Playshop Theatre Presents ‘Luna Gale’

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The Allegheny College Playshop Theatre will present “Luna Gale” from February 23-26 in the Gladys Mullenix Black Theatre in the Vukovich Center for Communication Arts.

“Luna Gale,” written by Rebecca Gilman and directed by Mark Cosdon, centers on a social worker who is confronted with an unforgiving dilemma — what to do with a child born to drug-addicted teens. Family secrets, moral ambiguities, faith, biases, and the beleaguered welfare system collide in this contemporary drama.  A play that The New York Times called “smart and absorbing,”  “Luna Gale” is sure to provoke questions of how we care for the most vulnerable and at-risk.

Performances are at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23-25, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26.

The cast features theatre majors Mary Lyon ’17 as Caroline, the social worker; Ada Zech ’19 as Karlie, the mother, and Simon Brown ’19 as Peter, the father, as well as Alyssa Johnson ’20, Daniel Keitel ’17, Sam Richardson ’20, and Eddie Glass ’18.  The production is stage managed by Johanna Stanley ’18.  Michael Mehler is the scenic designer, Miriam Patterson designed the costumes, and William Kenyon designed the lights.

“Luna Gale” includes strong language and subject matter that some might find upsetting.  The play is recommended for mature audiences only.

Tickets for all productions are $10 for adults and $8 for non-Allegheny students, senior citizens and Allegheny employees. Admission is free for Allegheny students with identification, but they are asked to make reservations.

For more information or to order tickets, contact the Playshop Theatre box office at (814) 332-3414.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny College’s Playshop Theatre to Present ‘Luna Gale’

LunaGale_Photo

The Allegheny College Playshop Theatre will present “Luna Gale” from February 23-26 in the Gladys Mullenix Black Theatre in the Vukovich Center for Communication Arts.

“Luna Gale,” written by Rebecca Gilman and directed by Mark Cosdon, centers on a social worker who is confronted with an unforgiving dilemma — what to do with a child born to drug-addicted teens. Family secrets, moral ambiguities, faith, biases, and the beleaguered welfare system collide in this contemporary drama.  A play that The New York Times called “smart and absorbing,”  “Luna Gale” is sure to provoke questions of how we care for the most vulnerable and at-risk.

“Rebecca Gilman is a very contemporary playwright,” said Cosdon, associate professor of communication arts and theatre. “Her most well known plays are dramas without clear antagonists and storylines that don’t have easier answers. ‘Luna Gale’ follows this pattern. What Gilman consistently returns to are situations that never resolve themselves easily … and there’s never an easy solution when it comes to the welfare of a child.”

The play “asks us to consider our biases, and it also, I think, encourages us to think about where and how each of us takes responsibility for ultimately the most fragile of beings in society,” Cosdon said.

Performances are at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23-25, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26.

The cast features theatre majors Mary Lyon ’17 as Caroline, the social worker; Ada Zech ’19 as Karlie, the mother, and Simon Brown ’19 as Peter, the father, as well as Alyssa Johnson ’20, Daniel Keitel ’17, Sam Richardson ’20, and Eddie Glass ’18.  The production is stage managed by Johanna Stanley ’18.  Michael Mehler is the scenic designer, Miriam Patterson designed the costumes, and William Kenyon designed the lights.

“Luna Gale” includes strong language and subject matter that some might find upsetting.  The play is recommended for mature audiences only.

Tickets for all productions are $10 for adults and $8 for non-Allegheny students, senior citizens and Allegheny employees. Admission is free for Allegheny students with identification, but they are asked to make reservations.

For more information or to order tickets, contact the Playshop Theatre box office at (814) 332-3414.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny Professors Study the Story of Zika, Effects on Behavior

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What are people reading and hearing about the Zika virus?

How are their behaviors changing as a result?

Those are the questions three Allegheny College professors are asking as part of an interdisciplinary effort here to better understand the global consequences of Zika, a virus at the center of an international public health emergency.

The answers could have profound social and economic ripple effects and change the way society talks about sexually transmitted infections, including Zika, a mosquito-borne virus that can also be spread through sex.

Vesta Silva’s work began this summer.

Silva, an associate professor of communication arts, and student Rachael Robertson ’17 analyzed an archive of American media coverage of Zika, looking for common themes. The stories, they found, focused on personal, not governmental or public, responsibility: Wear long sleeves. Use bug spray. When sexual transmission was part of the message, the message was limited to “Don’t get pregnant,” said Silva, who also teaches in the interdisciplinary Global Health Studies program.

Government officials weren’t talking about what federal, state and local agencies could do beyond insecticide spraying (visual, but not very effective, Silva said) or long-term research and vaccine development. Nor were they discussing direct actions communities could take now with the help of the government or nonprofit agencies, like installing window screens and air conditioning and cleaning up neighborhoods, Silva said.

