Author Archives: Martha Carpentier

Alison’s House at Orange Tree Theatre 2009

Sam Walters’ Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond U.K. produced Glaspell’s Pulitzer-Prize winning play Alison’s House in Oct- Nov. 2009, receiving even more ecstatic reviews than their 2008 production of Chains of Dew. The Orange Tree is proving beyond a doubt that Glaspell’s plays – and not just Trifles – entertain and speak to today’s audiences, perhaps even better than in their own day. This production, directed by Jo Coombes, featured Christopher Ravenscroft as John Stanhope, Jennifer Higham as Ann, Mark Arends as Eben, Dudley Hinton as Ted, Emma Pallant as Louise, Grainne Keenan as Elsa, and Nicholas Gadd as Richard Knowles. Michael Billington at the Guardian wrote, “Susan Glaspell . . . is American drama’s best-kept secret. . . . In 1930 Glaspell’s play was dismissed as too literary. But, like all the best American drama, it combines acute understanding of the dynamics of family life with an ability to pierce the heart.” For full Oct. 11 2009 review…

And Jeremy Kingston at the London Times wrote, “Until 13 years ago few of us had heard of the American playwright Susan Glaspell, and she was scarcely better known in the States, for all that she won the 1931 Pulitzer Prize for this terrific play. But Sam Walters at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond has been introducing us to almost all her plays, and Alison’s House is the one that has excited me most. It succeeds on all levels. The story it tells is absorbing, steadily tightening its grip as it approaches the climax . . . [while] different threads are cleverly woven into the play’s structure. Bringing the tension into further relief are the moments of stillness. Time pauses while an evidently profound experience is absorbed.” For full Oct. 14 2009 review…

Society for the Study of American Women Writers 4th International Conference 2009

October 21-24, Philadelphia, PA.

Panel: “Susan Glaspell’s Alison’s House and the Legacy of Emily Dickinson.”
Chair: J. Ellen Gainor, Cornell University.

This panel invited papers considering any aspect of the relationship between the Emily Dickinson legend and Glaspell’s 1931 Pulitzer Prize winning drama. Possible topics included the relationship between the Dickinson biographies (Taggard’s and/or others) or other treatments of the Dickinson legend and Glaspell’s play; comparisons between Alison’s House and other dramas about the Dickinson legend; comparisons of Glaspell’s and Dickinson’s writing; historical analyses of the controversial Eva Le Gallienne production of Alison’s House or its critical reception; new directions in the study of Alison’s House alone or in combination with other Glaspell works.

Papers:  “No Hard Evidence: Alison’s House and Emily Dickinson,” Basia Ozieblo, Universidad de Malaga;

“Susan Glaspell’s Alison’s House and the Many Meanings of Emily Dickinson’s Legacies,” Sharon Friedman, the Gallatin School, New York University;

“On Closets and Graves: Intertextualities in Susan Glaspell’s Alison’s House and Emily Dickinson’s Poetry,” Noelia Hernando-Real, La Salle College-Universidad Autonoma de Madrid;

“Susan Glaspell, Eva La Gallienne: Queering . . . Chekov?” Drew Eisenhauer, University of Maryland.

Staged Reading of Alison’s House presented by the Susan Glaspell Society
Friday evening October 22, 6:00-8:00
Abridged, Directed, and Introduced by Cheryl Black, University of Columbia-Missouri

2009 Business Meeting Minutes

Friday, October 23, 2009 at SSAWW, Philadelphia.

In attendance: Judith Barlow, Cheryl Black, Martha Carpentier, Drew Eisenhauer, Sherry Engle, Sharon Friedman, J. Ellen Gainor, Noelia Hernando-Real, Ling Jian-e, Basia Ozieblo, Michael Winetsky.

1) President’s Report:
Basia summarized SGS conference activities and publications since the last business meeting in 2006, an impressive list including performances, readings, and papers at Delphi, Cadiz, London, New York, Missouri, and 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. The future looks bright, with plans for ALA 2010 in San Francisco to be organized by Drew Eisenhauer; the American Drama Conference in January 2010 at Kean College, NJ with SGS panel to be chaired by Linda Ben-Zvi; ATHE reading 2010 to be directed by Monica Stufft; panel and reading at the Eugene O’Neill Society Conference in Greenwich Village June 2011 organized by Sharon Friedman; and ALA Boston 2011. Future goals include increasing membership and publishing more in journals. Ellen volunteered to check Dissertation Abstracts to see if any dissertations other than Noelia’s, Drew’s and Michael’s have been produced since 2006.

