Skip Navigation
Falvey Memorial Library
Advanced
You are exploring: Home > Blogs

Villanova Theatre Presents: “Curtains”

By Jenna Renaud and Ethan Shea

"Topper Theatre"

Photograph of Topper Theatre courtesy of Villanova University

Curtains: A Musical Whodunnit is arguably the largest production of the 2021-2022 Villanova Theatre season. The show will be the inaugural performance in the new 400-seat Topper Theatre, part of the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts, completed in 2019. In addition, this musical marks the return of Villanova President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, to the theatre. Curtains is only the second musical directed by Father Donahue since he became University President in 2006, the last being The Drowsy Chaperone in 2012.

The show captivated audiences from the first number and kept everyone engaged from start to finish. There were numerous elaborate scenes, and each performer took advantage of their opportunities to showcase their musical talents, whether it was in a somber ballad, or an over-the-top performance including background dancers and a grand staircase.

Unsurprisingly, Curtains lived up to its name, as there were certainly a lot of curtains in the show. This may seem obvious, but there was definitely more curtain usage than your average theatre production. This was mostly a product of the play within a play that is central to the plot. The extra layer of theatrical performance allowed the script to make some meta commentary on theatre in general, making for some witty and  hilarious moments.

Without giving away any spoilers, it can be said that Curtains is sure to please anyone who attends because it has something to offer for every sort of theatre-goer. Those who look for humor in their plays will perhaps be the happiest, but attendees looking for a fulfilling love story or suspenseful scenes will not be forgotten. Needless to say, you should buy your tickets now, and you can do so here!

Curtains is a Agatha Christie-style mystery combined with golden-age style musicals. Check out the following materials from Falvey’s collection to learn more about Curtains, Agatha Christie mysteries, and golden-age musicals:

If you would like to “dig deeper,” as we say around here, Falvey’s recent Cat in the Stax blog, which was featured on both the Library’s blog and “The YAWP: Villanova’s Graduate English Program Blog,” showcases some memorabilia from past Villanova Theatre productions that are similar in nature to Curtains, so check it out here!


Jenna Renaud and Ethan Shea are Graduate Assistants at Falvey Memorial Library.


Like

Dig Deeper: Villanova Theatre Presents The Revolutionists

By Jenna Renaud

“I write plays that I like to describe as having endings with hard hope…It makes the characters and hopefully the audience want to keep fighting, keep going, keep living, and keep learning at the end of the play.”
Lauren Gunderson 

The Revolutionists: A Villanova Theatre Production

Villanova Theatre is back for the spring semester with its newest comedy production, The Revolutionists. The show runs Feb. 1020 in the Court Theatre housed in the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. The show is written by Lauren Gunderson and directed by Valerie Joyce. 

The Cincinnati Inquirer describes The Revolutionists as follows: In the shadow of an overworked guillotine, four badass women collide and collude in Paris during the Reign of Terror: fugitive queen Marie Antoinette, idealist assassin Charlotte Corday, Caribbean spy Marianne Angelle, and beleaguered playwright Olympe de Gouges (who just wants to make the plot work out). Lauren Gunderson’s breakneck comedy of ideas is a fiercely funny fever dream as well as a timely rumination on the role of violence in the quest for change, a “sassy, hold-on-to-your-seats theatrical adventure.” 

Dig Deeper into The Revolutionists 

Women and the French Revolution 

Photo provided by Kimberly Reilly & Villanova Theatre

The French Revolution took place from May 1789 to November 1799 and is considered one of the largest and bloodiest upheavals in European history. French citizens eliminated the absolute monarchy and feudal system and created an entirely new political and social framework. Following the death of the King, a radical group called the Jacobins took over, ushering France into what would be later known as “The Reign of Terror.” During that time, they murdered over 17,000 people. In 1795, a new, relatively moderate constitution was adopted and opposition was stopped through the use of the French army, led by Napoleon Bonaparte. Political corruption and unrest continued until 1799 when Napoleon staged a coup to declare himself France’s “first consul.”

During the time of the French Revolution, women began to speak up and fought for their own rights. Following the storming of the Bastille in 1789, women began to join in riots, demonstrate for their rights, and attend the political clubs of men. Although there was no major change regarding the rights of women following the Revolution, they made their presence known and are depicted in the majority of revolutionary art for being symbols of revolutionary values. 

