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.

 

Orange Tree Stages Springs Eternal 2013

Photo by Robert Day.

Photo by Robert Day.

Once again the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, U.K., is proving its commitment to reviving the works of America’s greatest female playwright, Susan Glaspell, with their world premiere of her final play, Springs Eternal, directed by Sam Waters. For those of you who are near or can make the trip to London, Springs Eternal runs until October 19th, and the ISGS will hold a seminar on October 12th featuring Barbara Ozieblo, Emeline Jouve, Linda Ben-Zvi, Sherry Engle, Drew Eisenhauer, Noelia Hernando-Real, and J. Ellen Gainor.

Once again, too, theatre critic Michael Billington in The Guardian has praise for Glaspell and for Walters’ “extremely adroit cast,” including David Antrobus as Stewie, Antony Eden as Bill, Miranda Foster as Harry, Stuart Fox as Owen, Julia Hills as Margaret, Lydia Larson as Dottie, Jeremy Lloyd as Jumbo, Auriol Smith as Mrs. Soames. The Theatre Guide London calls the play “a small gem well worth the rediscovery. As ever, Sam Walters directs with grace and fluidity on the in-the-round stage of which he is a master and … gets  first-rate performances from his entire cast.” To read more go to Links page on this site and click on Orange Tree.

Barbara Ozieblo, from the University of Malaga, will open the seminar at the Orange Tree on October 12 with a brief introduction to the origins of the Provincetown Players and the first two seasons. Emeline Jouve, from Champollion University and Toulouse II University, will continue with a short history of the Provincetown Players. Linda Ben-Zvi, Professor emeritae from Tel Aviv and Colorado State Universities, will focus on George Cram Cook, whose dream of a modern American theatre gave birth to the group. The seminar will then focus on two of the main highlights of the Provincetown Players: Sherry Engle, from Borough of Manhattan Community College will talk about the women of the group and Drew Eisenhauer, from Coventry University, about the father of American drama, Eugene O’Neill. The last part of the seminar will deal with Susan Glaspell and the theme of war. Noelia Hernando-Real, from the Instituto Franklin and the University Complutense of Madrid, will talk about the Provincetown Players and the theme of war and Glaspell’s treatment of war in her plays, a theme J. Ellen Gainor, from Cornell University, will develop as she explores Susan Glaspell’s Springs Eternal.

 

Shaw Festival in Ontario Produces Trifles 2013

Kaylee Harwood as Mrs. Peters and Julain Molnar as Mrs. Hale in Trifles. Photo by Michael Cooper.

Kaylee Harwood as Mrs. Peters and Julain Molnar as Mrs. Hale in Trifles. Photo by Michael Cooper.

Billed as “two gripping marital mysteries by two playwrights who helped bring modern drama to America,” the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lakes, Ontario, presents Glaspell’s Trifles on the same bill as Eugene O’Neill’s A Wife for a Life from May 29 to October 12 at the Court House Theatre as part of their “lunchtime one-acts” program.

Now in its 52nd season, with 10-12 productions each year performed in four theatres for an audience of more than 250,000, the Shaw Festival is a Canadian cultural icon, producing a diverse mix of plays from the past and present, performed by their talented Acting Ensemble. This production is directed by Meg Roe and designed by Camellia Koo, with lighting designed by Louise Guinand and music composed by Alessandro Juliani. It features Kaylee Harwood as Mrs. Peters, Julain Molnar as Mrs. Hale, Benedict Campbell as Mr. Hale, Jeff Irving as the attorney, and Graeme Somerville as Mr. Peters.

Comments from Daina Giesler, a theatre director who saw Trifles and A Wife for Life:
“At the Shaw, the set was the same for both plays (an artistically old, grey, dim cabin, very bare) with only small prop changes. It was in one of the smaller theatres with a 3/4 thrust so the audience could feel like they were inside. The plays worked quite well together — both with characters in isolated areas and with secrets, and because the main focus of both was ‘the wife’ that was spoken of and yet never seen, except by the description of others who seemed not to really know “her”… The actors were excellent and so was the response, but it seemed to me they were both shorter than I remembered them — with only 50 minutes for the two.”