2) Vice-President’s Report:
Martha forgot to work on the SGS logo as per the last business meeting; she will try to develop an image using Aline Fruhauf’s caricature of SG so that we can have a logo. Martha read Monica’s Membership and Finance Officer’s Report. We approved Monica’s decision to choose the non-profit, non-interest bearing account and to stay with the registered unincorporated non-profit association status. Discussion of overseas members’ payments ensued. Martha will pursue the idea of putting a Paypal option on the web site for all members.

3) Webmaster’s Report:
Members thanked Martha and approved her re-election as Webmaster. Martha encouraged members to send her information, pictures, and programs about this year’s events for the archives, and to provide input particularly in June when she usually updates the site. She also mentioned the need to create a copyrights page with Patricia Bryan’s (SGS member and attorney) latest statement about public domain.

4) Bibliographer’s Report: Martha will e-mail Mary Papke and ask whether she wishes to continue as SGS Bibliographer, and tell her that we need an update every six months and suggest the possibility of a graduate student to assist her. If Mary decides against continuing as Bibliographer, Ellen volunteered to take it on.

5) Nominations and Elections Officer:
Members thanked Judi Barlow for her willingness to conduct the upcoming election. Even though she is planning a trip to Thailand and Cambodia, she will attempt to complete the election process in November. Cheryl and Ellen agreed to be nominated for a second term on the Executive Council. Judi volunteered to check whether Monica wants to be nominated for a second term as Membership and Finance Officer. Basia noted that any by-law amendments approved at this meeting must receive a two-thirds vote by the full membership. Martha will send the amended by-laws for Judi to include on the ballot. Although according to the By-laws, Basia should continue as President till the end of the year, she and Martha have agreed that Martha should now take over as President.

6) Awards:
After much debate, it was decided that the SGS would 1) fund a grant to defray registration costs for graduate students and underemployed Glaspell scholars presenting papers on SGS-sponsored panels or participating in SGS readings at the American Literature Association Conference; and 2) the SGS would award biannual prizes of $100 for the best published paper and $50 for the best conference paper on any aspect of Susan Glaspell’s life and works. This award is open to nonmembers as well as SGS members. The awarding of all grant and prize monies is to be judged and determined by the Executive Council and will be announced at the biannual SGS Business Meeting. Grant requests and papers must be submitted to the Executive Council at least four weeks prior to the ALA Conference.

8) Proposed amendments:
Amendments to Article III, section 4 and Article II, section 1 passed unanimously and will be provided to Judi for inclusion in the ballot for all members to vote on.

9) Sharon, the SGS representative and organizer for the EONS Conference:
Reported on plans for the EONS Conference, scheduled for the last weekend in June, 2011. She got permission for the conference to use the Gallatin Theatre, plus a $500 grant from her dean to defray any costs of performing there. Sharon met with EONS organizers Brenda Murphy and Jeff Kennedy, and she proposed back-to-back readings of O’Neill and Glaspell one-acts, in addition to a Glaspell panel, possibly focusing on the cultural and historical background to her Provincetown plays. Cheryl is willing to direct the SGS readings (and, if asked, the O’Neill readings as well). Cheryl proposed another possible idea of incorporating O’Neill and Glaspell into a script she would devise focusing on the Greenwich Village institutions such as The Masses, the IWW, Liberal Club, and Heterodoxy, that inspired these playwrights. Michael Winetsky suggested that, based on his experience at the last EONS in California, there is a significant “cultural divide” between the EONS and ours that might make them less receptive toward such a collaboration. Sharon must find out what their performance plans are before we can proceed with our own.

10) Members unanimously approved holding the next business meeting at ALA 2011 in Boston.
Our association with SSAWW will not be severed and we can propose panels for SSAWW as desired, but given the new “Five Drama Society” association at ALA, we decided it would make a better venue in future for meetings.

11) Glaspell online:
Michael Winetsky will monitor and update the Wikipedia entry on Glaspell. Basia sought volunteers to continue the entries for Glaspell’s works on the Literary Encyclopedia online ( Basia has already done the biographical entry plus Trifles and The Verge; Noelia has done Alison’s House and several one-acts; Martha has done Fidelity, Brook Evans, and Fugitive’s Return. Links
to these may be found on the SGS web site External Links page

Cheryl volunteered to do Inheritors; Ellen will do Close the Book, Springs Eternal, and Chains of Dew; Drew will do Lifted Masks, and Michael will continue with the novels. Martha will e-mail everyone the URL and contact information.

12) New publications:
Michael has published an article in Ecumenica; Martha and Patricia Bryan’s Her America: “A Jury of Her Peers” and Other Stories by Susan Glaspell is forthcoming from University of Iowa Press and Martha described their discovery of the original publication of “A Jury of Her Peers” in Every Week with a different conclusion; Ellen and Linda’s Complete Plays is forthcoming in 2010 and Ellen reported their very exciting discovery of a new Glaspell one-act originally performed at a Provincetown festival, which is a political allegory about free speech.