“It’s not that there’s no role for the individual, but when you’re simply telling the story of individual responsibility and the government is responsible for vaccines only, we lose all sorts of possibilities for slowing the spread of Zika,” she said.

And just as important, what people read, hear and understand about the virus could influence their decisions and behavior.

As Silva was scouring newspapers and websites, Becky Dawson ’00 and Amelia Darrouzet-Nardi, both Allegheny assistant professors of global health studies, were surveying more than 2,000 women of childbearing age who live in states bordering Mexico or in states along the Gulf Coast, the areas in the U.S. most vulnerable to Zika infection.

A short questionnaire asked women about their behaviors and their future plans, whether they were sexually active and whether they planned to have children, among other questions. It also asked what form of birth control they used, if any, and which forms of birth control should be encouraged and used in light of Zika.

Dawson and Darrouzet-Nardi have just started to analyze the results, but answers suggest misconceptions about the virus and how it is spread.

“Our initial findings suggest that among the women who have heard about Zika, fewer than 15 percent are changing their sexual behaviors as a result of the outbreak,” Dawson said. “The number of women who are unaware that Zika can be spread between monogamous partners is staggering. We are also seeing that the majority of women believe that they know how to prevent spread of the disease by avoiding mosquito bites. The level of concern for the disease is lower than we anticipated.”

That could be because public health campaigns have largely focused on mosquito bite prevention. There has been relatively much less education around sexual transmission, and that’s especially problematic when it comes to Zika, Dawson and Darrouzet-Nardi said.

Infection during pregnancy can cause birth defects, including microcephaly, which could have major economic effects on a family.

“Having it happen to you would be so life-changing,” Darrouzet-Nardi said.

It’s also important to talk about sexual transmission because people typically think of sexually transmitted infections as something they’re vulnerable to only if they or their partners are not monogamous, Darrouzet-Nardi said. That’s not the case with Zika. A woman or a man in a monogamous relationship who has been infected through a mosquito bite could pass the virus on to his or her partner.

“Monogamy isn’t protection,” she said.

That’s a game-changer, potentially upending how everyone ought to be talking about sexually transmitted infections and safe sexual practices in the future, Dawson said.

“Now we can pass an infection with enormous consequences between monogamous partners,” she said. “It’s going to revolutionize the way we talk about sex.”

If women do start making family planning decisions based on Zika, the effects on demographics and the economy could be long term and far reaching, Darrouzet-Nardi said.

“Whether and how women attempt to plan pregnancies around various risks is still an empirical question, and the answer is essential for improving global maternal health, birth outcomes, and women’s empowerment. Regular monitoring of family planning decisions and outcomes is essential for understanding the patterns that emerge with respect to infectious diseases or other health threats,” she said.

An interdisciplinary approach to Zika is crucial, Silva said.

“Zika is not a problem that can only be addressed by science, social science or humanities alone,” Silva said. “If we don’t bring all of those perspectives to bear, we’re missing key elements of controlling this outbreak or future outbreaks.”

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Food Hub, Mobile Market Bring Fresh Food to Community

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The burgeoning farm-to-table movement is getting some help from some tech-savvy students at Allegheny College.

Working under the direction of Assistant Professor of Computer Science Janyl Jumadinova, two students — junior Maria Kim and sophomore Jesse Del Greco — are developing an “online food hub,” a website aimed at connecting the community with the region’s farmers. It’s one of the many ways Allegheny faculty and staff are working to educate the public about the availability and benefits of fresh, locally grown food.

Once launched, the still-unnamed site will allow users to search for sellers of specific produce within a selected geographic range. Buyers — limited to restaurants and other bulk purchasers, initially — will be able to place orders online and arrange for pickup or delivery, Jumadinova said. If successful, the hub could expand and offer online buying to the general public.

Every visitor will be able to search for local gardens and pick-your-own farms and learn about events and activities related to local foods and farming.

“The whole goal is to increase access to and availability of fresh, local food,” Jumadinova said.

The site’s searchable database includes nearly 30 participating farms, gardens and farm-to-table restaurants in Crawford County or Edinboro — and that’s just the start.

“Eventually we want to expand to markets as far away as Cleveland, for instance. That’s a big city and that’s a good market for (local) farmers,” Jumadinova said.  

As Jumadinova’s computer science students put the finishing touches on the site, communication arts students Madeleine Zimmermann and Madeline Becker are working to design a logo and branding with the help of the Assistant Professor of Communication Arts Julie Wilson. The site could launch as early as spring 2017. When complete, it will be an online space benefiting both farmers and consumers, Del Greco said.