To read more go to shawfest.com or to the Links page on this site and click on Shaw Festival link.

 

2013 Business Meeting Minutes

Friday, May 25, 2013, at the ALA Conference, Boston.

In attendance: Cheryl Black, Martha Carpentier, Sharon Friedman, Noelia Hernando-Real, Basia Ozieblo, Michael Winetsky.

1) Martha Carpentier, on behalf of the International Susan Glaspell Society, thanked Sharon Friedman for organizing the “Theatre of Engagement” panel and Cheryl Black for organizing the concert reading of “Performing Bohemia.” She awarded Noelia Hernando-Real with a travel grant unanimously approved by the Executive Council.

2) Winner of Best Published Paper prize:

Noelia Hernando Real, “Sane Enough to Kill: On Women, Madness, and the Theatricality of Violence in Susan Glaspell’s The Verge.” Violence in American Drama: Essays on Its Staging, Meanings and Effects. Eds. Alfonso Ceballos Muñoz, Ramón Espejo Romero and Bernardo Muñoz Martinez. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011.

3) President’s Report:

Martha summarized ISGS conference activities and publications since the last business meeting in 2011. The impressive list includes Drew Eisenhauer and Brenda Murphy’s Intertextuality in American Drama: Critical Essays on Eugene O’Neill, Susan Glaspell, Thornton Wilder, Arthur Miller and Other Playwrights (McFarland, 2013 which includes seven articles on Glaspell) and Noelia Hernando-Real’s Self and Space in the Theater of Susan Glaspell (MacFarland, 2011), dissertations (by Emeline Jouve, Ling Jian-e, and Michael Winetsky), performances, readings, and papers at the International Conference on Theatre and Drama (Seville 2012) and the Justice Served Symposia (MU, 2012). Cheryl Black announces that Milbre Burch won a prize for her piece “Sometimes I Sing” and that she got another prize for producing the Justice Served Symposia. Martha reminded us all  that the website is a blog, so that we can all share our accomplishments. 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. There is one issue that, however, worries us all and it is the diminishing number of members. There are 45 members now, after a high of 70 in 2010, and Martha reminded us all to keep recruiting in mind, particularly among graduate students. Martha announced that together with Noelia she will check if we are eligible and how to apply to MLA as a subgroup, since this would increase visibility, and hence numbers.

Martha informed the group about Chad Coffman, a college student and Davenport native who discovered a four page-story by “Susie Glaspell” hand-written in Feb 1893 titled “The Holy Grail: The Story of Sir Percival’s Sister” in the Davenport Public Schools archives. Martha showed copies of the original and her transcription. Martha added that Coffman believes he has discovered Glaspell’s birth house at 502 Cedar Street, which had been thought lost.

Martha informed us that our nomination of Glaspell didn’t make the cut for the National Women’s Hall of Fame, a lengthy application that was spearheaded by Ellen and prepared by Ellen, Noelia, Cheryl, Basia, and Martha.  They automatically roll unsuccessful nominations over to the next cycle for re-consideration (every two years, hence 2015).  Martha suggested that we use excerpts from this piece to update Wikipedia, which has gaps that could use filling in by the ISGS. Noelia noted that since it will be re-considered again, we should wait to use this material rather than publishing it online. Michael Winetsky affirmed he has been working on the Wikipedia and he will continue to do so.

4) Vice-President’s Report:

Noelia focused on the status of the Literary Encyclopedia entries, pointing to all the entries that need to be written.

Entries published between 2011 and the present meeting include Emeline Jouve’s Springs Eternal and Chains of Dew, Milbre Burch’s Chronology, and Michael Winetsky’s The Glory of the Conquered. Linda Ben-Zvi is working on Free Laughter, Sherry Engle on The Comic Artist, Drew on Lifted Masks and Michael Winetsky on Judd Rankin’s Daughter.

