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Villanova Theatre Presents “House of Desires”

By Ethan Shea

"House of Desires"

Last weekend, I attended Villanova Theatre’s production of House of Desires, a play originally written by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz in the seventeenth century. This play is directed by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright James Ijames and has a runtime of approximately two hours and ten minutes, which includes a fifteen-minute intermission. The performance takes place in the beautiful John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts.

Sor Juana’s dramatic works are relatively new to the English-speaking world because they had not been translated from Spanish until very recently (about thirty years ago). The translation of Sor Juana’s plays into English has created a timely opportunity to recognize the playwright’s wide range of social and literary contributions. As a Mexican icon, symbol of queer pride and strong feminine figure, Sor Juana is especially apt for the current decade.

"Ethan at 'House of Desires'"Villanova’s production of House of Desires is a contemporary adaptation of a timeless story. One revolutionary aspect of the original play is its extended focus on women throughout the story. In House of Desires women have opportunities to speak their minds amidst evidently ridiculous social constraints. Villanova’s contemporary production stays true to the progressive social qualities of the play and uses its parodic tendencies to complicate dated notions of gender with humor.

One of my favorite moments of the production is the hilarious musical performance that takes place in the middle of the show. I also love how the performers engage with their audience, occasionally asking attendees for advice or poking fun at those in the front seats.

To learn more about this production, check out the playbill, which includes a a detailed history of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.

You can buy tickets to upcoming performances here.  Be sure to reserve your seats before the final show on Nov. 20!

Thank you Villanova Theatre for putting on a delightful show and a special thanks to Kim Reilly, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Villanova Theatre, for getting me tickets to this performance!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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TBT: Vasey Hall in the Fall

Image of Vasey Hall in the fall of 1993.

Image courtesy of the Villanova University Digital Library.


For this week’s Throwback Thursday (TBT), check out this fall image of Vasey Hall from 1993! The inscription on the side of Vasey Hall reads, “Originally known as the Commerce and Finance Building, this structure was later named for the Augustinian Provincial, Rev. Nicholas J. Vasey, O.S.A., 1918-1926.” Many theater productions were held in Vasey Hall before the new John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts opened in 2020. Villanova Theatre’s newest show, Men On Boats will be running from Sept. 22 through Oct. 2, so be sure to get your tickets for this comedic satire!


Anna Jankowski ’23 CLAS is a senior Communication Major from just outside Baltimore who ​​works as a Communication & Marketing Assistant in Falvey.

 

 


 


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Villanova Theatre’s 2022 Season Debut: Men on Boats

On Sunday, Sept. 25, I attended the 2 p.m. showing of Villanova Theatre’s 2022-2023 season opener Men on Boats in the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. The show ran for approximately 90 minutes and included a post-performance talk-back with the Director, Kristy Dodson; the Production Dramaturg, Hannah Deprey-Severance; and Melinda Daniels, PhD, a research scientist at the Stroud Water Research Center who specializes in fluvial geomorphology, hydrology, and river ecosystem ecology. The talk-back reflected on both the impressive successes and the devastating impacts of Powell’s expedition and revealed insights on the creative process behind the production.

Men on Boats, written by living playwright Jaclyn Backhaus, is a historical satire of the real-life 1869 Grand Canyon Colorado River expedition of John Wesley Powell and his rag-tag crew. Adapting historical records into a script and portraying an excursion that only included cisgender, heterosexual white men, Backhaus created a satire that could succinctly depict an important historical event to audiences across the country while poking fun at the men who set sail in 1869 (and maybe even more modern figures).

As Dramaturg Hannah Deprey-Severance emphasized in the talk-back, Backhaus’s vision was to find a cast of performers that included everyone but cis-het white men. Villanova’s production stayed true to this vision and featured a diverse cast of talented non-male performers who brought the minimalistic yet beautiful set (created by Stefanie Hansen) to life.

