Category Archives: Conferences

ISGS at SSAWW in Bordeaux, France, 2017

The International Susan Glaspell Society joined the Society for the Study of American Women Writers at Université Bordeaux Montaigne, France, 5-8 July 2017, for their conference, “Border Crossings: Translation, Migration, & Gender in the Americas, the Transatlantic, & the Transpacific,” directed by Stéphanie Durrans. The ISGS panel was chaired by ISGS VP Emeline Jouve and entitled “Beyond Borders: Susan Glaspell and her Sisters from the Provincetown Players” featuring:

• “From Page to Stage and Stage to Page: the Trans-literary Career of Susan Glaspell,” Cheryl Black, University of Missouri
• “Recruits in the ‘Army of Women’: Mary Heaton Vorse and Susan Glaspell,” Sharon Friedman, NYU Gallatin School
• “Mud and the Water: Transcultural Explorations of Transgressive gender. Louise Bryant’s From Paris to Main Street and Djuna Barnes’s Three from the Earth,” Drew Eisenhauer, Paris College of Art

On the evening of 5 July 2017, ISGS presented a concert reading of Susan Glaspell’s 1929 novel Fugitive’s Return, adapted and directed by Cheryl Black, 4:00-6:00 pm at the Maison des Etudiants, featuring Cheryl Black, University of Missouri; Dorothy Chansky, Texas Tech University; Jonathan Cohen, Stony Brook University; Drew Eisenhauer, Paris College of Art; Anne Fletcher, Southern Illinois University; Emeline Jouve, INU Champolion/Université Toulouse Jean Jaures; Valerie Joyce, Villanova University; and Ralph Poole, University of Salzburg.

Provincetown Players Centennial 2015

EONS6 July 9-12, 2015 in Provincetown, MA, a centennial conference sponsored jointly by the Eugene O’Neill Society and the International Susan Glaspell Society returned to the scene where Glaspell’s and O’Neill’s first plays were read on the wharf in Provincetown on July 15, 1915. This four-day celebration included walking tours, performances at the Provincetown Theatre, roundtables, a gala reception, fish-house punch, and more! Roundtables included: “Intertextualities in Works by Women Playwrights of the Provincetown Players,” chaired by Martha C. Carpentier; “Jig, Susan, and Gene: The Triumvirate that Shaped the Provincetown Players,” chaired by Linda Ben-Zvi, plus a wonderful guided walking tour hosted by O’Neill Society President, Jeffrey Kennedy.

Schedule of Events:

Friday, July 10 — AM: A walking tour of Provincetown and the east end P’town Players’ sites, followed by “Women Playwrights of the Provincetown” roundtable. PM: Celebration of the first night of Players’ readings, with fish-house punch, on the beach!

Saturday, July 11 — AM: Tour of P’town Museum, followed by “Jig, Susan, and Gene” roundtable at the P’town Library. PM: Performances of Supressed Desires, Constancy, Trifles, and The Sniper at the Provincetown Theatre (ticket costs included at great discount in conference fee!), followed by a panel with Robert M. Dowling, Linda Ben-Zvi, and Jeff Kennedy, moderated by Susan Rand Brown. Gala reception to conclude festivities!

Sunday, July 12 — AM: Conference ended with a brunch that honored our two societies and all that our members have accomplished, followed by a book talk by Robert M. Dowling, author of the new biography, O’Neill: A Life in Four Acts, recently chosen by the Los Angeles Times as Book Prize finalist.

It took us a long time including midnight rambling, but we finally found Susan.

It took a long time, but we finally found Susan.

Jeff at the Wharf site.

Jeff at the Wharf site.

From left to right: Rob Dowling, Martha Carpentier, Jeff Kennedy, Emeline Jouve, Drew Eisenhauer, and Carol DeBoer-Langworthy

From left to right: Rob Dowling, Martha Carpentier, Jeff Kennedy, Emeline Jouve, Drew Eisenhauer, and Carol DeBoer-Langworthy

French Society of Modernist Studies Inaugural Conference 2014

eiffeltower“‘My Beloved Community’: The Provincetown Players and Modernist Drama in the United States” is the title of the panel presented by ISGS members at the inaugural international conference of the French Society of Modernist Studies, entitled Modernist Communities, on April 25-26, 2014, at the University of the Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, France. Emeline Jouve (Toulouse 2) chairs the panel which features the following papers:

