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W&L Hosts 11th National Symposium of Theater in Academe

Washington and Lee University will welcome visitors from around the world to its 11th National Symposium of Theater in Academe on Oct. 18 – 20.

This year’s symposium, “Imagine Magic Madness: Theater and Performance in Times of Crisis and Violence,” is organized by Domnica Radulescu, founding director of the symposium, the Edwin A. Morris Professor of Romance Languages and head of the medieval and renaissance studies program. Monica Botta, associate professor of romance languages at W&L, is co-organizer.

The conference will feature papers, live performances and readings.

Israeli playwright and screenwriter Motti Lerner will present the keynote address, “Why is Macbeth So Cruel? – About Violence in Theater,” on Friday, Oct. 19, at 5 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater.

The conference will also feature a live performance of “Breath of the Life Time” by DAH Theater Group of Belgrade, Serbia at 6:30 p.m. on Friday in Stackhouse, and a performance of Joan Lipkin’s “Sticks and Stones: Sluts Talk Back” on Canaan Green at noon on Saturday, Oct. 20.

The play “Naturalized Woman,” written by Radulescu and directed by Washington and Lee’s Kimberly Jew, will be performed at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18, in Stackhouse Theater. The play is being staged in New York at the Thespis Theater Festival and features seven W&L students in the cast.

All events will take place in the Stackhouse Theater in Elrod Commons unless otherwise specified.


10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. — Defining and Re-defining Madness in Theater

“Ephemeral Remains: Performing ‘Waiting for Godot’ in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward and Gentilly.” Eric Hultgren, Indiana University at Bloomington.

“Medium and Madness: Reflexivity and Psychotherapy on the American Stage.” Ariel Watson, Saint Mary’s University.

“Madness and Thought Control in Griselda Gambaro’s El Campo / The Camp.” Iana Konstantinova, Southern Virginia University.

11:30 a.m. – 12:50 p.m. — Humor and Madness: Disruptions and Games

“Playing Gender: The Disruption of Realism in Feminist Theater by Mexican Women Playwrights.” Alfonso Verona, Hampden-Sydney College.

“Theater and Trauma: Marco Paolini’s ‘Vajont.'” Andrea Bini, Washington and Lee University.

“La Cantatrice Chauve.”

Scenes from Eugene Ionesco’s “Bald Soprano” acted by students in French 261.

1:00-2:00 Lunch – The Market Place, University Commons

2:00 p.m. – 2:20 p.m. — Scenes from “Ubu Roi,” by Alfred Jarry, acted by students in French 343.

2:20 p.m.-3:00 p.m.  — “Har-Ass” A staged reading of a one act play by Ellen Mayock, Washington and Lee University, and Stacey Vargas, Virginia Military Institute.

3:10 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. — “The Slightly Dangerous Game of Seizing the Moment: The Ups and Downs of Improvisation.” Andy MacDonald, Dickinson College. From “short-form” and “long-form” improvisational theater, through improvisation for generating creative material and training performers, to the wide-open space of multidisciplinary improvisational performance, this workshop aims to explore, engage, elucidate and amuse with a combination of scholarly inquiry and participatory improvisational games.

4:15 p.m.-5:45 p.m.  — Creative movement workshop Judith Moss, independent artist, New York. Musical accompaniment by Michael Moss, New York. Connecting to our core (our bodies) and discovering new ways of relating to each other through movement is an experience that engages us directly and can often be life-changing. This workshop will focus on capturing that playful spirit in a totally non- threatening environment as we embark on a journey of adventure and self-discovery.

8:00 p.m. — “Naturalized Woman” Written by Domnica Radulescu and directed by Kimberly Jew. The play focuses on a Romanian immigrant as she journeys through the U.S. immigration process. Various female archetypes emerge from the woman’s psyche, offering her strength and good humor as she becomes a U.S. citizen. The work is highly surrealistic, comic and critical of government processes that dehumanize people.


10:00 a.m. – 12:30 a.m. — The Madness of Spectacle and the Spectacle of Madness

“El Bastardo de Ceuta: An Early Wife-Murder Play Gone Wrong?” Gwyn E. Campbell, Washington and Lee University.

“The Rationale of Madness in Machado de Assis’ Brazil.” Mónica González García.

“Contextualizing Globalism: A Critique of the Cultural Center in Ariel Dorfman’s ‘Death and the Maiden.'” Brantley Nicholson, University of Richmond.

“Archaeological Sites that Aren’t”, or “Chasing John Williams’ Ghost around Dillon’s Bay.” James Flexner, Washington and Lee University.

“Between War and Spectacle in Andrés Caicedo’s ‘La piel del otro héroe’ and Fernando Arrabal’s ‘Pic-nic.'” Diana Rodríguez Quevedo, University of Evansville.

3:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. — “Sticks and Stones: Sluts Talk Back” Joan Lipkin, artistic director of That Uppity Theater Company. “The Feminist Follies,” written by Joan Lipkin and Theresa Masters, is a series of short sketches that take a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ look at women’s issues including salary disparity, historical representation, Title 1X, equal rights, liberty and what feminism means to different women. This project includes dance, poetry, slut monologues, rock music, memoir and sketch comedy, all of which will examine the tentacles of sexism and how this level of oppression can lead to madness.

5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. — “Why is Macbeth So Cruel? – About Violence in Theater” Keynote address by Motti Lerner, Israeli playwright and visiting professor at Knox College. What drives Macbeth to become a serial killer? Is it just evil? Or does he have a superior motivation that forces him to kill? Why do we, the spectators, loose our moral judgment and tend to empathize with him in spite of his cruelty? What do we learn from Macbeth about the use of violence in the theatre? In the second part of his talk, Lerner will discuss the cruelty in his play “The Murder of Isaac” and its political implications.

6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. — “Breath of the Life Time” A live performance by the DAH Theater Group from Belgrade, Serbia, featuring DAH theater artistic director Dijana Milosevic and actress Maja Vujovic Performing excerpts from their performances, Vujovic will also speak about  violence and gender, the healing power of theater and about theater as a living space. The work of DAH Teatar is focused on transformation of the “darkness,” or the horrific picture, into a clear physical and spiritual presence on the stage, to shed light on “darkness.” This process poses difficult questions about the responsibility and the right to deal with the hard experiences of others. It is a search for healing and reconciliation.


10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. — DAH Theater Workshop

“Invisible City,” a  movie showing of documentary film by and about DAH Theater’s work for peace in various European cities.

12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m. — “Sticks and Stones: Sluts Talk Back,” by Joan Lipkin. Public performance at Canaan Green, Washington and Lee University

7:30 p.m. — “Two Gentleman of Verona,” by William Shakespeare. The American Shakespeare Company, Staunton (transportation provided).

The 11th National Symposium of Theater in Academe is co-sponsored by the Office of the Dean, the Glasgow Endowment, the women’s and gender studies program and the medieval and renaissance studies program at Washington and Lee.

News Contact:
Sarah Tschiggfrie
News Director