Ann Pleiss Morris, Assistant Professor of English at Ripon College, will be traveling with a group of five students to the Blackfriars Conference in Staunton, Virginia on October 23-27. Two of the Ripon College students on the trip will be presenting their own academic work at the conference. Amanda Finn ’14 will be presenting “Epicoene or Epicene: How Stage Directions Can Completely Alter Theatrical Empathy” a look at how contemporary editing has changed characterization in Ben Jonson’s Epiocene. Garth Clark ’14 will be presenting “”A Midsummer Night’s Mess: Staging a Mechanical Play Towards The Royalty.”
Pleiss Morris will also be presenting at the conference, exploring the ways introductory materials of printed plays were used to account for the differences in auditing and reading a play during the early modern period.
The Blackfriars Conference is presented by the American Shakespeare Center’s Education and Research Department, and according to their website the conference hosts, “Shakespeareans, scholars and practitioners alike, to explore Shakespeare in the study and Shakespeare on the stage and to find ways that these two worlds – sometime in collision – can collaborate.” Among the unique features of the conference is that speakers who exceed their allotted time are chased off the stage by a person wearing a bear costume. “It’s one of the most collegial conferences I’ve ever attended,” says Pleiss Morris. “Students feel comfortable talking to these scholars that they’ve read in class.”
She hopes her students finish the experience with a fuller context for the work they do at Ripon. Pleiss Morris says, “I hope that they get a taste of understanding of how the work they do in the classroom can translate to a public audience beyond their teacher, beyond the classroom, and see first-hand how the work we do in the classroom is done by professionals, in both a scholarly way and as applied to theatrical performances.”
Funding for the trip is supported by the Office of the President’s 13 for 13 initiative which has awarded thirteen grants of $1,300 during 2013 to students, faculty and staff at Ripon College to enhance the quality of life at Ripon. One of the goals is for students who attend this conference to return to Ripon and help the English Department host a conference for the Ripon College community in the spring.
To learn more about the 13 for 13 program, visit www.ripon.edu/13-for-13.
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