Jeff Kennedy (Arizona State University): “George Cram Cook’s ‘Beloved Community of Life-Givers’: The Provincetown Players as Communal Experiment”

Drew Eisenhauer (Meaux): “Modernism, Expressionism, and the Avant-Garde: The Provincetown Players and the Birth of Formal Experimentation in the American Theatre”

Beth Wynstra (Babson College): “‘I Must Be a Mere Protective Animal’: The Modern Marriage in the Works of the Provincetown Players”

Noelia Hernando-Real (Universidad Autonoma de Madrid): “The First World War in Europe and in America: War Plays by Women Modernist Playwrights of the Provincetown Players”

The aim of this two-day conference is to foster discussion on communities in the modernist period as discursive constructs and historical practices. More than a decade after the landmark work of Jessica Berman (who is to deliver one of the keynote addresses) on “the politics of community” in modernist fiction, this conference explores the various ways in which communities were configured across genres and artistic media, while acknowledging the grounds of their historical and cultural specificity. By presenting far-ranging approaches to the concepts, forms, and historical practices of community, the goal of this conference is to map out the plurality of this phenomenon, while recording its persisting elusiveness. One of the premiere modernist communities, the Provincetown Players of course had to be represented and the joint members of the International Susan Glaspell and Eugene O’Neill Societies rose to the challenge.

With this conference the French Society of Modernist Studies — Société d’Etudes Modernistes — hopes to bring together scholars from all countries and strengthen collaborations between French and international researchers. We also hope this event marks the beginning of continuing collaboration between our groups. Congratulations to our panel presenters and chair for representing us so well.

 

24th Annual American Literature Association Conference 2013

images“The Theater of Engagement: The Provincetown Players and the Great War”
Chaired and organized by Sharon Friedman, Gallatin School, NYU

In their interdisciplinary study 1915: The Cultural Moment, Adele Heller and Lois Rudnick observe that progressive groups in New York’s Greenwich Village devoted to creating “a millennium of social peace and justice on American shores, faced the paralyzing horror of the Great War, now entering its second of four years.” Many involved in the Provincetown Players, one of the most important cultural institutions of the Village during this period, along with the radical faction of the Liberal Club, the revolutionary publication The Masses, and the discussion group Heterodoxy, were haunted by the war in Europe and the growing involvement of the United States, the imposition of the draft law, the persecution of dissenters, the Espionage and Sedition Acts, and ultimately the “Red Scare.” Among the diverse stylistically and thematically avante garde works produced by the Players are plays that give dramatic voice to the war issues debated among these and other groups during this period.

This panel includes papers that bring a historical, cultural, and textual analysis to, for example, Eugene O’Neill’s The Sniper (1915), Rita Leo’s (Wellman) The Horrors of War (1915), Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Aria de Capo (1918), or Susan Glaspell’s Inheritors (1921). The papers discern a dialogue between the drama and essays, magazine articles, treatises, manifestos, political rally documents, autobiographical writing or fiction generated by such groups and figures.

Papers presented include:

1. “‘The War Bill’: War on the Stage of the Provincetown Players,” Jeffery Kennedy, Arizona State
University
2. “WWI, Gender Politics, and the Stage as Pulpit: (Anti)War Plays by Women of the Provincetown and
Commercial Theatre,” Pam Cobrin, Barnard College
3. “‘The Gesture’ of Protest: Susan Glaspell and American Idealism in 1917,” Martha C. Carpentier,
Seton Hall University
4. “‘The Play is the Thing’: Feminist (Meta)theatre of Engagement” in Edna St. Vincent Millay’s War Play
Aria da Capo,” Noelia Hernando-Real, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

4th International Conference on American Drama and Theater

May 28-30, 2012, Seville, Spain. Noelia Hernando-Real chaired the International Susan Glaspell Society panel, featuring the following papers: “Nora in America: Ibsen’s A Doll House as Intertext within a Tradition of Feminist Bildungsdrama in Plays by Eulalie Spence, Dawn Powell, Rachel Crothers, and Susan Glaspell” by Cheryl Black, University of Missouri, USA; “Why Do We Three Go Apart?: Love, The Mind-Body Problem, and Trajectories in Glaspell’s Oeuvre” by Michael Winetsky, CUNY, USA; “Some Challenges in Translating Suppressed Desires into Spanish” by Nieves Alberola Crespo, Jaume I University, Castellón, Spain. A large contingent of Glaspellians attended this conference hosted by the University of Seville in beautiful Andalucia, Spain! 