Dig Deeper into Women and the French Revolution 


Jenna Renaud is a Graduate Assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a Graduate Student in the Communication Department.


Like

Upcoming Scholarship@Villanova Talk Featuring Professor Bess Rowen

By Ethan Shea

"Bess Rowen"

"'The Lines Between the Lines: How Stage Directions Affect Embodiment' by Dr. Bess Rowen"

On Friday, Nov. 12, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Professor Bess Rowen will be giving a talk in room 205 of Falvey Library as a part of the Scholarship@Villanova program. All Scholarship@Villanova talks are sponsored by Falvey and serve the purpose of recognizing research contributions of Villanova faculty members. This tradition has been ongoing since 2004, and all presentations continue to be free and open to the public.

Professor Rowen received her MA in Performance Studies from New York University and her PhD in Theatre and Performance from The Graduate Center at CUNY. Her talk is titled “Impossible Things Are Happening Every Day: The Possibilities of Impossible Stage Directions.”

Dr. Rowen has published a book-length study on stage directions, making her the perfect speaker for this talk focused on scripts’ unspoken lines. Professor Rowen’s book is titled The Lines Between the Lines: How Stage Directions Affect Embodiment, and copies will be available for purchase at the talk.

Because of the inherent limits of the stage’s physical space, stage directions may seem impossible to fulfill at times, but Rowen claims this impossibility creates unique opportunities for creativity. In addition to stage directions, Rowen is interested in gender and sexuality theory, female playwrights, Irish theatre, and theatrical riots.

Falvey Memorial Library has plenty of resources for theatre-loving Villanovans. Within the subject guide for theatre, you can find several databases and access points to various primary sources that will help you find the information you need for your research. Not to mention the countless books concerning theatre on the shelves of Falvey’s stacks!

Now is the perfect time to attend an event focused on theatre. Given that Villanova Theatre’s second production of the season, Beckett Bites, will be performed from Nov. 4 to 14, this talk will be excellent food for thought to supplement your viewing experience, so make sure you don’t miss out on this exciting event!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

 


Like
1 People Like This Post

Tony Awards Take on Adaptations

By Ethan Shea

""

On Sept. 26, the 74th Tony Awards took to the stage. Having been delayed an entire year, the ceremony was a welcome sight on Broadway. One aspect of this year’s Tony Awards that stuck out is the prevalence of adaptations among the winners and nominees. Falvey Library has access to many of the works that inspired these award winning shows, so if you would like to learn more about how this year’s Tony recipients came to be, check out the links below.

Additionally, feel free to browse a complete list of the winners and nominees here.

The Inheritance and Howard’s End

The Inheritance became one of the biggest winners this year by taking home the coveted award for best play. Matthew Lopez, the playwright of The Inheritance, stated that E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End is his favorite novel, which is unsurprisingly why he took inspiration for his play from it. In Howard’s End, Forster tells the story of three conflicting families living in England around the year 1900. Critiques of social conventions and discussions of economics surround an unconventional love story between two members of opposing families.

The Inheritance is far from a strict adaptation of Forster’s novel. Rather than England, the play takes place in New York a generation after the height of the AIDS crisis. E.M. Forster was a closeted gay man when he wrote Howard’s End, so The Inheritance uses the text’s queer subtext to create a play fit for the 21st century. The performance is a whopping 6 hours long and is presented in two separate three hour performances. Although the plots of these two stories are very different, if you are interested in theater and what inspired this award-winning play, I’d recommend you check out Howard’s End while keeping in mind the underlying themes that brought its theatrical offspring to life.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical and Moulin Rouge!"Moulin Rouge! Play Image"

Moulin Rouge! The Musical is a more direct adaptation of its source material. Rather than a novel, this play was inspired by the 2001 Baz Luhrmann film of the same name. The over-the-top nature of the film translates beautifully to the stage. As a result, this play was the biggest winner of the 74th Tony Awards and walked away with 10 prizes. A few of the awards Moulin Rouge! won are for scenic design, costume, lighting, and sound design, which are similar to some of the Oscars won by Luhrmann’s film that celebrated the extravagance of the costumes and set.

One point of departure between the film and play is that the songs used are distinctly different. In the film, Luhrmann famously mixed modern pop songs with the score, and in the same vein, this adaptation used songs that were written in the 17 years since the film’s release.  For example, Katy Perry’s hit song Firework and Sia’s Chandelier are both incorporated into the show’s musical performances.