Cheryl is going to ask a student of hers to write the entry on Bernice, and Martha will write the entries on Norma Ashe and Ambrose Holt and Family, and she will ask a student of hers to do The Morning is Near Us and Mary Papke to write on The Visioning. Martha will also ask Patricia Bryan about writing the entry on Her America.

Additional Notices:

5) Martha announced the world premier of Springs Eternal scheduled for this September/October at the Orange Tree Theatre in London. Director Sam Waters finds the play very moving, and he’s very excited about finally bringing this work to the stage. He’ll also do a reading of Bernice at some point during the run. Thanks to J. Ellen Gainor for this great news. Noelia suggested asking Sam whether he would be interested in letting us organize a seminar as we did last time. Everybody finds this a good idea and Basia will ask Sam personally next June.

6) Martha mentioned briefly the progress of Emeline Jouve’s and her plans for Susan Glaspell’s Trifles and “A Jury of Her Peers”: A Centennial Celebration. Martha informed us of contributors who have already been accepted and noted that the CFP is still open until the end of June.

 7) Plans for the P’town Players and Trifles Centennial Conference:

The group decided to work with the Eugene O’Neill Society and set the Trifles centennial in 2016, when Trifles was first produced and Eugene O’Neill became a member. Also we agreed to assist Jeff Kennedy, EONS incoming President, in planning an event in P’town in the summer of 1915 to celebrate the beginning of the PPs themselves.

We agreed to form an “Ad Hoc Centennial Conference Planning Committee” to aid the ISGS Executive Council in planning the conference: to include Cheryl Black, Linda Ben-Zvi, J. Ellen Gainor, and Michael Winetsky.

It is set that the ideal place for our centennial is NYC, as it worked out so beautifully last time. We will count on Sharon Friedman’s help with space in the Gallatin School, and Jeff Kennedy has affirmed that he will be able to get the Playhouse again. The date will be towards the end of June. Martha and Noelia presented some topics for panels and asked the members to keep thinking about topics and to volunteer to chair panels. Some of the topics discussed were:

– Panel on biography (to be chaired by Basia)

– Panel on Jury’s publication history (to be chaired by Martha)

– Panel on Trifles/Jury and law (possibly to be chaired by Patricia Bryan)

– Panel on adaptations (film, theater, etc; to be chaired by Sharon)

– Panel on Intertextualities: Susan Glaspell/Eugene O’Neill (to be co-chaired by Noelia and a member of the Eugene O’Neill Society)

– Panel on Heterodoxy (possibly to be chaired by Blanche Wiesen Cook)

– Roundtable on Trifles in performance (possibly to be chaired by Sherry Engle)

Cheryl agreed to work on a script. It was also suggested that we could entice a local NYC theater group (some suggestions were the Mint or Metropolitian theaters) to do Trifles and Bound East for Cardiff, and that Milbre Burch could do her piece “Sometimes I Sing”. Jeff Kennedy also may assemble “notables,” such as the Gelbs and Tony Kushner, for a reading of these two pieces.

We still have to think about keynote speakers and contact them. Martha reminded us that J. Ellen Gainor may try to get Elaine Showalter, and Sharon offered to contact Carol Gilligan.  Financial support for such an eminent speaker must be addressed.

Intertextuality in American Drama: Critical Essays on Eugene O’Neill, Susan Glaspell, Thornton Wilder, Arthur Miller and Other Playwrights (McFarland 2013)

Eisenhauer and Murphy edEdited by ISGS and Eugene O’Neill Society members and theater scholars Drew Eisenhauer and Brenda Murphy, this anthology provides a wide range of new essays on such diverse American dramatists as Eugene O’Neill, Susan Glaspell, Thornton Wilder, Arthur Miller, Maurine Dallas Watkins, Sophie Treadwell, and Washington Irving. The essayists offer numerous approaches to intertextuality: the influence of the poetry of romanticism and Shakespeare and of histories and novels, ideological and political discourses on American playwrights, unlikely connections between such writers as Miller and Wilder, the problems of intertexts in translation, the evolution in historical and performance contexts of the same tale, and the relationships among feminism, the drama of the courtroom, and the drama of the stage. The anthology includes the following new essays on Glaspell’s work:

Friedman, Sharon. “‘What There Is Behind Us’: Susan Glaspell’s Challenge to Nativist Discourse in Stage Adaptations of her Harper’s Monthly Fiction.”

