Sefel Lecturing

John Michael Sefel Lecturing

John Michael Sefel is a second-year PhD student from the department of theatre whose scholarly interests focus on Yiddish Theatre and portrayal/access issues in Disability Theatre. His dissertation research is currently focusing on the portrayal of disability issues (both personal and societal) on the American Yiddish stage, 1888 – 1920.

The recipient of the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute’s Kramer Scholarship, John Michael studied in summer, 2017 at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute at Vilnius Universitat in Lithuania, and has been applying the language acquisition and translation skills he learned there to items within the T.R.I.’s Fraydele Oysher Yiddish Theatre Collection. By bringing expanded historical contextualization to artifacts and translating many of the songs and documents within the collection, the work will provide greater access and depth to the T.R.I.’s Yiddish Theatre holdings to scholars, particularly in the fields of Jewish Studies, Ethnomusicology, Theatre, early-mid 20th century New York immigrant theatre, and Yiddish and Ashkenazic Studies.

If you are interested in getting involved in using TRI special collections as a basis for your research, please contact Dr. Beth Kattelman, Curator of Theatre, kattelman.1@osu.edu

 

Discover the artiFACTS!

Today we introduce a new column by our Undergraduate Acquisitions Reporter!

Discover the artiFACTS!

“You Ought to See Her Now”

The Female Kings of the Music Hall and Vaudeville.

By Emily Brokamp

Contained in the collections of the Theatre Research Institute are a number of artifacts that give insight into the lives of talented women who achieved fame and fortune as men. These women found success on the British music hall and American vaudeville stages of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as male impersonators. Male impersonation acts were usually comedic performances that would contain undermining satire about men. The most common type of character exemplified in these performances was that of the ‘lover boy’ who would constantly get into trouble seducing young women. This trope can be seen in the work of Florence Tempest ([c.1891] – ?). Tempest was born as Clair Lillian Ijames in Richmond, Virginia. She rose to fame on the vaudeville stage performing alongside her sister Marion Sunshine, born Mary Ijames (1894 – 1963). The “Tempest and Sunshine” act centered on Tempest’s impersonation of a dashing young man and Sunshine’s portrayal of the innocent female love interest. 

Oh You Tease” Published by Harold Rossiter Music Co.

Oh You Tease”
Published by Harold Rossiter Music Co.

Their roles are clearly defined on the cover of their sheet music for the song “Oh You Tease” by Merritt W. Lund. Tempest is photographed holding a white-clad Sunshine in a tight embrace while both look seductively at the camera. The song itself is an appropriate representation of their act as it relates the agony a man feels when a lovely young woman teases his advances.

 

Tempest introduced the song “You Ought to See Her Now” by Harry Pease, Ed. G. Nelson, and Bob Russak in 1919. The song is a perfect example of the type of satire that male impersonators liked to include in their acts. Tempest is photographed in her ultra-masculine persona on the front of the sheet music for the number. She confidently smokes a cigarette and gives a sly smile to the camera while the image of a beautified women floats above her. The song is a critique from the male point-of-view of the excess amount of makeup and finery that a woman wears. Tempest’s performance of this song while dressed in a male costume can itself be viewed as a mockery of the male judgments proclaimed by the song of women who dress too feminine.

Published by Jack Mills Inc.

“You Ought to See Her Now”
Published by Jack Mills Inc. (1919)
Performing Gender Collection

Dubbed “London’s Pet Boy,” Claire Romaine ([c.1885] – ?) was another versatile performer with numerous different male characters in her repertoire. The cover of her sheet music for “Call ‘Round Any Old Time” shows her portraying a few different characters ranging from a professor to a beggar. Like Tempest’s, Romaine’s act was also comedic and centered around the portrayal of different male stereotypes along with bits of social commentary. “Call ‘Round Any Old Time” tells the story of a rich man and a poor man who meet in the street. The poor man initially thinks that the rich man will stab him, but instead he is invited to his house for dinner and the chorus sings of the value of accepting all kinds of people into your home. The message seems innocent enough, but the song takes on a deeper meaning after considering that Romaine was performing to an Edwardian crowd deeply divided by wealth and status during a period when the working-class of Britain was beginning to gain political power for the first time.