Taylor Molt as Bradley (in particular), Reagan Venturi as John Colton Sumner, Genevieve “Eve” Windbiel as Hawkins, and Sara Buscaglia as Hall provided hilarity to the show and all kept me laughing out loud for the 90-minute duration. The brothers, often mistaken for twins (a joke Victorious fans will appreciate) O.G. Howland, played by Noelle Diane Johnson, and Seneca Howland, played by Abigail Little, portrayed a comedic yet compelling sibling relationship on stage. The tense and complicated friendship depicted by Alison Hyde Pascale as John Wesley Powell and Olivia “Liv” Morgan as William Dunn was grounded and gripping. Old Shady, performed by Crys Clemente, served as the crew’s resident slightly odd lone-wolf, who, of course, always had a song for every situation. Finally, Teya Juarez gave a truly endearing portrayal of Frank Goodman (with a seemingly well-practiced British accent).

A truly worthwhile production, the show runs until Sunday, Oct. 2. Tickets are available here.

More information about Men on Boats:

If you want more information on the performers and creative team who made this production possible, check out the online Playbill.

If you want a brief synopsis of Powell’s expedition and other key context for the show, check out the Educational Guide.

If you are interested in learning more about the play’s content information and advisories, check out the content guide for the play.

If you want to learn more about John Wesley Powell, check out Aton’s biography of Powell available online through Falvey (of course).


Annie Stockmal is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 

 

 

 


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TBT: “The Higher You Climb”

Image of the Villanova Theatre production "The Higher You Climb."

Photo courtesy of the Villanova University Digital Library.


This week’s Throwback Thursday (TBT) features the Villanova Theatre production The Higher You Climb. The caption for the photo above, featured in the 1960 Belle Air reads, “Leander (Raymond Kantra) attempts to woo the fair Silvia (Carole Miceli)” (p. 167). Browse the full yearbook here.

View the 2022-2023 Villanova Theatre Season here. Tickets for the first performance, “Men on Boats,” (Sept. 22-Oct. 2) are available at this link


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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Bess Rowen, PhD, To Teach Inaugural Introduction to LGBTQ Studies Course

By Kallie Stahl 

Headshot of Bess Rowen, PhD, Department of Theatre, Villanova University.

Bess Rowen, PhD, Department of Theatre, Villanova University.


Bess Rowen, PhD, Department of Theatre, will teach the inaugural Introduction to LGBTQ Studies course at Villanova University during the spring 2023 semester. The course (GWS 2060), offered through the Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS) program, will provide students the opportunity to learn about representative objects of study and methods in the interdisciplinary LGBTQ+ Studies field.

In addition to GWS 2060, Dr. Rowen also teaches (GWS 2050) Introduction to Gender Studies; (Theatre 3030) Gender, Performance, and True Crime; (Theatre 7150) Vision and Form; and (Theatre 8200) Staging Gender and Sexuality. Dr. Rowen received a BA in English and Theatre from Lehigh University, a MA in Performance Studies from New York University, and a PhD in Theatre and Performance from The Graduate Center at CUNY. She recently gave a Scholarship@Villanova lecture at Falvey Memorial Library focusing on her newly published book The Lines Between the Lines: How Stage Directions Affect Embodiment.

I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Rowen about her plans for developing the Introduction to LGBTQ Studies course and the importance of having this class at Villanova University.

Kallie Stahl (KS): How did this course come to fruition?

Dr. Bess Rowen (BR): The course started with Travis Foster, PhD, Associate Professor of English, Academic Director of Gender and Women’s Studies. He had been talking to me about this course for a while. I’ve been teaching GWS 2050, which is the introductory course to the GWS major and minor for three years. Travis asked if I would be the inaugural person to teach GWS 2060, and I was so honored by that and so excited about it. Especially because I had always taught GWS courses alongside theatre and performance. I never had the opportunity to just focus on LGBTQIA+ topics and look at that by itself. Of course, I am a theatre professor, so everything for me comes through theatre and performance in a certain way. The opportunity to be able to craft this course is super exciting to me.

