Highlights of the final days of the Mellon School included fascinating research presentations and demonstrations by several participants. We learned about the Sema Ceremony of the Whirling Dervishes from İrem Seçil Reel Şen, about Ghanaian storytelling from Sarah Dorgbadzi, about Kathakali technique and training from Akhila Vimal, and about transgender performance in Pakistan from Claire Pamment.
Over the course of our seminar, Congress Shall Make No Law: Religion, Ritual, and the History of the American Theatre, we've examined questions of identity, politics, and nation-building through the lens of American drama.... Read more about Congress Shall Make No Law
Theater often comes under attack for being deceptive. Perhaps in defense of its inherent representation and mimesis, theater also celebrates deception by including deliberate acts of pretense and subterfuge in dramatic plots.... Read more about Deception and Trust in the Theater
The writing workshops rank high as one of the most rewarding components of the Mellon School. Participants circulate work-in-progress in order to give and receive feedback and suggestions. Projects are at various stages – from dissertation prospectus to second book projects – and the allotted time to discuss them races by, giving way to discussions over lunch and coffee, during walks to Farkas Hall, and other in-between moments.... Read more about The Sankofa Bird
Thursday’s discussions were marked by loads of very basic – though often unanswerable – questions about the plays/theaters under consideration. In the case of The Triumph of Horus, we wondered not only how it was performed, but where, for and by whom, and even if it had been performed.... Read more about Mysterious Theater
Our discussion with Ann Pellegrini was, she hopes, disturbing. Indeed, we talked about psychoanalysis as a haunted space within secular modernity. For Pellegrini, psychoanalysis is a secular ghost story. And like a good ghost story, it aims to trouble, not comfort.... Read more about That's Disturbing!
Further questions related to sacred and profane theaters developed on Day 2 of the Mellon School, with a strong focus on mourning as a specially charged event that brings together performance and ritual. The Secular Theaters seminar considered Sophocles’ Antigone, whose mourning of Polynieces takes priority over obedience to Creon’s edict.... Read more about Mourning and the Time for Theater
The 2016 Mellon School for Theater and Performance Research is embarking on an intensive exploration of Theaters Sacred and Profane. As evidenced by participants from over 25 different universities, some coming from as far away as India, Ghana, Greece, Finland, and Korea, and with projects ranging in historical focus from antiquity to the present, this year’s theme clearly has wide-reaching appeal to scholars.