20th Annual American Literature Association Conference 2009

May 21-24, Boston MA.  The Susan Glaspell Society was pleased to join the Eugene O’Neill Society, the Thornton Wilder Society, the Arthur Miller Society, and the American Theater and Drama Society in sharing the general thematic topic “Adaptations” at ALA 2009.

Panel: “Challenging Generic Boundaries: Susan Glaspell’s Adaptations.”
Chair: Martha C. Carpentier, Seton Hall University.

In addition to welcoming papers discussing film adaptations of Susan Glaspell’s work (can anybody find Paramount Pictures1931 The Right to Love with screenplay by Zoe Akins?), this panel invited discussions of Glaspell’s own adaptations. While producing eleven innovative plays for the Provincetown Players from 1916 to 1922, Glaspell continued to publish short stories in magazines such as Harpers Monthly as well as producing a third critically acclaimed novel, and her increasingly sophisticated fiction showed the impact of her playwriting success. Throughout Glaspell’s four-decade writing career she was a consistent adapter of her own work: themes, narratives, and characters that engrossed her appear and reappear, transformed, in both the genres she excelled in. This panel asked contributors to analyze how Glaspell tests generic boundaries as she adapts similar content to the different demands and different possibilities offered by drama and fiction. Works suggested for consideration were: Trifles and its short-story version “A Jury of Her Peers”; her 1917 play Close the Book and 1916 story “Unveiling Brenda“; her lyrical 1917 one-act The Outside with “A Rose in the Sand” written ten years later; either of her 1921 full-length plays Inheritors or The Verge with the 1919 story “Pollen“; her final play for the Provincetown, Chains of Dew, and 1931 novel Ambrose Holt and Family, etc.

Papers:  “Ethnic and Racial Discourse in Susan Glaspell’s Generic Transformation of ‘Unveiling Brenda’ to Close the Book,” Sharon Friedman, Gallatin School, New York University;

“Susan Glaspell’s Dionysian Poetics in Trifles and ‘A Jury of Her Peers,'” Yoko Onizuka Chase, Osaka University of Human Sciences;

“Susan Glaspell’s Generic Hybridity,” Drew Eisenhauer, University of Maryland.

The Society also presented a concert reading of Inheritors directed by Cheryl Black: Inheritors Program

Women Writers of the Provincetown Players (SUNY Press 2009)

From Judith E. Barlow, Women Writers of the Provincetown Players features thirteen short plays by women originally produced by the Provincetown Players: Neith Boyce, Winter’s Night; Louise Bryant, The Game; Mary Carolyn Davies, The Slave with Two Faces; Rita Wellman, The Rib-Person; Susan Glaspell, Woman’s Honor; Rita Creighton Smith, The Rescue; Alice L. Rostetter, The Widow’s Veil; Bosworth Crocker, The Baby Carriage; Mary Foster Barber, The Squealer; Edna St. Vincent Millay, Aria da Capo; Edna Ferber, The Eldest; Djuna Barnes, Kurzy of the Sea; and Rita Leo (Rita Wellman), The Horrors of War.

“These are plays that we have been reading about for years; it is exciting to experience the actual texts and make one’s own judgment.” — Carol DeBoer-Langworthy

Paper: ISBN 978-1-4384-2790-4 Hardcover: ISBN 978-1-4384-2789-8
To order:

Chains of Dew at the San Francisco Free Civic Theater 2009

The San Francisco Free Civic Theatre performed the first professional American revival of Chains of Dew since 1922, on April 2-12 2009, directed by Glenn Havlan. The cast included Kelly Rinehart as Nora Powers, John Hull as Leon Whittaker, Ariel Herzog as James O’Brien, Greg Gutting as Seymore Standish, Mamie Rheingold as Dotty Standish, and Kristin Anundsen as Mother Standish.

American Drama Conference 2008

November 1-9, Saint Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

Panel: “Staging Modern Geographies: Susan Glaspell and the Dramatic Space.”
Chair: Noelia Hernando-Real, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

Papers:  “Susan Glaspell’s Theatre and the ‘Discourse of Home,'” Sharon Friedman, Gallatin School, NYU;

“On the Margins of Utopia: Heterotopian Houses in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles and The Outside,” Emeline Jouve, Toulouse University;

“Crumbling Geographies: The House of Usher in Susan Glaspell’s Theatre,” Noelia Hernando-Real.

Workshop: “Broader Contexts for Teaching Susan Glaspell.”
Chair: Barbara Ozieblo, University of Málaga.