KS: How does this course differ from current offerings in the GWS program?

BR: The introductory course (GWS 2050) has a lot of different areas. One area is the history of feminism in the United States and abroad. Another area is gender studies, specifically what is gender? How do we think about it? How have we historically thought about it and where it is going. Another area is sexuality and LGBTQIA+ Studies. At most institutions, the vast majority of what people are doing in GWS these days really does revolve around gender and sexuality. Students should have the opportunity to focus on the LGBTQIA+ aspect of GWS if that is really what they want.

In my mind there are three tracks: gender studies, LGBTQ studies, and feminist studies, which is the underpinning for a lot of the work in the course overall. Feminist theory opened the door for much of this to exist. And intersectional feminism, the history of people who have been erased; women of color, people who didn’t fit in the gender binary, all those things grow out of feminism. In the future, I could see people graduating Villanova with majors and minors in these particular areas, and at this time, one course doesn’t allow students to do that. I also can’t stress enough the importance of Introduction to LGBTQ Studies as a GWS course and not a class offered through another program. There are only two other courses offered directly through GWS: Introduction to Gender Studies and the capstone. This is a huge thing that Travis has managed to get through, and many thanks to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Villanova University for recognizing that this is an important aspect of what we do in GWS and is something that needs to be offered through that department.

KS: I know the class is scheduled to run during the spring 2023 semester, but what can you tell me about your plans for structuring the course?

BR: I am making the syllabus for the class this summer. I’m lucky because I’ve had the opportunity to teach the GWS 2050 course so many times. For the Introduction to LGBTQ Studies course, I think it is important to group things thematically and to make sure there are easily touched upon examples from students’ lives that they can connect to, which is also what I try to do in GWS 2050. Especially the heavier theoretical material, there are big concepts: like the fact that gender is a construct; the fact that sexuality, our understanding of it, is also a construct in a certain way. And queer temporality, which is the idea that linear time is setup for heteronormative people. For much of history, getting your first crush, getting married, buying a house were expected to happen in that order, but these things were not available to the vast majority of LGBTQIA+ people. So we had to develop different ways of what norms were and how they worked for us. So, for things like that, and to supplement heavier readings, I rely on two things: 1) Music videos—because they are incredibly short and digestible pieces of culture that tell a whole story in about two or three minutes. We can look at the assumptions there and what is being done differently because it’s very obvious; every student feels like they have a way in to the discussion. You don’t have to know everything about a topic to be able to give your opinions on a music video. 2) Clips from media (movies, television). We can see representations in media. A lot of the time they are bad representations, but there is still a conversation to be had there. And now there are even more representations which is fabulous.

I’m also going to cover important historical moves, theoretical moves, and representational moves in popular culture and media. These are threads that we’ll weave together. I never set up courses with strict chronological order, partially because of that queer temporality I touched upon earlier. You can’t tell a linear story about LGBTQIA+ culture; it doesn’t go in a straight line. There’s a lot of stepping forward and backward. It’s important not to give a false narrative that it’s all upward progress. But we still have a responsibility to those who have an interest in these areas to know the history, good and bad. LGBTQIA+ history is important. In a lot of other lineages, if you have a marginalized identity marker, you are around other people who have the same identity marker, perhaps in your family or general community. You are around others who know what those experiences are like. Or, you can find others that have similar experiences. For the LGBTQIA+ community, that person is less likely to be right next to you in your family or community. A lot of times, I have students (and this was me in graduate school) doing a ton of catchup because no one sits you down and says, “Here is the history of our representation in the world.” It’s important to give students that opportunity because if we don’t talk about these things, people can think that they don’t exist. Queer people are not new. Trans people are not new. It’s important to start with “being seen in context” and then moving from there.

KS: What would you say to a student that is interested in taking the course, but might be hesitant because they don’t have a vast knowledge of LGBTQIA+ studies?

