Cosdon Films Segment for Australian Reality Show

Professor of Theatre Mark Cosdon flew to London to film a segment for Australian television’s “Who Do You Think You Are?,” a reality program tracing a celebrity’s family tree. The program will air later this year.

At the Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s annual conference in Las Vegas, Cosdon chaired a session devoted to the 50th anniversary of the musical Hair and participated in a panel focused on season planning in college and university programs.  For the American Theatre and Drama Society, Cosdon chairs this year’s John W. Frick Award honoring the best best monograph published on theatre and performance of/in the Americas. In May/June 2017, Professors Cosdon and David Miller (Department of English) co-led their sixth experiential learning course to Italy.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Wilson’s ‘Neoliberalism’ Published

Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Community and Justice Studies Julie Wilson published “Neoliberalism,” an introductory textbook designed to engage students in addressing the pressing and interconnected issues of our day. The book was written in collaboration with many Allegheny students with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Collaborative Undergraduate Research in the Humanities grant.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

O’Connell Presents at International Conference

Communication Arts major Arianna O’Connell ’18 presented her paper “White Rage in the Post-Racial United States: Donald Trump and the White Subaltern” at the Console-ing Passions international conference on television, video, audio, new media, and feminism at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. O’Connell’s research was developed in collaboration with Professor Ishita Sinha Roy through the Andrew W. Mellon Collaborative Undergraduate Research in the Humanities program.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Cosdon Films Segment for Australian Reality Show

Professor of Theatre Mark Cosdon flew to London to film a segment for Australian television’s “Who Do You Think You Are?,” a reality program tracing a celebrity’s family tree. The program will air later this year.

At the Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s annual conference in Las Vegas, Cosdon chaired a session devoted to the 50th anniversary of the musical Hair and participated in a panel focused on season planning in college and university programs.  For the American Theatre and Drama Society, Cosdon chairs this year’s John W. Frick Award honoring the best best monograph published on theatre and performance of/in the Americas. In May/June 2017, Professors Cosdon and David Miller (Department of English) co-led their sixth experiential learning course to Italy.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Playshop Theatre Opens 88th Season with ‘Sila’ and ‘Forward’

The Playshop Theatre at Allegheny College will open its 88th season with two staged readings of plays from Chantal Bilodeau’s “The Arctic Cycle” on Sept. 8 and 9.  

“Sila,” featuring characters representing competing and intertwined interests about the future of the Canadian Arctic, will be presented Friday, Sept. 8, followed by “Forward,” centered around explorer Fridtjof Nansen’s race to the North Pole, on Saturday, Sept. 9. Performances are at 7 p.m. in the Gladys Mullenix Black Theatre in the Vukovich Center for Communication Arts, followed by an audience discussion with Bilodeau and Allegheny faculty. The productions are directed by Michael Mehler and Aleäa Rae.

Members of the Meadville and Allegheny College communities participate in both productions. Performers for “Sila” are Jess Sakal, Lee Scandinaro, Autumn Vogel, Dan Winston, Nate Youngblood, Dan Crozier, Miriam Patterson, Aleäa Rae. “Forward” features Chris Fettig, Alicia Greathouse, Geoff Hall, Jason Sakal, Sarah Wolford, Alison Celigoi, Mark Shimkets, Kai Van Rosendaal, Ada Zech, and Nia Shuler.

The 2017–18 lineup also features  “Romeo and Juliet,” William Shakespeare’s timeless tale of star-crossed lovers, directed by Beth Watkins, Nov. 16-19; “Love and Information,” directed by Dan Crozier, Feb. 22-25; and “Detroit,” directed by Mark Cosdon, April 12-5.

In “Love and Information,” English playwright Caryl Churchill Snapchats a world awash in data, examining the ways in which our exponentially growing environment of information impacts our interactions, feelings and relationships.

Written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Lisa D’Amour, “Detroit” is a tragicomedy set in Suburbia, U.S.A. that brings together a toxic combination of neighbors, a stagnant economy, unemployment, addiction — and a barbecue.

