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! 

2011 Business Meeting Minutes

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.

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.

Teaching SG

Well, friends and fellow Glaspellians, we finally have our teaching blog and I am officially a blogger! Please comment on your experiences teaching Glaspell’s plays and/or fiction. How do students react? How do you engage them with Glaspell’s texts? How do you contextualize her work? What versions of SG’s plays, print or online, are you using?   What’s working for you in the classroom or on the stage as a teacher of Susan Glaspell?

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.

San Francisco Cabaret Opera Trifles 2010

The San Francisco Cabaret Opera presented the WORLD PREMIERE of Trifles, the opera, with music by John G. Bilotta and libretto by John F. McGrew at the 10th Annual Fresh Voices Festival, June 17 & 19, 2010, Live Oak Theater, Berkeley, along with four other operatic and vocal works by American composers presented by Goat Hall Productions, directed by Harriet March Page with a chamber ensemble conducted by Martha Stoddard.

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.