BR: I know it’s hard to tell in a blog post, but I’m not scary. I always have a student or two (before signing up for my GWS course) who says that they might be nervous to take the course because they don’t have a lot of knowledge, but that’s the point of an intro course. I don’t care how much knowledge you come in with. If you have an interest, that’s enough for me.

I say this at the beginning of most of my GWS classes, “Nothing that could come out of your mouths is something that I haven’t heard before…I promise.” In a learning environment, it is my job to take what you are giving me and help make your understanding better. So, if I’m doing my job right, people get less afraid to mess up. Messing up is proof of learning in a lot of ways. Villanova has an incredibly kind population. I know these students are not coming in here to cause harm, there’s obviously a difference between intention and impact. So I can take what you’re saying and give you better terminology to express yourself more clearly. I’m willing to be the person who says, “Hey, instead of using this word, it’s probably better to use this word.”

I think one of the things I love about teaching GWS 2050 is watching how much more comfortable people get talking about these issues. Of course, students already have opinions prior to taking a GWS course, but some might not be comfortable expressing them, or they don’t feel like they had enough knowledge to really be able to talk about with another person, aside from just stating their opinion. I do lots of pair work and small group work in all my classes. So, if someone is afraid to say something in front of me, they can test it out on another person first. It gets everyone’s voice to be heard by another person. I love this thing called “listening pairs.” I took Teaching 2020 (now Teaching and Leading 2030) my first year at Villanova and it was introduced to me there. It’s a great program. They gave me so many pedagogical tools.

A class of 25 is not a large lecture, but its big enough that people can still feel like they can fade into the background. But I promise you, you can’t with the Introduction to LGBTQ Studies course. I will know everyone’s name. You will know everyone’s names. Those kinds of things are important to me. I really want to make a small community in all my GWS classes. I don’t care how you identify, but in the classroom, we will be talking about and creating a space for conversations like this that can be supported and worked through.

KS: Is the course open to all Villanova undergraduate students?

BR: The class is open to all undergraduates. You don’t need any prerequisites.

KS: Why is it imperative for Villanova University to continue to offer this course (and similar courses) in the future?

BR: I think it’s so important here at Villanova that we have the option for students to really dive deeper into these topics. And if you look at the current course offerings for GWS, people do get to dig into those topics except for LGBTQIA+ issues. I did an independent study with one of our GWS students who wanted to focus on queer theory in more detail. As one of my areas of studies, I am qualified to do that. I am also an out queer person on this campus, so it’s important to me that we make this course available to the Villanova community. I already have students interested in taking the course. And I’ve been asked about this course for a long time, which is one of the reasons that it exists now. I’m glad students will have the opportunity to focus on the LGBTQIA+ aspect of GWS.

KS: Is there a course you would like to teach in the future?

BR: I’m lucky because in a lot of ways it has been the true crime course. I wanted to teach that, and a student suggested it in my GWS class several years ago. Then my amazing department chair, Valerie Joyce, PhD, Associate Professor, Theatre, allowed me to go on this adventure. This semester is the second time I’ve taught it. I love teaching that course. I think it’s so fascinating to watch people really analyze gender and talk about performativity in true crime. In some ways I already feel like I’ve taught my dream course. For theatre, the course I would love to teach one day is course version of my book (The Lines Between the Lines: How Stage Directions Affect Embodiment), which focuses on stage directions. While a lot of our classes find ways to make important inroads, I’ve often thought about a course that is solely about the history of stage directions—what they do, how to write them, and different ways of enacting them. That would be such a cool course. My department is incredibly supportive, lovely, and amazing, and I think I could argue for that and make it happen if students were interested. Someday I would like to teach that course.

KS: Your book, The Lines Between the Lines: How Stage Directions Affect Embodiment, was just released last year. Can you talk about your current research?