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, though 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

Mehler Speaks at United States Institute for Theatre Technology Conference

Associate Professor of Communication Arts & Theatre Michael Mehler presented on “Sustainable Strike” at the USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology) Conference in March. Convened by the Broadway Green Alliance, the session panel discussed how to minimize waste stream impact when a theatrical production closes.

On April 27, Mehler hosted a conversation with Tony-Award winning designer Santo Loquasto at Drama Book Shop in New York City. The event launched the recent publication, “The Designs of Santo Loquasto,” the 10th in a series of designer histories that Mehler oversees as the vice president for communications for USITT.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny’s Playshop Theatre Presents ‘Baby With the Bathwater’

Allegheny’s Playshop Theatre will close out its 2016-17 season with “Baby With the Bathwater” from April 20-23 in the Gladys Mullenix Black Theatre in the Vukovich Center for Communication Arts. Performances are at 8 p.m. April 21-22, and at 2:30 p.m. on April 23.

“Baby with the Bathwater” was written by Christopher Durang in 1983 and depicts an extreme and hilarious take of bad parenting. In a review of the play, Frank Rich of the New York Times writes, “a playwright who shares Swift’s bleak view of humanity, Durang conquers bitterness and finds a way to turn rage into comedy that is redemptive as well as funny.”

Director Dan Crozier of Allegheny’s Communication Arts/Theatre Department is aided by stage manager Itzel Ayala and assistant stage managers Matt Lis and Cayla Brandon. Michael Mehler is the scenic designer, and Miriam Peterson designed the costumes.

The play is a counterpoint to Playshop’s previous production “Luna Gale,” which centered around problems of parenting as well, but with a serious plot and tone. The teenage family of “Luna Gale” dealt with drug addiction and a social worker’s involvement in their case, while the family in “Baby with the Bathwater” struggles humorously with the name and gender of their child, and the subsequent emotional and gender confusion of the child as he grows up.

This is the final show in the Playshop Theatre’s 87th season. The cast features Liz Colarte as Helen, the mother, and Daniel Keitel as John, the father, as well as Emily Wilson, Jen Ray, Megan Greig, Chloe Spadafora, Johanna Stanley, Mary Lyon, Mark Shimkets, Elijah Prince, and Emma Woodhead.

Tickets 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) 322-3414.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Cosdon Hosts Seventh Annual ‘Brilliance of the American Theatre’ Series

Associate Professor of Communication Arts/Theatre Mark Cosdon hosted the seventh annual “Brilliance of the American Theatre” author series at the Tony-honored Drama Book Shop in Times Square, New York City. The event brought together authors from the University of Kansas, Tufts University and Ithaca College for a wide-ranging discussion of their new books with an audience of over 75 people. Cosdon also has been invited to participate in a plenary session on “Migrations in American Drama and Theatre” at the Fifth International Conference on American Drama and Theatre to be held at the Université de Lorraine, France in June 2018.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Playshop Theatre Presents ‘Baby With the Bathwater’

Allegheny’s Playshop Theatre presents “Baby With the Bathwater,” Tony award-winning author Christopher Durang’s outrageous take on the ultimate in bad parenting, April 20-23 in the Gladys Mullenix Black Theatre in the Vukovich Center for Communication Arts.

In this absurdist satire, Helen and John are completely unprepared for their first child and cannot even decide if it’s a boy or a girl – their doctor tells them they can choose later.  In his review in The New York Times, Frank Rich wrote, “A playwright who shares Swift’s bleak view of humanity, Durang conquers bitterness and finds a way to turn rage into comedy that is redemptive as well as funny. Directed by Dan Crozier.

Performances are at 8 p.m. April 20-22 and at 2 p.m. on April 23. For more information, visit http://sites.allegheny.edu/playshop/87th-season-2016-17/

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny Students Develop Ad Campaign, Film Commercial

Clay Dawson stood under a giant American flag hanging from the plant’s rafters and studied his lines.

A few steps away, Allegheny College senior Shu Yi Tang flipped through sheets of paper that laid out the entire video shoot in detail: what scenes would be filmed and when, where and how they would be shot, and the people involved in each.

Lily Loreno, a senior at Allegheny, framed the opening scene with her hands, her fingers forming a square in front of her face. Sophomore Margaret West wheeled the camera into place.