“Farmers will be able to list the produce they have grown, and businesses will instantly be able to connect with the farmers and purchase the produce as needed,” Del Greco said.

The hub builds on many other ongoing efforts Kerstin Martin, director of Allegheny’s Community Wellness Initiative, is leading to increase access to, and availability of, locally grown food.

In 2015, the CWI built a community garden at the Meadville Area Recreation Complex featuring 30 raised beds that residents can rent each season on a sliding scale. Students from Meadville Area Middle School use the garden as part of their curriculum, planting crops and cooking with produce they’ve grown.

“I really see this as being integral to getting people excited about local food, getting kids to think about the implications of local food both for their health and the health of the environment. They’re going to be the consumers of tomorrow,” Martin said of the education component.

This year, Martin took her mission on the road.

Every Wednesday between August and October, she and a few students loaded up her car with the produce picked earlier that day from Allegheny’s Carr Hall garden and headed to Holland Towers, a senior living community in downtown Meadville. Once there, she’d spread out the bounty — tomatoes, kale, peppers — on a table for residents to buy.

The mobile market project drew between 15 and 20 people each week.

“For people who say transportation is a barrier to getting fresh food, this is bringing the food to their neighborhood,” Martin said.

Martin said she plans to continue the mobile market in 2017. The long-term plan is to add more selling sites and to sell food from local farmers, not the Carrden, giving farmers another venue and residents more produce options.

Emma Yates, a 21-year-old senior environmental science major who is doing an independent study on the food hub, said the effort helps educate people and builds a bridge between the campus and the community.

“It’s a really cool way to bring sustainability efforts and local farming to community members,” Yates said.

Holland Towers resident Robin Milstead visited the mobile market each of the six weeks it stopped at the apartment complex, building a friendship with Martin as she shopped for hot peppers and garlic and cherry tomatoes. Milstead doesn’t have a car, so usually relies on friends to give her a ride to the grocery store. Sometimes she takes the bus.

The mobile market makes it easier to eat healthier, she said.

“The produce is really good quality. I like it better than what you can buy at the store,” Milstead said. “I can’t wait until they come back next year.”

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Cosdon co-leads graduate sessions

At this summer’s meeting of the American Theatre and Drama Society, Associate Professor of Communication Arts/Theatre Mark Cosdon co-led sessions for graduate students dedicated to teaching in a liberal arts college and the tenure/promotion process. Cosdon serves on the board of the American Theatre and Drama Society. Recently, he joined the advisory board of the Harvard Theatre Collection.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Theatre Students to Complete Summer Internships

A number of theatre students will complete internships this summer. Karina Mena ’16 will intern in marketing at the Manhattan Theatre Club. Amanda Fallon ’18 will intern in production at the Ko Festival of Performance at Amherst College. Itzel Ayala ’17 will be in the apprentice acting company at the Williamstown Theater Festival at Williams College. Mary Lyon ’17, Liz Colarte ’17, and Simon Brown ’19 will intern at the New York Classical Theater.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Cosdon to Have Chapters in Routledge Handbook of Musical Theatre Producers

Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Theatre Mark Cosdon has chapters titled “Joseph Papp and the Public Theater” and “Making Musicals that Matter: George C. Wolfe and Oskar Eustis at the Public Theatre” forthcoming in the Routledge Handbook of Musical Theatre Producers. This past year Professor Cosdon served on tenure boards at the University of North Carolina and at Knox College. In March, he hosted the sixth annual “Brilliance of the American Theatre” reading series at the Drama Book Shop in New York City, bringing together authors of new works in American theatre history. He serves on the board of the American Theatre and Drama Society and has been appointed to the editorial boards of Theatre History Studies and Southern Illinois University Press’s Theatre in the Americas Series.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Faculty and Alumnae Present Work at National Science Foundation Meeting

Professor of Environmental Science Richard Bowden and Lauren Deem ’13 presented the poster “Controls on Forest Soil Carbon” at the National Science Foundation Long-Term Ecological Research All-Scientists Meeting in Estes Park, Colorado. The poster described the ability of forest soil to absorb climate change pollution (carbon dioxide) at a suite of forest research sites. Collaborators were from Oregon State, U. Michigan, the College of Nyíregyháza (HU), U. Toronto, U. Copenhagen, and U. Penn. Julia Schock ’15, Professor of Communication Arts Michael Keeley, and Professor Bowden also presented the poster “Hemlock: A Documentary,” which described the cultural and ecological history of the hemlock tree, which is Pennsylvania’s state tree and which is threatened by an invasive, introduced insect. The video produced in the project, which was Julia’s senior thesis, was also shown at the awards banquet of the LTER meeting. Professor Bowden served as co-chair of the triennial conference.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny College Playshop Theatre Presents Audacious “Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play”

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Feb. 16, 2016 — The Allegheny College Playshop Theatre presents “Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play” February 25-28, with shows at 8 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday in the Gladys Mullenix Black Theatre in the Vukovich Center for Communication Arts. Tickets can be purchased by calling 814-332-3414.