"A Christmas Carol"A Christmas Carol and A Christmas Carol

This play needs no introduction. The adaptation of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella is truly timeless and has been adapted countless times. Nonetheless, this most recent production became the first holiday play to win a Tony. Not only did A Christmas Carol win a Tony, it won five, including best score, making it the first play to beat every contending musical in that category.

The reduced competition due to the COVID-19 Pandemic certainly affected the Tony Awards this year, but that should not take away from the achievements of these shows. Regardless, theatre-goers worldwide are certainly looking forward to a much more crowded theatre schedule in the coming months, which should make next year’s installment of the Tony Awards all the more exciting!

 


Headshot of Ethan Shea

Ethan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

 


Like

Villanova Theatre’s First Show of the Season: WHITE

“If it’s not entertaining, why the hell are we doing it? Make’m laugh. Make’m cry. Make’m call their senator. But by any means necessary. Make’m do something. Can’t change anybody’s mind if they’re asleep.” – James Ijames, Playwright and Director 

Opening weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Villanova Theatre’s first show of the season, WHITE, in the new John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. The center is an 85,000-square-foot space for performances, featuring three performance spaces. WHITE took place in the Court Theatre, an open format, 200-seat theater that features flexible seating, a balcony, and technologically advanced lighting and sound equipment.  

I had the opportunity to explore the new space before and after the performance. In addition, everyone in attendance Friday night was invited to a reception following the show on the third-floor Belle Masque rooftop terrace. The rooftop terrace allowed guests to flow from outside to inside easily and take in what was a beautiful evening. 

The show itself was captivating and entertaining, while simultaneously challenging, as it forced the audience to re-evaluate their own implicit (or explicit) biases. The small cast kept the audience engaged throughout the 90 minutes, and the whole auditorium rose to their feet in applause following the final scene.  

Learn more about the show below.  

SYNOPSIS (Drawn from the Educational Guide below)

With a premise equal parts playful, prescient, and preposterous, art imitates life (or is it the other way around?) in James Ijames’ comedy WHITE. Gus is an artist. Vanessa is an actress. When a major museum seeks to showcase diverse voices in their next exhibition, Gus enlists Vanessa’s help to create an audacious new artistic persona to get him in the show. This contemporary Frankenstein story gleefully skewers the modern monstrosities of racism, misogyny, and cultural appropriation, all the while “subverting expectations, cracking wise, and opening eyes” (DC Metro). 

WHITE: BASED ON A TRUE STORY 

The plot of White is inspired by a true story that took place in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. In 2014, the museum invited three outside curators—Anthony Elms (Associate Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia), Michelle Grabner (Artist and Professor in the Painting and Drawing Department at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago), and Stuart Comer (Chief Curator of Media and Performance Art at MoMA)—to each curate one floor of the exhibition from their varied perspectives and methodologies.  

Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs at the Whitney, Donna De Salvo, touted the exhibition’s offerings as, “one of the broadest and most diverse takes on art in the United States that the Whitney has offered in many years.” However, of the 103 invited participants, just nine were black. Of those nine artists, one, Donelle Woolford, a 37-year-old woman from Conyers Georgia, was actually the fabrication of a white man, 52-year-old artist Joe Scanlan. This brought the total of black female artists in the biennial down to one. Read the full story in the education guide found here. 

MORE RESOURCES 

Trailer 

The show is put forth as a contemporary Frankenstein story. Borrow Frankenstein by Mary Shelley from Falvey’s collection. 

Get your tickets to WHITE today! The show will be playing through Oct. 3.  

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT/DIRECTOR 

James Ijames, MFA, is Associate Professor of Theatre and a playwright, director and educator. He has appeared regionally in productions at The Arden Theatre Company, The Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Wilma Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Mauckingbird Theatre Company, and People’s Light and Theatre.

James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre (NYC), Steppenwolf Theatre, Definition Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre (Chicago IL) Shotgun Players (Berkeley, CA) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright’s Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theatre, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Garden.

James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and he has two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Superior Donuts and Angels in America and two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Play for The Brothers Size with Simpatico Theatre Company and Gem of the Ocean with Arden Theatre. James is a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for ….Miz Martha, a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award, a 2019 Kesselring Prize for Kill Move Paradise and a 2020 Steinberg Prize.


""Jenna Renaud is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library.