“Every single second (of the video) has to be exactly perfect,” West, a 20-year-old communication arts major, said later.

The Allegheny trio had an important client to impress: Acutec Precision Aerospace Inc., a Meadville-based company that makes parts of the braking system used on Southwest Airlines jets, among other products, had tapped the group to create a commercial that would re-introduce the company to the community after a rebranding and, ultimately, encourage more prospective employees to walk through Acutec’s doors. Dawson, project manager for new product integration, would be one of the stars.

Acutec President and CEO Elisabeth Smith had worked with Allegheny students before and felt confident West, Loreno and Tang would bring the breadth of a liberal arts education to bear on the project.

“Who we look for (to work with) are people who think,” Smith said. “Allegheny students know how to think.”

The Acutec project is just one part of a larger multidisciplinary effort, still in the pilot stage, to create a student-run media agency at Allegheny that would connect students with local businesses and nonprofit organizations that need media, marketing and advertising services.

Vice President of College Relations Susan Salton proposed the idea of a student-run media agency when she came to Allegheny in 2015. Intrigued, Assistant Professor of Communication Arts/Theatre Julie Wilson started talking about the possibility with other faculty partners in and across departments.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to showcase the creative talents of our students and serve the community in a real, tangible way at the same time,” Salton said. “Our students gain experience working with clients in professional settings, applying what they’ve learned in the classroom to the benefit of our region.”

VIDEO

Allegheny @ Acutec

The Acutec project started as a college-wide competition among groups of students interested in vying for the company’s business. Interdisciplinary groups of three students each pitched a storyboard and tagline. Tang, West and Loreno’s winning tagline? “It all starts here,” a nod to the region’s manufacturing roots and Acutec’s essential role in the supply chain creating individual parts that, pieced together, make the whole.

Once selected, the students were mentored to handle all the pre-planning and contract logistics. They hired a makeup artist and another person to help with some technical aspects of the shoot, scouted the Acutec’s Meadville and Saegertown plants, and shot the video over the course of several days

Tang relished the opportunity to put what she’d learned in her advertising and video production classes into practice.

“You get to have a real-life experience and talk to a client and get to know people. Why not take part?” she said. “It’s a very valuable experience, something I can talk about.”

They all felt pressure to deliver a quality product. The heightened expectations that came with working for a client gave the group “an opportunity to rise to the occasion,” West said.

“When you’re (working for) someone else, when you’re taking their time and their money, you want it to be that much better,” Loreno said of the video.

After a late-night scramble to the finish, the commercial debuted at a companywide breakfast on Feb. 8.

It was a success, Smith said.

“People really enjoyed it,” she said. “In terms of working with students, (the experience) was excellent. They were very professional.”

Associate Professor of Communication Arts/Theatre Ishita Sinha Roy ran the Acutec storyboard competition and worked with the students, along with Assistant Professor of Art Byron Rich.

The Acutec project and the larger media agency effort are “a great way to respond to the critics that say that the liberal arts are impractical,” Rich said. “The ideas and critical thinking skills that we foster here can be put into practice in the business world.”

Working on the commercial “empowered students to bring their ideas to life” and allowed them to take ownership of a project from start to finish, Sinha Roy said. The commercial and other projects that will fall under the media agency umbrella also help foster and strengthen ties between the college and community — and that’s a good thing for all involved, Sinha Roy said.

When students work for and within the community and learn the stories of its people, “suddenly your neighborhood starts to become friendlier and more well-known in your mind,” she said.

The Acutec video is not the only project of the nascent media agency, though it might be the most visible. A group of communication arts students working under the direction of Professor of Communication Arts/Theatre Michael Keeley have also filmed videos for the Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Center. And students working with Wilson and Assistant Professor of Computer Science Janyl Jumadinova developed a website and pitched a logo for an online food hub that, when launched, will connect restaurants and food wholesalers with local farmers.

Wilson stressed that the agency is still in very early stages of development. But if it’s successful, she said, it could be a model for business incubation that leverages the resources of the college to help promote economic development.

Wilson said she doesn’t know of many other colleges or universities similar to Allegheny doing that important work.

“If we get this up and running soon, we’ll be pretty cutting edge.”

Source: Academics, Publications & Research