Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Neal Bell’s play Cold Sweat is currently running in Los Angeles, produced by the theater group Uranium Madhouse. The film In Secret - based in part on his play adaptation of Zola's Therese Raquin - was released in the U.S. in winter last year.  Directed by Charlie Stratton, it starred Elizabeth Olsen, Oscar Isaac and Jessica Lange. For a third year, this past spring, he was a guest mentor to an undergraduate playwright in Yale University's Playwrights Festival. This summer he is working on a new play about a Civil War photographer.

Claire Conceison took two Duke students (Henry Washington and Hannah Wang) to the Winter Institute at Shanghai Theatre Academy in January (and gave a lecture and workshop). She has two new publications coming out this year: the introduction to Arthur Miller's book Salesman in Beijing (a new edition published by Bloomsbury Methuen Drama for Miller centennial this year) and a chapter "Eating Red: Staging Maoist Nostalgia in Beijing's Revolution-themed Restaurants" in Dorothy Chansky and Ann Folio White's coedited volume Food and Theatre on the World Stage (Routledge 2015).

Dan Ellison presented workshops on legal issues for the theater at the Southeastern Theatre Conference annual convention. He continues to write the regularly appearing column on legal issues for the theater for the SETC Newsletter. He serves as President of the Durham Arts Council and president-elect of the Gregg Art Museum.

Ellen Hemphill had a Dean's leave and went to Paris to interview seven artists 50 and over on the legacy of their work and where they are now in their artistic life. This is an ongoing project, which will be called Legacy. She filmed, recorded and had transcribed all the interviews (French and English). She made a short film with Jim Haverkamp based on the short story It Had Wings by Allan Gurganus. It has been in post-production all year and she hopes the final product will be out this summer. She has been creating a short video on Voice and Gesture to accompany her teaching work that will be available to students who take Voice and Gesture at Duke or in private workshops. A brochure has also been made and is available. She taught Master Classes in Minneapolis and in Durham to professional actors and dancers. And she has begun the work on a new original work by Archipelago Theatre to be produced in 2016 called Eve and Poppy.

Jody McAuliffe dramaturged Sibyl Kempson’s Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag at New Dramatists and the production at Abrons Art Center in the spring. As guest artist, PlayLab responder, and workshop instructor, she directed Kat Ramsburg’s Anatomy of a Hug at Great Plains Theatre Conference. For the National Theater Institute of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Jody was guest director in the spring and guest faculty for the TheaterMakers Intensive. At Duke, Jody directed the fall mainstage play, The Perfect Detonator, her adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent from the point of view of Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber. As a Duke Faculty Fellow in Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Jody hosted two panels after performances: "Domestic Terrorism" with Tim Nichols, Executive Director, Counterterrorism and Public Policy Fellowship Program & Fellows and "A Brief Introduction to Joseph Conrad, a Man Between Empires" with Beth Holmgren, professor & chair of Slavic and Eurasian Studies. Her creative nonfiction short, Bozo’s Circus, was published in Litscapes: Collected Writings 2015, Steerage Press. She was awarded a Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation Grant for 2015. In her last year as chair, Jody is proud to have hosted some fabulous guest artists: Lisa D’Amour, Brendan Connelly, Jess Barbagallo, Steven Sapp, Rude Mechanicals, Jim Findlay, Jo Howarth, Ari Fliakos, and Talya Klein (who directed a terrific spring mainstage, Enron). She is busy working on an adaptation of Don DeLillo’s The Body Artist, in collaboration with Rachel Jett, Jess Barbagallo, and Jim Findlay. 

Jaybird O’Berski is teaching in Beijing, China in June with a new acting & improv conservatory called The Incubator. (See photo of Jaybird with the improv group last summer that grew into this summer's project.) In July and August he'll direct actors for Wanderlust Yoga Retreats in scenic locations on the West coast and Canada. In September he'll co-direct Young-Jean Lee's The Shipment as the opening show of Little Green Pig's new sister group, Black Ops, an ensemble devoted to increasing opportunities and training for Black theater artists. In December he'll co-direct The Emotions of Normal People, the world premiere of a devised movement theater piece based on the music of seminal German electronica band Kraftwerk. In February 2016 he'll appear in Tony Perucci's adaptation of William S. Burrough's Naked Lunch. Jaybird is artistic director of Antic Shakespeare at Duke, which will perform a showcase in the fall and a full length show in the spring.

Bradley Rogers was selected as one of 12 Kluge Fellows by the Librarian of Congress at the recommendation of a National Endowment of the Humanities panel. The fellowship permits him to conduct archival research on Rouben Mamoulian, who directed the original productions of Porgy and Bess, Oklahoma, and Carousel.

Jeff Storer takes over as chair of the Department of Theater Studies in July 2015. He directed the area premiere of Lauren Gunderson's I and You for Manbites Dog Theater's 28th season. Manbites Dog (where Storer is co-founder and Artistic Director) opens its 29th season of producing area and world premieres, and this season Storer will be directing Mr. Burns: a Post Electric Play and Brownsville Song (b-side for Tray.)