Call Round Any Old Time

Call Round Any Old Time


One of the most famous male impersonators: Miss Vesta Tilley (1864 – 1952)

The most famous of the male impersonators was Miss Vesta Tilley (1864 – 1952). She is considered to be not only the greatest male impersonator, but also one of the greatest performers to come out of the British music halls. Tilley is credited with revolutionizing the practice of male impersonation because she sought to bring a convincing element to her performance and went with a realistic costume to pass off as male as opposed to the earlier effeminate ‘breeches roles.’ Tilley was born as Matilda Alice Powles in Worcestershire, England in 1864. She rose to fame in 1900 with the creation of her song “Burlington Bertie” and the vagrant male character that she based off of it. Like many of her peers, Tilley installed a fair amount of social commentary and satire into her performances that made her immensely popular amongst the working class. She also created a number of popular military personas during the Boer War and World War I that can be seen in the collection of her postcards held by the Theatre Research Institute. She performed these characters for soldier shows and recruitment drives that took her career to its all-time height.

Vesta Tilley in mens'dress

Vesta Tilley in men’s dress

While male impersonators reached a decent level of fame and admiration, the scandal behind their performances did not go unnoticed. These women were performing to Victorian and Edwardian crowds that valued chaste, respectable women. A woman wearing pants and making raunchy jokes on-stage did not fit this ideal, although that was probably why they became so popular. When Vesta Tilley performed at the Royal Command in 1912, Queen Mary was reportedly so repulsed by the prospect of a women dressing as a man that she turned away from the stage during Tilley’s act. Because of this backlash, many male impersonators sought to hold onto their social reputation by underlining their femininity while offstage. Vesta Tilley made sure to always dress in the latest fashion, adorning herself in expensive furs and jewels. Her off-stage look can be observed on a signed photographic postcard held in the Theatre Research Institute’s collection. The postcard shows Tilley wearing a lace dress and fur shawl with an exquisitely adorned hat atop her head. Her facial expression, too, seeks to imitate the feminine ideal as she settles on a dutiful, soft, and solemn look. This is an immense difference from the other postcards held in the collection that show her dressed in suits and uniforms, often smiling and posing in athletic stances. Tilley’s retirement occurred in 1920 when her husband began to pursue politics. Her decision to retire came after reflecting on the fact that it wouldn’t befit a Parliamentary wife to be a male impersonator, regardless of how famous she was in the role.

Vesta Tilley in Women's dress

Vesta Tilley in Women’s dress


More Postcard Images of Vesta Tilley in men’s dress

More of Vesta Tilley in men’s dress

Vesta Tilley in men’s dress

More of Vesta Tilley in men’s dress More of Vesta Tilley in men’s dress More of Vesta Tilley in men’s dress

The male impersonators of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries not only served as the foundation for modern drag king performances, but also as an aid for breaking down social and class barriers. They gave performances that openly mocked the political structures of the time and were an inspiration to women who sought independence in a highly patriarchal society. While many impersonators distanced themselves from their characters in their personal lives, the legacy they left on stage remains and the impact that it has had on gender-bending performances can still be seen today.

Works Cited

Dictionary of Women Worldwide. “Tempest, Florence (c. 1891-?).” 2007. Encyclopedia.com. January 2018. <www.encyclopedia.com>.

Doyle, J.D. Female and Male Impersonator Sheet Music. 2015. January 2018. <www.queermusicheritage.com>.

Encyclopedia Britannica. “Vesta Tilley.” 1 January 2018. Encyclopedia Britannica. January 2018. <www.britannica.com>.

Ferris, Lesley. Crossing the stage: controversies on cross-dressing. London: Routledge, 1993.

Fraser, Megan. “What a Drag!” 17 June 2014. UCLA Libraries. January 2018. <www.library.ucla.edu>.

Gardner, Lyn. “Ladies as Gentlemen: The cross-dressing women of Edwardian musical theatre.” 13 May 2010. The Guardian. January 2018. <www.theguardian.com>.

Gee, Dana. “Male impersonators in early 20th century American sheet music.” 19 February 2016. Houghton Library Blog. January 2018. <blogs.harvard.edu>.

Logiudice, Rosie. “Male Impersontors.” 16 February 2014. LGBT History Project. January 2018. <lgbthistoryproject.blogspot.com>.

“Male Impersonators all the rage in the music halls.” n.d. Heritage Daily. January 2018. <www.heritagedaily.com>.

Reitz Mullenix, Elizabeth. Wearing the breeches: gender on the antebellum stage. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000.

Victoria and Albert Museum. “Vesta Tilley.” 2016. The Victoria and Albert Museum. January 2018. <www.vam.ac.uk>.

Discover the artiFACTS!

“You Ought to See Her Now”

The Female Kings of the Music Hall and Vaudeville.