Eugene O’Neill Society 8th International Conference 2011

“O’Neill in Bohemia,” June 22-26, Greenwich Village, NY.  The Susan Glaspell Society was once again pleased to be participating in the International Eugene O’Neill Conference with a full day of events on Saturday, June 25, 2011.

12:00 —SGS Business Meeting in Dean’s Conference Room, Gallatin Building, 1 Washington Place. Meeting minutes are posted.

2:00—Panel: “‘The Beloved Community’: The Provincetown Players in Context,”in Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre, 1 Washington Place @ Broadway. Chair and organizer: Sharon Friedman, the Gallatin School, New York University.

Recent scholarship on Susan Glaspell and other writers and artists of the Provincetown experiment has probed and deconstructed the by now mythical narratives of its founding and evolution to provide a more historicized and intertextual analysis of the Players and the plays. These studies situate the group at an important historical moment—the development of socialism, feminism, psychoanalysis, modernism, and the emergence of global warfare—and reveal shared stylistic and thematic concerns as well as their profound connections to other writers, cultural institutions, ideologies, discourses, and events of the period. Presentations will build on this research to explore the synergies between plays produced by the Provincetown (1916-1922) and writings produced by Village institutions, such as the Washington Square Players, the Liberal Club, The Masses, and Heterodoxy, with which they shared members, ideals, and a range of responses to events and conditions of this period.

Papers: “Oligarchy of the Artists: Jig Cook, Greenwich Village, and American Cultural Identity,” Drew Eisenhauer, Mayor of Paris Research Fellow, University of Paris, Diderot;

“A Luncheon for Suffrage: Theatrical Contributions of Heterodoxy to the Enfranchisement of the American Woman,” Noelia Hernando-Real, Universidad Complutense de Madrid;

“Staging Bohemia: Theatrical Self-Representation in Greenwich Village,” Brenda Murphy, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of English, University of Connecticut.

3:45—“Performing Bohemia”: A Concert Reading by Susan Glaspell Society members along with professional actors, adapted and assembled by Cheryl Black (University of Missouri) from Glaspell’s “The People,” the pages of the socialist journal The Masses, and sundry songs, poems, speeches, and manifestoes from the pens of the Provincetown Players and their Village cohorts, presented in the Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre. For photos of this event, follow the link to O’Neillian Win Goodbody’s gallery from “Links” page.

5:30—SGS Provincetown Punch Reception. We toasted “The Beloved Community” with their “Fish House” punch from the recipe preserved by Provincetown executive committee member Edna Kenton. The Players’ potent potable combines two kinds of brandy, rum, black tea, sugar, lemon juice, and ice, and was served to Glaspellians and O’Neillians in the gallery space adjacent to the Jerry Labowitz Theatre.

22nd Annual American Literature Association Conference 2011

May 26-29, Boston MA.
Panel: “Dramatizing Ideas: Hybrids, Heterodoxies, and Humanisms in Greenwich Village.”
Chair: Michael Winetsky.

The Glaspell Society is pleased to present its panel as part of the Five Dramatists Societies’ series of associated panels at ALA 2011 on “Dramatizing Ideas.” Selecting for traits, cross breeding, grafting, Claire Archer, the horticultural mad scientist at the center of Glaspell’s 1921 drama The Verge, uses all of these techniques to create a new self-reproducing species of plant, calling her efforts “mad new comings together.”  In imagining Claire’s work in this play, Glaspell hit upon a metaphor for the intellectual life of Greenwich Village, where new ideas in politics, philosophy, science, spirituality, and art were bred and crossbred. Glaspell’s horticultural metaphors for ideas have been linked by recent scholars to the educational organicism of John Dewey, to the Pragmatism of William James, to the Humanism of F. C. S. Schiller, to the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud, to the ontology of Henri Bergson, as well as to the evolutionary science of Lamarck, Darwin, and Haeckel. Such metaphors must be seen as the culmination of Glaspell’s own long-standing interest in the fusion of different ways of knowing. “When art weds science,” Glaspell wrote in her first novel, The Glory of the Conquered, “the resulting library is difficult to manage.” Extending these metaphors into a more general inquiry, the Susan Glaspell Society invites papers that address Greenwich Village as a site for the transformation of ideas.

