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ATHENews - Volume 27, Number 6 - July 15, 2013 - PLAYtime is Finally Here!
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PLAYtime is Finally Here!

by Chase Bringardner, Vice President for Conference 2013

Well, it’s hard to believe, but after nearly two years of planning, the Orlando conference is just a few weeks ahead. I and the entire committee are thrilled to welcome you to (hopefully) sunny Orlando for a few days of wondrous work and productive play. I hope that as you are looking through the posted online conference program book, that you will consider adding a few special events to your schedules.

I strongly encourage everyone to attend one of the PLAYnaries all occurring on Friday morning at 10:15. Rather than focusing our energies on one plenary, the committee curated and created a series of three panels on a variety of topics, allowing conference attendees to chose one or perhaps even hop to two or all three.

  • PLAYnary #1: Teatro en la Florída: Diaspora, History, and Performance (curated by the Latina/o Focus Group and moderated by Dr. Jorge Huerta) offers histories of Latina/o theater in Florida that broaden the genealogies of performances in the United States. Presenters (including Lisa Jackson-Schebetta, Tiffany Ana López, Eric Mayer-García, and Beatriz Rizk) will examine a variety of topics: Cuban teatro vernáculo troupes that toured throughout Florida in the 1920’s, the pre-World War II theater scene in Tampa and Ybor City, which included the only Spanish-speaking unit of the Federal Theatre Project, a dramaturgical reconsideration of Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Anna in the Tropics, and a discussion of the newly created Cuban Theater Digital Archive at the University of Miami.
  • PLAYnary #2: The Pedagogy Long Table brings together the incoming and outgoing editors of Theatre Topics (Jim Peck and D. J. Hopkins) and invites you to pull up a chair and join a long table discussion about the most pressing pedagogical issues facing today’s theatre educators. The moderators will coordinate an open discussion at a table seating twelve people. Audience members will come and go from the table, contributing to the discussion and then making room for others. The conversation will be moderated, but not directed; improvisational, but also focused.
  • PLAYnary #3: Paying and Playing: Tourism, Performance, and Economies of Pleasure presents a roundtable of scholars (including Susan Bennett, Ken Cerniglia, Ric Knowles, Scott Magelssen, Sandra Richards) moderated by Harvey Young who bring a variety of perspectives to engage with the multiple facets of performance, economics, and pleasure within the cultural industry of tourism, writ large. Starting from the idea that tourism is defined both as travel for pleasure and the business that caters to travel for pleasure, this PLAYnary will investigate the many ways in which we encounter the aesthetics, economics, and social meanings involved in tourism in our scholarship, performance practices, and conference locale.

I also hope you will take advantage of our screenings and performances. In addition to Bill Irwin’s keynote address on Thursday evening, I hope you will attend the free screening of Showing Up, a documentary directed and produced by Riad Galayini and James Morrison. Showing Up, A Conversation about the Audition, “offers a thoughtful and revealing narrative compiled from more than 50 interviews with notable artists including: Kristin Chenoweth, Richard Griffiths, Zoe Kazan, Nathan Lane, Chris Messina, Sam Rockwell, Bill Irwin and Eli Wallach.” Morrison will be in attendance to introduce the film and hold a Q&A following the screening.

Plan also to attend PearlDamour’s sharing of selections from their new work Milton (performed by your fellow conference attendees) and discussion of their past collaborations Friday at 10 p.m. The event is free of charge and sure to be an amazing evening with two incredibly generous, generative performers.

I also hope you will make time to attend Mickee Faust Company’s Faust’s Free For All on Saturday night at 10 p.m. Faust’s Free for All will feature the raucous and wily kind of performance which has since become Faust’s hallmark -- a mix of political and socio-sexual satire,Shakes-parodies, raunchy disability skits, LGBT vaudeville, original and adapted songs, with some fully staged bad jokes thrown in for good measure. The backdrop to Faust’s Free For All will be Miami artist’s Billie Grace Lynn’s Dead Mouse, a thirty foot inflatable sculpture of a dying you-know-who (what a great photo opportunity!). Tickets are still available and can be purchased for $10 at the conference registration desk. There will be a cash bar!

I am so proud of the work the committee has done in compiling a jam-packed, exciting conference experience for all who attend. I hope to see you all in Orlando. Please let me or the committee know if there is any way we can make your experience better. Safe travels!

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