By Emily Brokamp

Improvising Out Loud: My Life Teaching Hollywood How To Act by Jeff Corey with Emily Corey

Improvising Out Loud: My Life Teaching Hollywood How To Act by Jeff Corey with Emily Corey. Foreword by Leonard Nimoy. Afterword by Janet Neipris.

Book trailer at: http://www.improvisingoutloud.com/

Improvising Out Loud: My Life Teaching Hollywood How To Act by Jeff Corey with Emily Corey

Improvising Out Loud

This memoir details the life of Jeff Corey and the acting lessons he gave. His teaching work contributed to the performances of many of the stars that we are very familiar with today.

Improvising Out Loud: My Life Teaching Hollywood How To Act will be available May 2017 from the University Press of Kentucky.

TRI is the proud holder of the Jeff Corey Collection.

See our catalog record: http://library.ohio-state.edu/record=b6606105~S7

Notes below from our catalog record:

Biographical/Historical Note:

Jeff Corey (1914-2002) was a well-known Hollywood actor, teacher and director whose career spanned six decades. He was born on August 10, 1914 in Brooklyn, New York. He began his career in Shakespearean repertory in New York where he first attracted began his career in Shakespearean repertory in New York where he first attracted Leslie Howard. In 1940, he and Hope, his wife of two years, moved to Hollywood, where Corey helped to establish the Actors Lab, under whose aegis he performed in several productions, including Abe Lincoln in Illinois. He also immediately began his film career with a series of bit parts. Corey worked steadily in film and quickly gained recognition as a fine character actor. His film career was interrupted, however, when he joined the Navy in 1943 and was assigned to the ship Yorktown as a combat photographer. During the war he earned citations for his photography work. After his military service, Corey returned to Hollywood to resume a fruitful film career. In 1947 he had a substantial role in Brute Force a prison film starring Burt Lancaster and Hume Cronyn, and in 1949 he had one of his most prestigious film roles as an Army psychiatrist in Stanley Kramer’s Home of the Brave. Corey worked steadily in films until his career was derailed in 1951 when he was summoned to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee after being named as a former Communist Party member by actor Marc Lawrence. During his appearance before the committee, Corey refused to provide names of other possible Communists within the entertainment community. Due to this refusal, Corey was labeled as an “unfriendly witness” and was subsequently blacklisted by the Hollywood establishment; thus he was barred from obtaining work within the entertainment industry. In order to support his family Corey took odd jobs doing carpentry and digging ditches; he also began offering acting lessons from his home. He quickly gained a reputation as the top acting teacher in Hollywood and soon, the same studios that refused to hire Corey as an actor were sending their performers to him for lessons. Students who attended Corey’s acting classes include Jack Nicholson, James Dean, Rita Moreno, Richard Chamberlain, Dean Stockwell, Robert Blake, Sally Kellerman, Roger Corman, Robin Williams, Leonard Nimoy, Barbra Streisand, Carol Burnett and Anthony Perkins. Corey did not appear in film again until 1963 when he played a small part in The Yellow Canary, a film starring singer-actor Pat Boone, the man Corey credited for restarting his film career, because it was at Boone’s insistence that Twentieth-Century Fox hired Corey. Soon, other studios followed suit, and Corey was once again able to maintain a steady film career. It was during this post-blacklist period in which he played some of his most memorable roles including that of the outlaw Tom Chaney in True Grit starring John Wayne, and that of Wild Bill Hickock in Little Big Man starring Dustin Hoffman. In 1982 Corey fulfilled a lifelong dream when he played King Lear at the North Shore Playhouse in Massachusetts. Corey died on August 16, 2002 at the age of 88 in California

Note:    Arrangement note: The collection is arranged in three series — Series 1: Acting and Directing Career, –Series 2: Acting Classes and Teaching, –Series 3: Papers and Clippings, –Series 4: Audio and Video.

Summary:    The collection includes Corey’s scripts, personal and business correspondence, clippings, programs, photographs, posters, lobby cards, audio tapes and videos. A significant part of the collection is devoted to materials Corey used to teach his acting classes, including script excerpts, notes on acting theory, lesson plans, charts and notes on student progress. There are also extensive papers and clippings related to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) including Corey’s summons to appear before the committee, a copy of Corey’s prepared statement to HUAC (that he was never allowed to deliver), and a transcript of testimony given to HUAC by Rose Hobart, Roman Bohnen, J. Edward Bromberg and Will Lee of the Actors’ Lab on February 17, 1948

Note:    For research use in library only. Some restrictions may apply

Indexes Finding aid is available in the library

Local Note:

Partial filmography: Third Finger, Left Hand (1940) — The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) — My Friend Flicka (1943) — The Killers (1946) — Brute Force (1947) — Miracle on 34th Street (1947) — Joan of Arc (1948) — Home of the Brave (1949) — Superman and the Mole Men (1951) — Lady in a Cage (1963) — The Yellow Canary (1963) — The Balcony (1963) — Cincinnati Kid (1965) — In Cold Blood (1967) — Boston Strangler (1968) — True Grit (1969) — Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) — Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) — They Call me Mister Tibbs (1970)

Representative television appearances: Adventures of Superman (1951) — The Untouchables (1961) — Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (1965) — Rawhide (1965) — Bonanza (1966, 1971) — Gunsmoke (1969) — Star Trek (1969) — Hawaii-Five-O (1969, 1971) — Night Gallery (1970, 1971) — Little House on the Prairie (1971, 1989) — The Bob Newhart Show (1973) — The Six Million Dollar Man (1975) — Starsky and Hutch (1975) — Kojak (1975) — The Richard Pryor Show (1977) — Barney Miller (1978, 1979) — Lou Grant (1980, 1981, 1982) — Night Court (1984, 1986) — Roseanne (1989) — Babylon 5 (1996) — Murphy Brown (1997)

This collection is the gift of Emily Corey, Eve Corey Poling, and Jane Corey

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

KATTELMAN PRESENTS TALK AT INDIANA UNIVERSITY

KATTELMAN PRESENTS TALK AT INDIANA UNIVERSITY

 

On December 3rd the TRI’s Curator of Theatre, Dr. Beth Kattelman, gave a presentation at Indiana University’s Mathers Museum of World Cultures entitled, Scene at the Museum: Performing Exhibits and Exhibiting Performance. The talk explored the synergy between exhibits and performance, focusing in particular on how puppets are especially potent in their ability to evoke the stories of a specific time and place.

 

Kattelman at Mathers

Kattelman at Mathers

 

Dr. Kattelman was invited to deliver the presentation by Dr. Jennifer Goodlander, Assistant Professor of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance at Indiana U. Dr. Goodlander is currently teaching a class on Museums and Performance, and her students are in the process of curating an exhibit entitled Still/Moving: Puppets and Indonesia which opens on December 12, 2014.

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.

THE FIRST ACTRESSES: 1660-1930s

The First Actresses:1660-1930s

Elsie Janis

Elsie Janis

Friday, May 23 and
Saturday, May 24, 2014

Finally, women. Reflect on the whole history of women: do they not have to be first of all and above all else  actresses?   Friedrich Nietzsche. The Gay Science, 1881

Arriving centuries late to the theatre profession, women have met with hostility, censorship, bans, and working conditions often well below those available to their male counterparts, not least of which was economic security much lower than that of actors. This symposium focuses on the actress with a view to promoting, identifying and encouraging research and scholarly directions on the work and lives of actresses from the 17th through the early 20th centuries.

In addition to keynote speaker Sharon Marcus (The Orlando Harriman Professor at Columbia University), the symposium will present two performances and an exhibition.

Addressing the centuries long prohibition on women acting, The First Actress by Christopher St. John (Christabel Marshall) features one of the women purported to be the ‘first actress’ to take the role of Desdemona in Othello in 1661. This short play from 1911 Britain is a touchstone for the symposium as it addresses a range of issues: the prejudice against the women performing, their ‘natural’ inadequacies as artists in the public realm, and women’s agency in demanding access to both the public stage and the right to vote. The second performance, a premiere of a solo work, looks at the life of the celebrated Columbus, Ohio artist with an international reputation Elsie Janis (1889-1956). This piece is commissioned for this symposium and will be created by Victoria Matsos, from the Theatre Research Institute’s Elsie Janis Collection. Finally we will mount an exhibition on the actress drawn from multiple collections of the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute.

The symposium with presentations, exhibition, and performances will provide a forum for scholarship to be shared, work by practitioner/researchers to be experienced, and for future directions on the study of the actress to emerge. We seek paper proposals from all disciplines working on issues related to the symposium theme and from graduate students, independent scholars, and faculty.

The First Actresses: 1660-1930s symposium and accompanying productions are free and open to the public, and are sponsored by The Ohio State University’s Department of Theatre and University Libraries’ Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre  Research Institute, with support from Arts and Humanities Research Grant, and the Women’s Place. For more information, please contact Nena Couch (Head, Thompson Library Special Collections, The Ohio State University Libraries) at couch.1@osu.edu and Lesley Ferris (Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of Theatre) at ferris.36@osu.edu.

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