 Papers: “Loving Outside the Law: Nature as Mother in Susan Glaspell and Mary Hallock Foote,” Catherine Q. Forsa, Seton Hall University;

“Jung’s Impact on the First Greenwich Village Avant-Garde,” Dr. Jay Sherry, independent scholar;

“‘What is that?’: Epistemological Crises in Glaspell’s Trifles and The Morning is Near Us,” Taryn Norman, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

International Conference on American Drama 2010

Oct. 29-30, Kean University, Union NJ.

Panel: “The Significance of Susan Glaspell to American Drama and Performance.”
Chair: Linda Ben-Zvi, Professor Emeritus, Tel Aviv University.

Papers:  “Re-Visiting Bernice in the 21st Century,” Sharon Friedman, Gallatin School of New York University;

“Gender Identity in Susan Glaspell’s and Marsha Norman’s Plays”, Noelia Hernando-Real, Universidad Complutense de Madrid;

“Searching for the Voice of Minnie Wright in Trifles,” a dramatic monologue written and performed by Milbre Burch, University of Missouri.

In addition, a staged reading of Chains of Dew was presented by SGS members and professional actors, adapted and directed by Cheryl Black, University of Missouri.

Association of Theatre in Higher Education Conference 2010

Aug. 3-6, Los Angeles.
SGS/ATDS sponsored panel: “Surviving The Outside: Modernity and the Woman Artist.”
Chair: Monica Stufft, University of California at Berkeley.

This ATDS focus group panel involved Susan Glaspell Society members and featured a reading and discussion of Glaspell’s play, The Outside. A deeply symbolic one-act set at an abandoned life-saving station, the play focuses on two women who have virtually exiled themselves. In the play, male characters attempt and fail to resuscitate a drowning victim while the two women living at the life-saving station struggle with their decision to remain isolated from the rest of society. Allie Mayo “has not spoken an unnecessary word for twenty years” after the death of her husband while Mrs. Patrick has elected to be emotionally and physically distanced from others after the infidelity of her husband. Our reading (with a run-time of approximately 30 minutes) and discussion explored the significance of what Veronica Makowsky has called “two aspiring, but temporarily stymied, female modernist artists-in-life.” We considered the implications of Glaspell’s presentation of a highly gendered view of modernism or modernisms in The Outside. In particular, we addressed Glaspell’s suggestion that the woman artist cannot survive if she disconnects herself from society or from her past in order to consider the play’s implications for theatre today.

21st Annual American Literature Association Conference 2010

May 27-30, San Francisco.
Panel: “Intertextual Exchanges: Susan Glaspell.”
Chair: Drew Eisenhauer, University of Maryland.

Following our successful collaboration in 2009, once again the Susan Glaspell Society joined forces with the American Theatre and Drama Society, the Eugene O’Neill Society, the Arthur Miller Society, and the Thornton Wilder Society to collaborate on a series of panels and roundtables on the theme of “Intertextual Exchanges” conceived in the broadest sense. Topics included direct intertextual references to authors such as Emerson or Charlotte Perkins Gilman, as well as comparisons or interrelationships between Glaspell and her fellow Provincetowners, other playwrights of her era, or textual connections with European dramatists such as Shaw, Ibsen, Strindberg, and Chekov. The panel was not limited to dramatic works: Glaspell’s novels and short fiction also offered an opportunity to explore intertextuality as she adapted themes and characters to different genres and challenged American traditions in fiction. Another avenue of exploration considered was Glaspell’s interaction with textual sources from areas of intellectual inquiry such as evolution, psychoanalysis, metaphysics, political philosophy, and contemporary events causing social and political debate during the time of her writing.

Papers:  “Intertextuality on the Frontier in Susan Glaspell’s Inheritors,” Sarah Whithers, Indiana University;

“Looking for Herland: Embodying the Search for Utopia in Susan Glaspell’s The Verge,” Frank Lasik, University of Missouri-Columbia;

“‘Trailing Clouds of Glory’: Politics, History, and Material Culture in Glaspell’s Echoes of Romantic Literature,” Michael Winetsky, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York.