Feb. 27: Theatre Circle Presents Dr. Amy E. Cook on King Lear and Cognitive Science

Cook_Staging-nothingStaging Nothing, Staging Science: King Lear and the Theatricality of What is Absent

Being and seeing bodies speak onstage is powerful—it manages to change minds. The seemingly simple ability to watch, understand, appreciate, and be moved by a theatrical production is, in fact, an extraordinary cognitive and biological feat. In this, the final Theatre Circle Lecture of the season, Dr. Amy Cook focuses on the performance of science and the science of performance in Shakespeare’s language, examining how conceptual linguistics illuminates Cordelia’s invocation of “nothing,” in the King Lear’s opening scene and Lear’s desperate attempt to capture some sign of life from his daughter at the play’s end.

Thursday, February 27 | 5:30 pm
Studio Theatre
2nd Floor, Lee Norvelle Theatre & Drama Center
Corner of 7th and Jordan

Dr. Amy Cook, Theatre History, Theory, & Literature


AMY COOK is Associate Professor of Theatre History, Theory, and Literature at Indiana University. She specializes in the intersection of cognitive science (particularly cognitive linguistics, theories of embodied and embedded cognition, and empathy), and theories of performance, theatre history and dramaturgy, early modern drama, and contemporary productions of Shakespeare. Her book, Shakespearean Neuroplay: Reinvigorating the Study of Dramatic Texts and Performance through Cognitive Science, provides a methodology for applying cognitive science to the study of drama and performance. With Shakespeare’s Hamlet as a test subject and the cognitive linguistic theory of conceptual blending as a tool, Cook unravels the “mirror held up to nature” at the center of Shakespeare’s play. She is co-chair, with John Lutterbie, of the Cognitive Science in Theatre and Performance Working Group at the American Society of Theatre Research conference (2010 and 2011).

She was a Mellon Fellow in dramaturgy, directing, and dramatic literature at Emory University in Atlanta, where she was commissioned to write a documentary theatre piece on race at Emory University, presented at the Brave New Works Festival in February of 2009. She received her Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama at University of California, San Diego where she studied with Louis Montrose, Bryan Reynolds, Jim Carmody, Janet Smarr, and cognitive scientists Gilles Fauconnier, Rafael Núñez, and Seana Coulson. She got received her B.A. in theatre directing and psychology (a self-designed individual concentration through the Honors Program) from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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Mar. 4: IU French & Italian Presents Dr. Georgia Cowart on Watteau and 18th C. French Opera

Performing a New France: Watteau, the Musical Stage, and the Burial of Louis XI

Tuesday, March 4th | 5:30 pm
Simon Music Building, Room 242
200 S. Jordan Ave. (behind the fountain)

Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) worked briefly as a set painter at the Paris Opera House around 1702-1703, and a number of his most well-known paintings can be explained via a series of pieces performed in the musical theater of that time. These works encode a critique of the increasingly unpopular rule of the aging Louis XIV, while offering utopian visions of a new France. Drawing on the opera, ballet, and commedia dell’arte, the presentation will examine the imagery of The French Comedians, The Italian Comedians, Mezzetin, and other works as they respond to and participate in a theatrical game of masks involving satire, parody, and allusion.

Dr. Georgia Cowart, Case Western University


GEORGIA COWART is Professor of Music at Case Western Reserve University. She has published three books and a number of articles on music, the arts, and cultural politics in early modern France. Her most recent book, The Triumph of Pleasure: Louis XIV and the Politics of Spectacle (University of Chicago Press, 2008), focused on the shifting intersections of the arts, ideology, and aesthetics at the court of Louis XIV and in the Parisian public sphere in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.  She is currently at work on a book manuscript, tentatively titled “Performing a New France: Watteau, Spectacle, and the Sunset of Absolutism.”

From 2007-09, Prof. Cowart served as Sylvan C. and Pamela Coleman Memorial Fund Senior Fellow in Art History at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and as guest curator of the Met exhibition “Watteau, Music & Theater” (Fall 2009). From 2011-12 she served as Marta Sutton Weeks Senior Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center.

This talk made possible by the kind sponsorship of the Mary-Margaret Barr Koon Fund of the Department of French & Italian, Department of the History of Art, the Renaissance Studies Program, Department of Theatre, Drama, & Contemporary Dance, IU’s Center for 18th-Century Studies, Department of Musicology

If you have a disability and need assistance, accommodations can be made to meet most needs. Please call (812) 855-5458.