Anne Washburn’s “Mr. Burns” is an audacious and dark comedy about survival and mythology, set amidst the detritus of popular culture. The play premises that U.S. nuclear power facilities have gone belly-up, unleashing radioactive waste into the environment and decimating the populace. A band of survivors comfort themselves by retelling an episode from “The Simpsons.”

By the second act, as a new society and economy emerge, a traveling theater company performs live-action episodes of “The Simpsons,” including the commercials. By the third act, 75 years after the radioactive disaster and with the electric grid still not replaced, “The Simpsons” has morphed into a musical about good and evil, love and hate, and the continuation of humanity.

The show’s music is composed by Michael Friedman, whose credits include “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” and “Pretty Filthy.” “Mr. Burns” is a mash-up of original music, alongside chart hits by artists including Britney Spears, Gloria Gaynor and Eminem, television theme songs and Gilbert and Sullivan.

The Playshop Theatre production is directed by Mark Cosdon, with music direction by Aimee Reash, scenery by Patrick Rizzotti, costumes by Miriam Patterson and a lighting design by Michael Mehler. The show features Alison Celigoi, Daniel Keitel, Mary Lyon, Bolan Marshall-Hallmark, Karina Mena, Aleäa Rae, Rachael Robertson and Benjamin Thomas. The play is stage managed by Stephanie Engel and choreographed by Leah Kelly.

“‘Mr. Burns’ is a play about the apocalypse, the primacy of storytelling, environmental catastrophe, the immediacy of technology, and the fall of civilization as we know it,” says Cosdon. “And from the ashes of that civilization comes a new form of performance, one which celebrates our determination to survive.”

Critic Ben Brantley, in the New York Times, called the play “downright brilliant” and asked, “When was the last time you met a new play that was so smart it made your head spin?”

Across its remarkable 27-year history, “The Simpsons” has satirized and illuminated basic truths about the United States, the family, popular culture and our institutions. “Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play” builds from a famous Simpsons episode called “Cape Feare,” spoofing Martin Scorsese’s film “Cape Fear,” the original 1962 film, and Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.

First produced in 2012, “Mr. Burns” is one of the 10 most produced plays in the United States this year.

The Playshop Theatre production contains theatrical prop firearms, recorded gunfire, fog effects and some strong language.

Tickets for “Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play” are $10 for adults and $8 for non-Allegheny students, senior citizens and Allegheny employees. Although admission is free for Allegheny students with identification, they are asked to make reservations.

Photo by Bill Owen. Left to right: Alison Celigoi, Rachael Robertson, Benjamin Thomas and Bolan Marshall-Hallmark

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Playshop Theatre to Present Bertolt Brecht’s “A Life of Galileo”

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Nov. 16, 2015 – The Playshop Theatre at Allegheny College continues its 2015-16 season with Bertolt Brecht’s iconic “A Life of Galileo,” in a translation by Mark Ravenhill. Four performances will be given in the Gladys Mullenix Black Theatre in the Vukovich Center for Communication Arts: at 8 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, November 19-21, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 22.

Professor of Theatre Dan Crozier directs, and Jim Hollerman, who teaches mathematics at Allegheny College, portrays Galileo.

“‘A Life of Galileo’ is a play about revolutions,” Crozier notes, “revolutions in the heavens and on earth. It’s about the orbits of the planets, the paradigm shift in cosmology proved by Galileo and the social revolution that springs from Brecht’s long study of and adherence to Marxist principles. The word revolution is also defined as consideration or reflection. ‘A Life of Galileo’ invites us to reflect on the spirit of critical inquiry as we celebrate Allegheny’s bicentennial.”

Performing in the production, in addition to Hollerman, are Simon Brown, Elizabeth Colarte, Matthias Copeland, David Crozier, Luke Davis, Rachael Ellis, Hayley Johnson, Daniel Keitel, Lee Scandinaro, Mary Lyon, Karina Mena, Christopher J. Schuchert, Nia Shuler, Chloe Spadafora, Kai Van Rosendaal, Daniel Wightkin and Emily Wilson.

Michael Mehler designed the sets and lighting, and Miriam Patterson designed the costumes.

Tickets for “A Life of Galileo” are $10 for adults and $8 for non-Allegheny students, senior citizens and Allegheny employees. Although admission is free for Allegheny students with identification, they are asked to make reservations.

For more information or to order tickets, contact the Playshop Theatre box office at 814-332-3414.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research