Like
1 People Like This Post

Summer Movie Nights

By Susan Turkel

Have you watched everything on Netflix? Are you done with Amazon Prime and Hulu? Are you ready for something different? The Library can help!

Falvey Memorial Library provides the Villanova community with access to thousands of videos via our streaming subscriptions. We have an online guide —  Streaming Video at Falvey — that will help you get started in your cinematic explorations.

Read on for a taste of the resources and films that are available to you.

Theater on Video

Theater fans will enjoy viewing a variety of filmed stage performances. On the Boards features contemporary works by both international and U.S.-based artists in dance, theater, music, and more. BBC Shakespeare Plays and the Royal Shakespeare Company Collection offer many interpretations of classic works by the Bard. Broadway HD features filmed productions from the iconic theater capital of the United States.

UK-based Digital Theatre+ includes a wide variety of filmed performances, from 21st century pieces by Eclipse Theatre (the UK’s leading Black-led national touring company) to works by Henrik Ibsen, Arthur Miller, and Sophocles. A highlight of Digital Theatre+ is the National Theatre Collection, which includes high quality recordings never previously seen outside of the NT’s Archive. 

Feature Films and Documentaries on AVON

Not into theater? There is something for everyone in Academic Video Online (AVON). Despite its name, AVON offers award-winning dramas, love stories, animated films, and comedies, as well as gripping documentaries. Search by title, actor name, director, or keyword to get started. 

Two excellent collections within AVON are Sony Pictures Classics, mainly for feature films and foreign films, and Film Platform, mostly for documentaries from the U.S. and around the world. See below for a selection of their offerings.

More Great Films on Swank and Kanopy

Packages like AVON are a grab bag; Villanova has no control over which films we can offer you on their platform. The Library also licenses individual films based on faculty requests, for use in specific courses. Once we’ve licensed the film, we are able to offer access via the library catalog to anyone at Villanova for your individual viewing enjoyment. 

These films can be found on two platforms: Kanopy and Swank. There are many great films available to the Villanova community on these platforms in a variety of genres.

Our current Kanopy list includes many foreign films and documentaries, including Rashomon, Stonewall Uprising, YI YI, and Paris is Burning.

You’ll find more popular, “big screen” films on Swank, including Get Out, Black Panther, Dallas Buyers Club, and The Silence of the Lambs.

All of these licenses are limited-term; you’ll see the end date near the access link in the library catalog.

Falvey is happy to help keep you entertained this summer. Pop your popcorn, fluff up your pillows, and settle in for a night at the movies! 


Susan Turkel, MA, MLS, is a Social Sciences Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.


Like
1 People Like This Post

Slaphappy Delivers Pitch Perfect (Inspired) Show

By Shawn Proctor

""

 

Unprecedented. Challenging. Socially distanced.

If you thought I was talking about living through the pandemic, then you haven’t seen Slaphappy: A Covid-Era Commedia, streaming from Villanova Theatre until May 30.

To these terms I would also add joyful, sly, and triumphant.

“Why triumphant,” you ask?

Because to create new art in a time when performance is so very rare, to discover new methods and inspirations and collaborators in order to bring it to audiences is a triumph.

Full stop. No debate.

Slaphappy proves the play is the thing.

Conceived and directed by Valerie Joyce and filmed by Hezekiah Lewis III, Slaphappy eludes easy definition. It’s one part The Office, two parts Pitch Perfect, and a splash of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Oh, and yes, instead of a cappella competitions, the college groups vie for top commedia dell’arte troupe in the country.

Emma Poley, second-year graduate student, who made her Villanova Theatre acting debut as “Kathy Brown, PhD,” in the show explained Slaphappy follows in the commedia tradition of devised theatre. “The actors were free to improvise within a structured outline,” she says. From that four-hour rough cut, the production team edited down to a two-hour film.

Within this almost-too-wild-to-be-conceived premise, the entire cast shines, showing their growth from novice commedia players to seasoned actors within the traditional Italian dramatic style. The result holds the attention through backstage and onstage meltdowns, smack-downs, jaw-dropping revelations, and power plays that underpin the efforts to bring their performances to the regional, then national competitions.

Kirsten Sughrue’s muscadet-dry wit as competition coordinator “Penny Hollis” and Ryan Henry’s hilarious turn as uber jock “Julia Wrong” stood out among a large and delightful cast. And perhaps the biggest delight of all was hearing a crowd reacting to a play in Villanova Theatre’s new John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts, just one of many performances to come.

