Research & Publications
The Spyglass of the Demon OpticianPhD Dissertation, University of California at Santa Barbara, 2015
This dissertation examines the ways in which the plays of Maurice Maeterlinck and August Strindberg radically transformed the theatrical landscape through their emphasis on the sensory experience of the spectator. I argue that their plays signal a reorganization of the capacities of European and North American theater that finds a useful analog in the development of phenomenology, and I use phenomenology as a lens through which to consider their work and a subsequent tradition of plays that highlight the sensory experience of the spectator. In particular, I mobilize the discourse surrounding the concept of the uncanny that originates in Sigmund Freud's essay "The Uncanny" to consider both thematic elements and the way in which the spectator's sensory experience is emphasized and manipulated.
Full text available on ProQuest (requires institutional access)
After the Show & “Post-Show Theater”with Gavin Kroeber
Organized with Gavin Kroeber and presented at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the CUNY Gradute Center, After the Show: Speculative Plays on Another Theater opened with these questions: Why does the ostensibly experimental wing of the performing arts persist in making shows—rather than, say, encounters, parades, meals, businesses, vehicles, protests, games, or vacations? Why, after turning away from terms like “theater” and “drama” to the much-touted promiscuity of “contemporary performance”, do so many artists predominantly perform for theatrical audiences in black boxes?
A performance symposium in the form of a “living publication”, After the Show featured interviews, case studies, proposals, and other contributions that challenged the model of the show. Exploring persistent artistic concepts and institutional forces that produce a constrained vision of theater’s form and horizons, After the Show also attempted to experimentally affirm and redefine theater, asserting the applicability of theatrical techne to other cultural forms and arenas.
.A transcript of the event was published as a play in Yale’s Theater, along with the essay “Post-Show Theater,” which explores a variety of “post-show” theatrical practices, as it interrogates the unseen constraints of contemporary disciplinary boundaries.
“Post-Show Theater” at Duke University Press (requires institutional access)
After the Show at Duke University Press (requires institutional access)
The Tragic SpectatorComparative Drama, 2014
This essay examines how the existentialist dramaturgy of Sartre as well as the classical poetics of tragedy might be mobilized to treat an interactive performance (Pig Iron’s Pay Up) in which the spectator has become the protagonist. It offers the proposition that an emancipated spectator (in the frequently cited formulation of the political philosopher Jacques Rancière) might also be a tragic spectator, following Sartre’s observation that “the chief source of great tragedy—the tragedy of Aeschylus and Sophocles, of Corneille—is human freedom.”
Full Text on Project MUSE (requires institutional access)
The Secret BearPostcard play
Paper Theater, 2006
Reprinted in Shakespeare and Textual Studies, Cambridge University Press, 2015
Performed at The Empty Space, Seattle, 2006
“The Secret Bear provocatively situates dramatic writing on the hortizon of genre and technology.” - W.B. Worthen
Chekhov Lizardbrainin Pig Iron: 3 Plays
53rd State Press, 2012
“Peculiar, hypnotic, and unexpectedly moving... [a] wonderful new production.... [that] glimmers with a quirky fascination.” - The New York Times
An amalgam of Russian tragicomedy and contemporary brain science in which a lonely, mildly-autistic botanist conjures up a parade of unsettling and comic recollections in an attempt to shape his fractured memories into a comforting fiction.
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