Nieves Alberola, Universidad de Jaume I, Castellón; Judith E. Barlow, University at Albany, SUNY; Martha C. Carpentier, Seton Hall University; Sherry Engle, CUNY; Drew Eisenhauer, University of Maryland; Sharon Friedman, Gallatin School, New York University; Noelia Hernando-Real, La Salle Collage-Universidad Autónoma de Madrid; Michael Winetsky, Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Symposium 2008

Americans and the Experience of Delphi,” June 24-26, Delphi, Greece.

Presented by the Richard Stockton College Interdisciplinary Center for Hellenic Studies; Executive Director: Tom Papademetriou, Conference Director, David Roessel.

On one side of the Philadelphia Art Museum stands a replica of the famous statue of “The Charioteer” in the archaeological museum of Delphi. The statue is more than simply a copy of a famous work of art; it also represents a cultural matrix linked to the ancient shrine of Apollo at Delphi, a matrix that centers on what it means to be human and happy as encapsulated in the phrases “know yourself” and “nothing in excess.”  Often in current discourse “Greek” or “Hellenic” is taken as a single ideological construct, but “Greece” as an idea is polymorphous and multicultural, and Delphi occupies a key place within that ideological construct.  By understanding what it meant, and continues to mean, in the modern age, we take a step toward knowing ourselves.  And within that step, of course, lies the meaning of Apollo’s sanctuary.

Participants in this symposium examined the work of American and European artists, writers, and scholars who stood at the ancient site and, like the founders of the famed Provincetown Players, George Cram Cook and Susan Glaspell, inhabited Delphi in body and mind.  Participants analyzed how the “spirit” of Delphi inspired individuals, and how they in turn infused that spirit into American literature and culture, presenting, in addition to Glaspell and Cook, papers on Isadora Duncan, Eva Palmer Sikelianos and her role in the Delphic Festivals of the 1920s, H. D., Henry Miller, and James Merrill.     

Susan Glaspell Society Panels and Papers:

June 24, George Cram Cook Session, Chair Christa Frantantoro:
“Jig Cook’s Road to the Temple,” Linda Ben-Zvi, Tel Aviv University.

June 25, Susan Glaspell Session, Chair Marina Angel:
“Letters Home: Susan Glaspell’s Experience of Delphi,” Barbara Ozieblo, University of Málaga;

“Susan Glaspell’s Greece: the people, the place and the past,” Martha C. Carpentier, Seton Hall University;

“Susan Glaspell’s Female Charioteers: the spirit of Delphi and Aristotle’s Poetics in Inheritors, The Verge, and The Comic Artist,” Noelia Hernando-Real, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid;

“The Noble Peasant: Humanism and Primitivism in Glaspell’s Life and Work,” Michael Winetsky, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

June 26, L’Envoi to George Cram Cook Session, Chair David Roessel:
“The Influence of George Cram Cook’s Delphic Spirit on Eugene O’Neill,” Michael Solomonson; Northland Pioneer College.

University of Athens students presented a spirited reading of Suppressed Desires on the evening of the 26th.

For more information:
Delphi Symposium Program
Susan Glaspell Paper Abstracts

The Theatre of Dionysus and Temple of Apollo at Delphi, which Glaspell celebrated in Fugitive's Return and The Road to the Temple.

Linda Ben-Zvi and guide take us to Susan and Jig's camp in Kalania (SGS members left to right, Michael Winetsky, Martha Carpentier, Yoko Chase, Noelia Hernando-Real, and Linda Ben-Zvi). "The forest opens and gives us Kalania--the mountain park, that secret beauty, loveliness that is like a heart, a heart guarded by mountains of spruce" (The Road to the Temple 261).

Eugene O’Neill Society 7th Annual Conference 2008

“O’Neill’s Global Legacy,” June 11-15, Tao House, Danville CA.

Panel: “Performing Race, Gender, and Nation: Susan Glaspell, Eugene O’Neill
and the Modern Drama Classroom.”
Chair: Monica Stufft, University of California Berkeley.

This panel explored the global legacies of the two playwrights and considered the ways we locally stage these legacies in a broadly defined modern drama classroom that includes scholarship and productions. Papers investigated intertextual links around issues of race, gender and/or nation, and considered questions such as how do the plays of Glaspell and O’Neill construct identities both nationally and internationally? How might issues of race, gender and/or nation circulate when we frame these playwrights as American in relation to the European modern theatrical tradition and, in our scholarship and productions, as part of the modern drama canon?

Papers:  “Divided by a Common Language: O’Neill, Glaspell and the European Modern Drama Tradition,” Francesca Coppa;

“Performing Liberalism: Empathy and Protest in an Age of Nationalist Fervor,” Michael Winetsky, City University of New York;

“American Bodies: Intersections of Race and Gender in Emperor Jones and Inheritors,” Monica Stufft, University of California Berkeley.