BR: I co-founded a transfeminism working group, and I’ve been working with a great group of collaborators for the past few years. Although I’m a cisgender woman, I’m trying to use that privilege to draw attention to the ways trans people are not accounted for in feminist studies within theatre and performance. I am joined by my brilliant collaborators, who are a mix of trans, nonbinary, and cis folx. We are working together on a book project that would be a resource so that people within the field of theatre have a way to start talking about trans and nonbinary playwrights, performers, and performances and what they mean. My contribution to this collaboration is an article I have been working on, that I presented at a GWS faculty research spotlight. Watching trans and nonbinary performers on stage when you may not hang out with in your everyday life, gives us this amazing permission to stare at someone whose experience is completely different than ours—on that person’s terms entirely. You’re watching them perform, but you’re also watching what trans and nonbinary people could look like—but you’re not only watching them because of that. We get that knowledge from representing trans and non-binary stories. People who don’t know how to talk about these things might get nervous about it. And I get that, and I’m not saying that I always do it perfectly either. But it is our job to try. It is our job as people with more privilege to use that privilege to create space to discuss these things. This is an area of the theatre field that people shy away from and that was a call to action for me.

My next solo book project is examining the ways in which we represent adolescent girlhood on stage. We often make these girls into villains. We do it in television shows too. Hell hath no fury like a teenage girl that is out to mess up your life. That is historically what we have seen. More contemporary plays and media have started to undermine that, but you can still find that trope so easily. I think we do girls (and everyone) a disservice by making that a thing that we associate with teenage girls. I’ve always been interested in gender, sexuality, and feminism, and they are more foregrounded in my upcoming scholarship.

KS: While students are waiting to take your class, are there any other LGBTQIA+ courses being offered this fall?

BR: If they haven’t already, students can take (GWS 2050) Introduction to Gender Studies. There is also a list of affiliate GWS courses through other departments. Be sure to check out the GWS program webpage for fall 2022 updates.


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. 

 

 


 


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The Final Hurrah: Reflections from a GA

By Jenna Renaud

My two years at Falvey Memorial Library and Villanova have officially come to a close. At the close of last semester, I wrote a similar post reflecting on the changes that Fall 2021 brought; however, now I am faced with a much more daunting task—reflect on the entirety of my GA experience.

tolkien books on map

Jenna’s personal Tolkien collection for celebrating National Hobbit Day

Thinking back to my first day at the Library, I’m struck by how different it is from the end in almost every way. My first day, I came down to almost an entirely empty office. I spent the semester in office only two days a week. My first semester was filled with time spent in the stacks helping Access Services and writing Cat in the Stax each week, discovering my voice and role in the Library. The post that stands out the most from that time was one of my first, talking about how to celebrate National Hobbit Day through Falvey’s collection. This was during a time where the majority of my inspiration came from items laying around my home office—including my husband’s new collection of Tolkien books.

Second semester, I focused on finding new ways to connect with the Villanova community and started the Read with the (Other) Jenna book club. Although short-lived, it was fun to dig deeper into books including Angela’s Ashes and Aftershock. Despite not being in-office with the team, our Zoom meetings were definitely a highlight of every week, discussing everything from Mosaic to upcoming events to the pros and cons of scrapple (don’t ask!).

GAs Jenna & Ethan outside of Falvey

GAs Jenna & Ethan at the Finals Stress Buster event

With the kick-off of the 2021-22 academic year came student workers, another GA, and the return of office work. It was definitely a transition going into the office four days a week, but it was a much needed change of pace. Passing off Cat in the Stax to Ethan, I looked for new recurring blogs to take on, settling on Peek at the Weeks and Weekend Recs. In addition to having another GA to collaborate with, we had student workers in the office again! Kelly showed Ethan and I the ropes for poster deliveries (something I had yet to experience) and Anna and I collaborated on what is to this day my favorite Weekend Recs following the drop of Taylor Swift’s Red (Taylor’s Version) album. The semester flew by and was such a fun experience, getting into the swing of how things were pre-pandemic.