Mar 4: Mathers Museum Presents Dr. John Laudun on the Material Culture of Mardi Gras

kreweThe Matter of Mardi Gras: How People Use the Tangible Things of this World to Create the Intangible

Tuesday, March 4 || 12:00 – 1:00 pm
Mathers Museum of World Culture
416 N. Indiana Ave, Bloomington, IN 47408

The Mermentau Mardi Gras, the Krewe de Foux (crew of fools), as they call themselves, traverse the small corner of the south Louisiana landscape known as Mermentau Cove. This presentation by John Laudun, an Associate Professor of English at the University of Louisiana, seeks to sketch a simple matrix of objects and ideas, in an attempt to understand not only how people manifest themselves in the world but also how they make their world manifest using both the ordinary and extraordinary means available to them during the particular festival moment that is Mardi Gras in the Louisiana prairies.

Dr. John Laudun, University of Louisiana

Dr. John Laudun, University of Louisiana


JOHN LAUDUN is Associate Professor of English at the University of Louisiana where he teaches courses in folklore, creativity studies, and documentary studies. He received his MA in literary studies from Syracuse University in 1989 and his PhD in folklore studies from the Folklore Institute at Indiana University in 1999. He was a Jacob K. Javits Fellow and a MacArthur Scholar at the Indiana Center for Global Change and World Peace (1993-94). His forthcoming monograph, The Makers of Things: How a Bunch of Cajun and German Farmers and Fabricators Invented a Traditional Amphibious Boat (University Press of Mississippi 2014), is the first book-length study of Louisiana material culture wherein Laudun investigates how the residents of the southern part of the state actually imagine the landscape on which they live and work.

Feb. 21: Mathers Museum presents Jennifer Goodlander on Indonesian Puppetry as “Intangible Cultural Heritage”

Wayang-Kulit-PuppetUnderstanding Puppets as Heritage: Performing Objects/Performing Culture

Friday, February 21 | 12:30 – 1:30 pm
Mathers Museum of World Culture
416 N. Indiana Ave, Bloomington, IN 47408

Join MMWC Faculty Research Curator and Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance professor Dr. Jennifer Goodlander as she discussses puppetry as heritage. UNESCO has designated puppetry as “Intangible Cultural Heritage” in several Asian nations, adding to its economic and political relevance. This designation, however, also problematizes the relationship between the tangible objects with the intangible performance. In the museum the objects of performance function as a transatlantic archive of living and changing traditions; likewise the tradition of Asian performance lies within the body and that in order to understand the tradition and how it changes one must engage with the art as performer. In this presentation, Goodlander will explore how the puppet as an object in a museum articulates (past) performances and performs cultural heritage.

The lecture will be free and open to the public.

Jennifer Goodlancer, Theatre, Drama, & Contemporary Dance

Dr. Jennifer Goodlander, Dept.  of  Theatre, Drama, & Contemporary Dance


JENNIFER GOODLANDER is Assistant Professor of Theatre History, Theory, and Literature in IU’s Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance. Her research focuses on Asian performance as it intersects with gender studies, ethnography, performance studies, postcolonial theory, visual culture studies, and transnational circuits of performance.  Her dissertation, with research funded by a Fulbright Fellowship to Indonesia, focused on women and performance in Bali, especially wayang kulit or shadow puppetry.  She is currently revising the dissertation into a book manuscript tentatively called Women in the Shadows: Gender, Puppets, and the Power of Tradition in Bali.  Drawing upon her own experience of the practical training and ritual initiation to become a dalang, or puppeteer, coupled with interviews of early women dalangs and leading artists, she argues that “tradition” in Bali must be understood as a system of power that is inextricably linked to gender hierarchy.

Jennifer is interested in unraveling and exploring connections between scholarship and theatrical practice.  In New York City and regionally she worked extensively as a director and teacher with a special emphasis on new plays and physically based performance.   She combined Asian theatre into innovative productions of The Ghost Sonata, The Bacchae, and others.  She was a member of the 2005 Lincoln Center Director’s Lab that focused on new play development and working in collaboration.  She often shares her research through performances and lectures at theatres, civic groups, and universities and has performed wayang kulit in NYC, Michigan, Kentucky, Illinois, and Ohio.  Jennifer is the Membership and Outreach Coordinator for the Association for Asian Performance (AAP) and Symposium Co-Chair for Practice and Production Symposium of the Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC).

