Now that we’re mere days away from the conference, we’d like to take a moment to offer a sincere thank you to the FOOT 2016 Team: Rebecca Biason, Tas Hudani, Paul Stoesser, Jacob Zimmer, Jessica Watkin, Danielle Alfaro, and Jade Nauman. Without their help promoting, budgeting, operating, and organizing, this conference would not have been possible.
The closer we get to FOOT 2016, the more excited we get to hear from Distinguished Professor Marvin Carlson:
Marvin Carlson is the Sidney E. Cohn Professor of Theatre and Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Athens, the ATHE Career Achievement Award, the ASTR Distinguished Scholarship Award, the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, and the Calloway Prize for his book The Haunted Stage (Michigan, 2001), He has served as guest professor at the Freie Universitat of Berlin and the Shanghai Theatre Academy. He is the author of over two hundred scholarly articles in the areas of theatre history, theatre theory and dramatic literature, and his work has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, Italian, German, Swedish, Hungarian, Galacian, Portugese, Finnish, Polish, Arabic, Slovenian, Slovakian, Spanish and Turkish. Among his books are Theories of the Theatre (Cornell University, 1984), Theatre Semiotics: Signs of Life (Indiana University Press, 1990), Performance: A Critical Introduction (Routledge, 1996) and Speaking in Tongues: Language and the Theatre (Michigan, 2007), Theatre is More Beautiful than War (Iowa, 2009), The Theatres of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, with Khalid Amine (Palgrave, 2011) and Theatre: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2014).
ALI JOY RICHARDSON – DIRECTOR & CREATORAli is a director from Nova Scotia, now based in Toronto. Recent credits include: Directing A Spirit’s Face (a new Indigenous play in English & ASL, Vancouver/Toronto), Directing Oklahoma! (First Act Productions), Directing multiple touring shows for Education Arts Canada, Assistant Directing Julius Caesar (Shakespeare in High Park, Canadian Stage), Assistant DirectingBRANTWOOD (North America’s largest experiment in immersive theatre), Script Coordinating for Within the Glass (Tarragon Theatre), Directing for Shakespeare-In-Hospitals. She recently co-created & performed two sold-out Fringe shows: the interactive/site specific Andy Warhol Presents: Valerie and The Dinner Table (a series of theatrical dinner parties with storytelling about home).Ali has created and performed work in Edinburgh, Vancouver, Berlin, Halifax & Toronto in museums, art studios, defunct record shops, closed schools, kitchens, and harbours. She is a graduate of the Theatre & Drama Studies Program at the University of Toronto Mississauga/Sheridan College.Upcoming: Directing Still by Jen Silverman and Get Yourself Home Skyler James by Jordan Tannahill and working as developmental director/dramaturg on Flourish, a piece about disability and inter-generational wisdom. alijoyrichardson.com
Our next featured artist, Maria Mendl, will perform her narrative essay Junior at the FOOT 2016 Solo Performance Cabaret. She describes this work, which explores issues of care giving, health and motherhood, as both “creative non-fiction” and “philosophy in narrative form”My essay “Junior” appeared in 2014 in The M Word, an anthology of essays by women with all sorts of relationships to motherhood. It’s work of creative non-fiction, without as much interpretation as an academic paper might have; nonetheless, I think of it as a philosophy essay in narrative form.
Maria Meindl is the author of Outside the Box: the Life and Legacy of Mona Gould, the Grandmother I Thought I Knew from McGill-Queen’s University Press, winner of the Alison Prentice award for women’s history. Her essay “Rules” appeared in Twelve Breaths a Minute, an anthology on death published by Creative Non Fiction, and her story “The Last Judgment” was published in digital form from Found Press. Her essay “Junior” was published in The M Word: Conversations about Motherhood from Goose Lane Editions in 2014.
Maria’s essays, poetry and fiction have appeared in journals including The Literary Review of Canada, Descant, Musicworks and Queen Street Quarterly. She has made two series for CBC Radio’s Ideas: Parent Care and Remembering Polio. Maria is the founder of Draft, a literary reading series which features new work by established and emerging writers. She teaches movement classes in downtown Toronto and is a first-year PhD student at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto.
The Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies is a-buzz with all sorts of intriguing events in the coming weeks. Those of you in and around Toronto may want to also be interested in the upcoming symposium “The Other D: Locating ‘D’ance in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies in Canada, taking place January 22nd and 23rd. Check out their schedule at http://theotherd.weebly.com/
Natalie Frijia will be presenting her work Black Wool Jacket, based on observations, conversations, and occasional eavesdropping from a coat-check position at a recently closed nightclub, at our Solo Performance Cabaret on Sunday, February 7th (you won’t want to miss it, so please remember to register):
Natalie Frijia is a Toronto-based writer currently in the PhD program at the University of Toronto’s Graduate Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, and the School of the Environment. Her research focuses on the incorporation of non-human animals into spectacle and education-based performances and performance art. Her non-academic writing has been published by Scarborough Arts, and performed in Fringe, Rhubarb, New Ideas Festival, Theatre Passe Muraille’s Crapshoot Series, and Back Burner Productions’ What Are You Doing Up There?! Festival. She is a current member of Storefront Theatre’s inaugural Playwriting Unit.
These next three featured artists will be setting up shop at FOOT 2016 with their performance piece All Night Check: Beautiful Young Ladies to (Theoretically) Perform for You:
Inspired by the writing on an historic brothel coin, All Night Check: Beautiful Young Ladies to (Theoretically) Perform for You takes the form of a Brothel of Academia, a place where the commodification of the female body clashes with or relates to female scholars. By actively engaging the audience throughout the piece—choose your own (non-sexual) adventure style—we highlight the ways in which women “perform” within and against cultural standards of womanhood.
Given the way in which mainstream male-dominated sex culture often dehumanizes women, and the ways in which women tend to define themselves as academics, we subvert assumptions about the female body as a sexual or a genderless object. We explore the artifices of the sexual fantasy industry and academic settings, pointing out ways in which they overlap and how we perceive the female body within these locations. The piece, a series of digital and live performances that the audience moves freely through, challenges spectators-participants to acknowledge and embrace the artifice associated with sexual power dynamics in culture and politics and gender dynamics in academia. All Night Check skews the sex culture tropes (porn story lines, clothing, viewing of sex) and academic tropes (panels, Q&As, the language of scholarship) in blatant and satirical ways, the audience can critically engage with the tensions between artist/activist/academic and the female body.
Performer Information and Bios:
Angela Sweigart-Gallagher and Victoria Pettersen Lantz (The Wandering Uterus Project) both earned doctorates in Theatre Research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They founded The Wandering Uterus Project as a response to the recent assaults on women’s reproductive rights. They use their bodies, political statements, classical literature and science, and interactive performance techniques to create work that highlights social norms and injustices against women. Their original performance Dr. Womb and Dr. Tomb’s Wondrous Wandering Ward of Cures, Correctives, and Creams for All that Ails and Avails the Utilitarian and Utterly Unreliable Uterus, premiered in Chicago in 2013.
Melissa C. Thompson (The Sacred Heart Archive) earned her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she specialized in Performance Studies, gender studies, and experimental performance. She is the founder of the multi-disciplinary arts project The Sacred Heart Archive, whose works include Ask the Ambien Cassandra and The Key Said and the Door Said Run and the Door Said Fly. She has conducted original performances and physical theatre workshops both nationally and internationally, appearing at venues such as Highways Performance Space, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, the Centre for Performance Research, and Jerusalem English-Speaking Theatre.