Complimenti to all!

 


Shawn Proctor is Communications and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 

 


Like

‘Cat in the Stax: Bakkhai Variations

cover for Bakkhai variations theatre program

“Dionysus is god of the beginning before the beginning.” 

– Anne Carson

The Villanova Theatre program has adapted over the last seven months to this constantly changing  world and emerged victorious with five short plays in response to the provocative Greek tragedy Bakkhai. All five of these plays were written by  alumni of Villanova’s MA in Theatre program. The plays were rolled out individually over the second half of October and a full-length film showcasing  all five plays is still available until Nov. 14.

As a precursor to the five new plays, the actors engaged in a Zoom reading of a new version of Bakkhai written by Anne Carson and directed by Heidi M. Rose, PhD, Chair, Department of Communication, Professor, Performance Studies. The play tells of Dionysus, god of theatre, ecstasy, and intoxication returns to Thebes. This new adaptation brings together Euripides’ original with a contemporary feel as it explores themes of violence, family relationships, and gender roles. The cast and production team did an incredible job with this reading, showcasing the actors skills in using their voices and seated body language through this Zoom reading. Ultimately, this reading introduces viewers new to the story of Dionysus to the themes that will continue to be explored in each of the five short films.

The first of the five plays She Makes Knives Now is written by Mark. J. Costello and directed by James Ijames. The play takes place after the  events of Anne Carson’s Bakkhai and looks at Agave’s journey after her sentence to exile. Through camera angles and street corner verses, She Makes Knives looks at the struggles of women dealing with poverty and homelessness, coupling that with coping with a tragedy. Christy Chory, as Agave, captures the desperation, but also the calculatedness, it takes to survive on the street corners of modern-day America. 

The Bakkhai; or, I’m trying so hard to be good, written by Alix Rosenfeld and directed by Tai Verley explores the acting industry and racial power dynamics in this captivating tale. Alison Scarmella Baker,  Ilana, and  Sharese Salters, Dee, explore what can happen when truth is revealed and many voices come together to demand action. 

Playwright Megan Schumacher and director Malika Oyetimein come together to put on Dionté and Khai, the third play in the set of variations. Megan Schumacher flips between the perspective of Dionysus and Pentheus to create a complete story looking at the misogyny and racism that exists today.

Beginning, written by Jessica Bedford and directed by James Ijames serves as a contemporary prequel to Euripides’ Bakkhai. The four daughters of King Cadmus talk in pairs about the pregnancies of Agave, mother of Pentheus, and Semele, mother of Dionysus. The relationships between sisters are explored as contemporary conversations take place that discuss two pregnancies that will ultimately change the family forever.

The final play in this series is exxx…stasis, exxx…hale… is  written by Alexandra Espinoza and directed by Cat Ramirez. Nadia and Cecily are faced with trying to make their relationship work in a socially distanced world. As they experiment with new ways to keep their relationship interesting, the current cultural climate and tensions continue to swirl around them, ideas that are not foreign to many couples  today. 

Each of the five Bakkhai Variations explore relevant themes in captivating ways, showing the creativity and ingenuity of the directors and actors on the projects. Visit Villanova Theatre’s website to engage with dramaturgical resources and purchase tickets for the full-length film showcase.


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Finding my old Percy Jackson books to read more about Greek gods. 


Like

Creating Community During Social Distancing: Villanova Theatre’s Friday Night Play Readings

Screenshot of virtual play reading.

By Sarah Wingo

On March 16, all of Villanova’s classes went online, and all faculty and staff who were able to were asked to begin working from home. At this time, we were told that the earliest we could expect to come back to campus would be after Easter Break.

We now know we will not be returning this semester—there will be no spring musical, no March Madness, no end of term celebrations, and no in-person commencement ceremonies.

The week before we all went home tension on campus was palpable. You’d pass dozens of students speaking in hushed and anxious tones on the phone to their parents. Faculty friends of mine spoke of seniors breaking into tears in class knowing that their final semester at Villanova would be nothing like they could have ever imagined.

Everyone was anxious and worried.

I personally handle crisis best when I have something to do, some way I can help, something I can plan. So I started thinking it was clear people needed something to look forward to, something to take their minds off the current state of the world, something that could bring us together and create a community that could support each other through this.