Bharata Natyam: Classical Indian Dance Performance @ IU

Lotus Blossoms: Kalapriya Ensemble Indian Dance

Thursday, February 20 | 7:00 pm
Mathers Museum of World Culture
416 N. Indiana Ave, Bloomington, IN 47408

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Kalapriya, from the Chicago-based Kalapriya Center for Indian Performing Arts, performs a traditional Indian dance called Bharata Natyam. Its stylized hand movements, elegant footwork, and complex rhythms express mythology and convey emotion. This type of dance has origins in the 9th century and was popular in courts during the 17th and 18th centuries. It’s experienced a revival in the last 100 years and continues to evolve. Kalapriya incorporates other contemporary and classical dances in its Bharata Natyam performances, reflecting both the history and growth of Indian artistic culture. The special Lotus Blossoms event will be free and open to the public, and sponsored by the Lotus Education and Arts Foundation, and IU’s Ethnomusicology Students Association.


BHARATA NATYAM is a classical dance form whose roots reach back two thousand years, Bharata Natyam utilizes stylized hand gestures, theatrical facial expressions, intricate footwork and complicated rhythms and counter rhythms to visualize poetry, mythology and universal themes. A highly intelligent form of dancing, Bharata Natyam is constantly evolving. Performed exclusively by female dancers (known as devadasis), Bharata Natyam first became popular in South India in the 9th C., when it was performed in the temple and at court. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Bharata Natyam began to assume the form and content we know today. In fact, the modern Bharata Natyam repertoire consists of many dances that were originally choreographed during this time.Under British rule, the Indian princes, who were the main patrons of art, lost their power and the devadasis all but disappeared. After India’s independence in 1947, classical dance enjoyed a revival as girls and women from all communities began to study dance. Today, Bharata Natyam is the most widely practiced dance form in India.Kalapriya’s work is firmly rooted in the centuries-old classical Bharata Natyam tradition. In keeping with its core belief that no art form exists in a vacuum, its performances often showcase not only classical Bharata Natyam dance, but also works from other classical and contemporary genres that have influenced (or have been influenced by) Bharata Natyam.

Want to know more? Go to Kalapriya’s in-depth look at the art of Bharata Natyam

Apr 10: Bruce McConachie to Deliver 2014 Albert Wertheim Lecture

The Indiana University Department of English announces the 4th Annual Albert Wertheim Lecture in Performance:

McConachie LectureTHE WERTHEIM SEMINAR IN PERFORMANCE fosters advanced work in theater, drama, and performance studies in the English Department and at IU. It honors the legacy and influence of Albert J. Wertheim, a leading scholar and supporter of the dramatic arts at Indiana University and elsewhere. Professor Wertheim received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1965 and taught at Princeton University before moving to Indiana in 1969, where he taught until the time of his death in 2003. The subjects of his published articles span the canon of Western drama and theatre: from Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and James Shirley to Bertolt Brecht, Arthur Miller, Eugene O’Neill, William Inge, and many others.  He is the author of two books: The Dramatic Art of Athol Fugard: From South Africa to the World (2000) and Staging the War: American Drama and World War II (published posthumously, 2004).

Click here to find further information about Theatre/Performance Studies in the IU English Department.

Bruce McConachie

Dr. Bruce McConachie, University of Pittsburgh


BRUCE MCCONACHIE is a specialist in American theatre history, theatre historiography, and the intersection of cognitive science and theatre. His major books include, MelodramaticFormations, American Theater in the Culture of the Cold War, Interpreting the Theatrical Past (with Tom Postlewait), Theatre & Mind, and Engaging Audiences: A Cognitive Approach to Spectating in the Theatre. He is the co-editor (with F. Elizabeth Hart) of Performance and Cognition: Theatre Studies and the Cognitive Turn and the co-editor (with Blakey Vermeule) of the Palgrave series on Cognitive Studies in Literature and Performance. He has been the President of the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) and a winner of its Distinguished Scholar Award. He is currently the Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Theatre Arts.