Hagen, Lisa Hall. “Female Playwrights, Female Killers: Intersecting Texts of Crime and Gender in Glaspell, Watkins and Treadwell.”

Hernando-Real, Noelia. “On Closets and Graves: Intertextualities in Susan Glaspell’s Alison’s House and Emily Dickinson’s Poetry.”

Jouve, Emeline. “Intertextual Insanities in Susan Glaspell’s The Verge.”

Lasik, Franklin J. “Looking for Herland: Embodying the Search for Utopia in Susan Glaspell’s The Verge.”

Winetsky, Michael. “‘Trailing Clouds of Glory’: Glaspell, Romantic Ideology and Cultural Conflict in Modern American Literature.”

Withers, Sarah. “Intertextuality on the Frontier in Susan Glaspell’s Inheritors.”

Print ISBN:  978-0-7864-6391-6
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4766-0140-3

To order: http://www.mcfarlandbooks.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-6391-6

 

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

Justice Served Symposia at MU 2012

Patricia Bryan at MUProf. Cheryl Black directed Trifles and Milbre Burch presented her original monologue directed by Emily A. Rollie, “Sometimes I Sing,” a moving sequel to Trifles, as part of a triple bill including a new adaptation by cfrancis blackchild of Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat” entitled “The Devil’s Own” and directed by Laura M. Nelson, all under the umbrella title “Justice Served.” The interdisciplinary symposia at University of Missouri featured visiting scholars Patricia L. Bryan (Chapel Hill), ISGS member and author of Midnight Assassin: Murder in America’s Heartland, and Hurston biographer Valerie Boyd (University of Georgia). The performances were sold out and the postshow discussions, led by Bryan and Boyd, were fabulous! MU faculty from the Law School, School of Journalism, School of Social Work, English and Women’s and Gender Studies Depts. attended and participated in the discussions. The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival respondent raved, and the students in the casts felt like they were part of something very special and important.

Pioneering Women Producers

J. Ellen Gainor lectured on Glaspell at an event hosted by the League of Professional Theatre Women on Monday, May 14, 2012 at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, 365 Fifth Avenue @ 35th Street, New York City.
The documentary film, “Sweet Tornado: Margo Jones and the American Theater,” was shown, followed by a Q&A and a panel. Ellen’s panel also featured Helen Sheehy on Eva Le Gallienne, Wendy Anne Vierow on Margaret Webster, and Susan Quinn on Hallie Flanagan, followed by a reception.

For more information…

Self and Space in the Theater of Susan Glaspell (McFarland 2011)

Published by McFarland, Noelia Hernando-Real’s exploration of eleven Glaspell plays written between 1915 and 1943 focuses on one of her major themes, the interplay between place and identity. Hernando-Real examines the means Glaspell employs to engage her characters in proxemical and verbal dialectics with the forces of place that turn them into victims of location, and her characters’ attempts to escape the influence of territoriality and shape identities of their own.
Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-6394-7
EBook ISBN: 978-0-7864-8832-2
To order:
http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/contents-2.php?id=978-0-7864-6394-7

Hernando-Real has also recently published “Sane Enough to Kill: On Women, Madness, and the Theatricality of Violence in Susan Glaspell’s The Verge” in Violence in American Drama. Essays on Its Staging, Meanings and Effects. Eds. Alfonso Ceballos Muñoz, Ramón Espejo Romero and Bernardo Muñoz Martinez. Also published by McFarland.