When I was in graduate school earning my masters in English (Shakespeare Studies specifically), one of the professors at my school organized Thursday night play readings. These readings were designed to expose us to the plays of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, but they were also a social gathering. People brought wine and baked goods, and the events were fun and silly. This, I thought, could work.

So I contacted two of my friends who are faculty in the theatre department, Dr. Chelsea Phillips, and Dr. Bess Rowen, and proposed my idea: virtual play readings via Zoom with the theatre graduate students. They were in.

The next day, I sent out the following email and asked everyone interested to respond to a poll asking when would be the best time for us to all meet.

Email:

Hello, Lovely Theatre People!

I have a proposal for you. Chelsea, Bess, and I have been trying to think of ways to facilitate socializing while social distancing, and we’ve got an idea, but we’ll need your help for it to work.

What I’m Proposing:

  • Renaissance play readings, no Shakespeare allowed.
  • We meet once a week via Skype or Zoom (TBA) and together read one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries.
  • We read cold, no preparation, mistakes and mispronunciations welcome.
  • Sign up to be assigned a role or just pop in to listen.
  • BYO wine/beer/cocktail. [our theatre department is all graduate students]
  • We take an intermission to chat and refill.
  • Anyone who wants to join is welcome roles to be assigned on a first come first served basis.

Context:

We did this when I was in grad school in England studying Shakespeare in his hometown, granted it was in person. It was such a fun way to get to know other playwrights from Shakespeare’s time and in turn put him in context. Also the plays are readily available through public domain so we don’t have to worry about how to access them. Drinking was not compulsory, but it certainly made the whole thing more fun, and it is meant to be silly and fun, with just a smidge of education thrown in.

When?:

This is the tricky part, finding a day/time, I know many of you have family responsibilities and this may not be possible. Let’s take a poll and see what would work best for everyone.

 

We had an enthusiastic response, and the following Friday at 7 p.m., a librarian, two theatre professors, and about 12 Villanova theatre students met via Zoom to read A Knight of The Burning Pestle by Francis Beaumont, a very silly and fun play wherein a couple of “audience” members storm the stage of a play and take over inserting themselves and their young man servant into the action. The reading lasted for a little over 3 hours and was an absolute delight; it was silly and joyous, and for just a little while the weight of the world lifted, and we were all just sitting in our homes hanging out with friends.

The first reading was a resounding success, and we’re planning to keep them going every Friday for as long as this whole thing lasts. So far we have read Knight of The Burning Pestle, The Maid’s Tragedy, The Shoemaker’s Holiday, The Spanish Tragedy, and John Lyly’s Gallathea .

So how does it work:

  • Each week, at the end of the our reading, we announce the following week’s play.
  • I find us a good copy of the text to use for the reading
  • I create a Zoom meeting
  • I write an email including the Zoom link, the text of the play we’ll be using, and a link to that weeks signup sheet in google docs
  • I go through the play text and create a casting chart so that we can assign parts and doubling where necessary (early modern plays have a LOT of characters)
  • On Friday or Thursday, Dr. Phillips, Dr. Rowen, and I have a Zoom meeting to divvy up roles
  • On Friday, night we all gather

I’ve been a librarian at Villanova for what will be seven years this coming August, and one of the things I have come to value the most about Villanova is its focus on community. In these times of uncertainty and isolation, community is more important than ever, and that is exactly what these play readings are providing for our theatre students, for myself, and for our alumni and faculty who join in.

We get to start out the week knowing there is something to look forward to and to plan for, and on Friday night we get to see each other’s smiling faces and spend a few hours in each other’s company laughing and reading a play.


Sarah Wingo, librarian

Sarah Wingo, MA, MSI, is the Liaison Librarian for English Lit, Theatre, and Romance Languages at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 

 


Like

Timelapse Video of “Be Not Afraid of Greatness: Celebrating the History of Villanova Theatre”

 

This recording is of curators Beaudry Rae Allen, Preservation and Digital Archivist, and Emma Poley, Theatre MA ’21, prepping materials for the new Spring Exhibit, “Be Not Afraid of Greatness: Celebrating the History of Villanova Theatre.” Before exhibit material is put on display Beaudry and Emma organize and arrange material beforehand to determine how the narrative should be displayed, where the exhibit text should be placed, and what items look best for each case. To make sure sizing is right, they use a cut-out template to outline the space available.


Like
1 People Like This Post

Next Page »

 


Last Modified: February 17, 2020