Saturday, June 25, 2011, at the Eugene O’Neill International Conference, Gallatin Building, NYU, New York City.
In attendance: Cheryl Black, Martha Carpentier, Drew Eisenhauer, Sherry Engle, Sharon Friedman, J. Ellen Gainor, Noelia Hernando-Real, Basia Ozieblo, Michael Winetsky.
1) Martha Carpentier, on behalf of the Susan Glaspell Society, thanked Sharon Friedman for organizing all the events of the SGS at the conference.
2) Winners of Best Conference and Best Published Paper prizes were announced:
Best Published Paper:
Michael Winetsky, “A Playwright of Pragmatism: Susan Glaspell’s Unity of Science and Religion,” Ecumenica Journal of Theatre and Performance, Spring 2009 (unanimous decision).
Best Conference Paper:
Sarah Withers, “Intertextuality on the Frontier in Susan Glaspell’s Inheritors,” given at ALA 2010, chair Drew Eisenhauer.
3) President’s Report:
Martha summarized SGS conference activities and publications since the last business meeting in 2009, an impressive list including books, performances, readings, and papers at ALA Boston, the International Conference on American Drama (Kean University, Union NJ), ATHE Los Angeles, and ALA San Francisco. We continue to accomplish the goals stated in the Society mission statement, increasing the visibility of Glaspell and her work in both academic and theatre communities. Remarkable performances include The Verge and Trifles at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater, with talkbacks with Sharon Friedman and J. Ellen Gainor; John Bilotta’s opera version of Trifles – libretto by John F. McGrew – which premiered at the 10th Annual Fresh Voices Festival; and Off-Off Broadway Zephyer Rep presented Chains of Dew, based on Cheryl’s adaptation, at the Wings Theater, NYC. Martha asked Cheryl to submit a brief report on this production to the website. Martha also suggested those who attend performances and panels leave constructive comments on the website, which is now a blog in which comments can be submitted to any post. Cheryl announced that she will direct Trifles next March at Missouri, and that Milbre Burch will perform her piece on Trifles.
Michael Winetsky said that the Five Drama Societies did not meet at ALA Boston, and that ALA is thinking about leaving the San Francisco and Boston intercalary conferences.
4) Membership and Finance Report:
Martha read Doug Powers’ report. Membership is up to 47 members. Martha highlighted that our paper prizes have attracted younger people, and that the graduate students who attended ALA also joined. Martha thinks we are doing fine in encouraging younger members. It is suggested that new members be welcomed personally by email.
Martha suggested that paying dues biannually may make things easier, particularly for non-US members. Martha reminded us that Seton Hall does not support PayPal, and is not likely to. Sharon wondered whether paying annually is psychologically sound. It was finally decided to keep the annual dues payment. Martha uploaded a membership renewal pdf online, so that members can print it out and send it to Doug with a check.
5) Vice-President’s Report:
Noelia focused on the status of the Literary Encyclopedia entries, pointing to all the entries that still need to be written.
Sharon will write the entry on Bernice, Sherry will do The Comic Artist, and, following Basia’s suggestion, Linda Ben-Zvi will be asked to write the entry on Free Laughter. Martha will write the entry on Norma Ashe, Michael Winetsky will do Judd Rankin’s Daughter, and Drew Lifted Masks. Martha will ask Patricia Bryan about writing the entry on Her America and Sarah Withers about doing Fidelity. Cheryl will ask Milbre Burch to build Glaspell’s chronology.
Noelia informed the group about the 4th International American Drama Conference to be held in Seville, May 20-30 2012. Noelia wants to put together a SG panel, and Cheryl suggested The People for the staged reading.
J. Ellen Gainor updated us on the status of the NWHF application written by Ellen, Basia, Martha, Cheryl and Noelia. This coming December is the end of the two-year cycle. If our application fails, we can get feedback to try again. Martha suggested that the SG entry on Wikipedia be replaced by the content of our NWHF form. Basia suggested waiting until the NWHF committee says something about Glaspell’s nomination, and her suggestion was unanimously accepted.
6) Webmaster’s Report:
Martha insisted that the new site is a blog, so we should all participate and keep it alive, especially the teaching blog which she added at members’ request.
Volunteers are needed to accomplish certain online tasks. Michael Winetsky volunteered to compose a list of links to online sources for Glaspell’s primary texts. Michael Winetsky also volunteered to create a SGS Facebook page, and to prepare a documentary on Susan Glaspell.
7) First item of business:
Martha proposed changing the name to “International Glaspell Society”. Since this will mean changing the wording of the by-laws, as per Article IV Section 4, this must be endorsed by the Executive Council and then go to the membership via e-mail for a vote of at least two-thirds in favor to pass. The proposal passed unanimously by the Executive Council.
8) Future Plans:
The next Election will take place in 2012. Martha asked Judith Barlow to conduct the election via e-mail as in previous years. Martha will run for a second term as President; Noelia as Vice-President; hopefully Doug also as Membership and Finances Officer. Martha reminded us that there are no term limitations on Executive Council members as per by-laws, so the existing members could run again.
Next ALA will be in San Francisco in 2012. Sharon suggested Monica Stufft to chair a panel, or maybe Michael Winetsky. Cheryl says she is still thinking about ATHE and ATDS 2012.
Martha proposed holding a Susan Glaspell Conference at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, in August 2013, three days and four nights. Member Kirsten Shepherd-Barr is willing to be an onsite liaison. We need a minimum of 20 people to make it possible. Basia suggested a topic wide enough should be presented to bring in other scholars. Sharon suggested something like “Susan Glaspell and her Contemporaries: Globalism, Transnationalism and War.” Noelia will e-mail all members asking for panel proposals. Michael Winetsky suggested that we could hold a symposium, where sessions do not overlap, rather than a conference. Since this is an expensive event, Martha suggested using some of the society money to help some people attend or, as Basia pointed out, to lower the rate a little for everyone. The event will be made public in the US and abroad. Sherry will help through her British colleagues, especially Susan Croft. Everybody agreed this conference is a very good idea and that the next Business Meeting can be held at this conference.
Sharon and Ellen suggested holding an interdisciplinary conference to celebrate the centenary of Trifles in 2016. They envision attracting high profile speakers such as Elaine Showalter and Carol Gilligan. They think that, although expensive, NYC would be a good place to hold it, particularly since we have access to the Gallatin Building and theatre (thanks to Sharon) during the summer. However, another option may be Provincetown. Everybody agreed the SGS should honor this centenary and we will work on developing plans after the St. Catherine’s conference.