And with that, it was my final semester! Ethan and I had the opportunity to attend more Villanova Theatre performances, including their most recent production, Curtains, which you can read more about here. In addition, Ethan and I took on a new project introducing In Case You Missed Ita YouTube series where each month we broke down the top stories based on social media data. Our Wordle episode was probably my favorite, along with all of the bloopers when we forgot how to talk. The spring semester also brought more in-person events, including one with Lit Fest author Camille Dungy, where I was the point person. My final event of the semester was our baseball-themed stress buster, with everything from soft pretzels to Bundt cakes (Get it? Bunting? Like in baseball?).

Maybe the past two years haven’t been “traditional,” but I wouldn’t change anything! Big thanks to Joanne, Shawn, Kallie, Gina and Ethan for being the best team and taking my graduate student experience to the next level. 168 blog posts later—I’m out!

This isn’t good-bye, it’s just see you later (I definitely need to come back for updated Falvey swag)!


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


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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.


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Cat in the Stax: Mysteries & Musicals from Past to Present

By Ethan Shea

"Curtains Poster"

On March 31, Villanova Theatre will put on the very first performance in the Topper Theatre of the new John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. This show, Curtains: A Musical Whodunnit, will be directed by our very own Villanova University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD.

I was lucky enough to gain access to some memorabilia from past Villanova Theatre productions that inspired the upcoming performance. These flyers, photos, and programs were collected by Kimberly Reilly, Director of Marketing for Villanova’s Theatre Program, so this blog would not have been possible without her help!

To begin, the 1999 production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood was another mysterious musical directed by President Donohue. The photo below shows Demetrios Bonaros, Polly Donovan, Mark Gornto, John O’Conner, Susan Bolt, and Sara Macerelli in a scene from a performance of this show which ran from April 14 to May 2.

 

"Edwin Drood Photo"

 

City of Angels granted President Donohue yet another directorial credit in 2003. This play is also a musical, but it sets itself apart from others through its adaptation of film noir characteristics. The image below shows how the cover of the program for City of Angels encapsulated the theme of film noir.

"City of Angels Program Cover"

In 2013, Villanova Theatre performed a different play inspired by noir. This time, the production was Red Herring, a murder mystery about marriage and nuclear espionage during the Cold War.  The photo below shows how a flyer used to advertise this play made use of the comic art style indicative of the its setting, Boston during the year of 1952.

"Red Herring Flyer Cover"

Lastly, you can check out this poster for Something’s Afoot, a murder mystery musical directed by President Donohue back in 1986! As you can see, the theatrical “whodunnit” is truly timeless.

"Something's Afoot poster"

The latest production from Villanova Theatre will be showing from March 31 to April 10, so be sure to get your tickets now! You can find more information here. We hope to see you there!


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


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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.


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Weekend Recs: Valentine’s Day

By Jenna Renaud

Happy Friday, Wildcats! After a year off, Falvey Memorial Library is bringing back Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Jenna, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week.

Valentine’s Day is here and whether you’re celebrating this year with your friends, family, or a significant other, we have a variety of weekend recs to make the holiday special! This week we cover everything from diving into the archives to fine dining and theatre. Check it out below, whether you have 2 minutes or an entire evening.

If you have 2 minutes… read Anna Jankowski’s TBT this week, where she dove into the digital library and found Valentine’s Day themed content.

If you have an evening… visit The Refectory for dinner and drinks. They have a special Valentine’s Day menu this Friday, Saturday, and Monday, so make your reservation today! The perfect date night option without having to venture too far from campus.

If you have a sweet tooth & a couple hours… make one of these 57 Valentine’s Day Dessert Recipes from Brit + Co. If you do, make sure you tag Falvey so we can see your creations!

If you have 1 hour and 37 minutes… get together with your Galentines and watch the coming-of-age 90s classic comedy, Clueless, currently available on HBO Max. Check out this list of the 30 Best Galentine’s Day Movies for You and Your Bestie to Enjoy for more movie recs.

If you have 2 hours… go on a date to the theatre – the Villanova Theatre. This week marks opening weekend of Villanova Theatre’s newest show, The Revolutionists. Click here to learn more and purchase tickets.


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


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Last Modified: February 11, 2022