In the Media

  • Powwow held on Campus Sept.7

    Adrienne Smoke. Photo By: DK Martin

    Adrienne Smoke. Photo By: DK Martin

    (Source: The Brock NewsMonday, August 27, 2012 | by )

    Students, staff and Niagara residents were invited to start their school year off to the beat of a different drum.

    The Student Justice Centre hosted a powwow on Friday, Sept. 7 in Jubilee Court to celebrate the fall harvest in partnership with the Tecumseh Centre for Aboriginal Research and EducationAboriginal Student Services and Brock University Students’ Union.

    The event featured inter-tribal drumming and dance demonstrations, and opportunities for audience members to participate in traditional dancing.

    “It’s a gathering to celebrate life and be thankful as well as to hang out with old friends and make new ones,” said Adrienne Smoke, a third-year drama student, who came up with the idea for the event. “Powwows are about sharing our culture to help educate people about the current native people not the ancient ones we read about in old outdated textbooks.”

    This free event also featured a barbecue, vegetarian options and samples of traditional food, such as three sisters soup, corn bread and strawberry juice. The Brock farmers market was also held during the powwow.

    Doors opened at 10 a.m. with the grand entry happening at noon. Closing ceremonies were at 3:30 p.m.

    For more information or to participate as a dancer, drummer or vendor, email the Student Justice Centre, visit them online or call 905-688-5550, ext. 6325.

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    Categories: Current Students, In the Media, News

  • Incoming DART professor reports about the Eurovision Contest from Baku, Azerbaijan

    karenfrickerA spotlight is shining on Azerbaijan this May as it hosts Eurovision, the annual European song contest known for its outlandish performances, and viewed on TV by more than 100 million people. But it’s not all glitz this year. While Azerbaijan attempts to show off its strength to the world, it’s also come under scrutiny by activist groups for its unsavoury human rights record, and its crackdown on anti-government protestors and journalists leading up to the contest.

    Karen Fricker is co-founder of the Eurovision and ‘New’ Europe academic research network who is covering the contest for the Irish Times. She recently reported on what these negative reports mean for the Eurovision Contest and Azerbaijan for the program Q hosted by Jian Ghomeshi on CBC Radio. She is a lecturer in contemporary theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London and deputy London theatre critic for Variety.  You can read more about her research activities in her profile at Royal Holloway. We are delighted that she will be joining her new colleagues at the Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock University in January 2013.

    You can listen to the report here or here. (22:44)

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News

  • Dramatic Arts performance of Phèdre examines passion, politics and jealousy

    (Source: The Brock News, Monday, February 14, 2011)

    Suppressed desire and ancient power struggles collide in this week’s production of Phèdre at Brock.

    Phèdre, written by Jean Racine, will be presented by the Department of Dramatic Arts at the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre. Phèdre – translated into English by British poet Ted Hughes – mixes poetry, political intrigue and sexual jealousy.

    The play contains a principal love triangle of Phèdre, her husband Theseus and his son Hippolytus. Phèdre has a forbidden passion for her stepson that unleashes a wave of tragic consequences.

    The roles are played by Dramatic Arts undergraduate students, including Kasey Dunn, Michael Pearson, Eric Frank, Emma Bulpin, Lauren Beaton, Josh Davidson, Kedie McIntyre, and Madison Roca. The play is directed by Virginia Reh and designed by David Vivian, both Dramatic Arts faculty members.

    The myths around Theseus, Phaedra and Hippolytus have fascinated playwrights for ages, Reh said.

    “Racine’s masterpiece distils the best of his major sources, particularly Euripides’ Hippolytus,” she said. “From Euripides he borrows the fundamentally principled Phaedra, an essentially moral woman who is tormented by a forbidden passion and chooses to die rather than surrender to it. The tragedy is at once epic and domestic.“

    Performances:

    • Thursday, Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m.
    • Friday, Feb. 18, 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m.

    Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. To order, call 905-688-5550 x3257 or email boxoffice@brocku.ca

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    Categories: In the Media, News

  • Professor studies dark tourism

    (Source: The Brock News. Thursday, September 9, 2010)

    Imagine a tourism experience where you pay to spend hours pretending to illegally cross the American border from Mexico.

    You trudge through muddy fields under the blare of gunfire. You run exhausted through sewer tunnels. You are placed, scared and blindfolded, in the back of a truck, only to end up where you started — at a restaurant, gift shop and main office, and people telling you to enjoy your stay.

    This is the new trend in post-9/11 dark tourism, a term that describes the act of visiting the sites of tragedies as a tourist. This experience is called immersive simulation, and Natalie Alvarez, assistant professor of Dramatic Arts, is writing a book about it.

    Alvarez has received $23,449 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for her research project, “Enactments of difference: immersive simulations and performance from training to dark tourism.” Alvarez will study two types of immersive simulation: that experienced by tourists, and that experienced by soldiers who train in increasingly popular model villages to prepare them for overseas interaction with foreign cultures. Included in that is investigating how performance techniques are used in counterterrorism and intelligence training.

    One dark tourism experience Alvarez will study is that of El Alberto, Mexico, where the community has been depleted by immigration to the U.S. Mexicans pay $20 (U.S.) each to be taken on an overnight fake U.S. border crossing. Ironically, the popularity of the adventure tourism has rejuvenated the town’s economy. Alvarez has twice experienced the tour, which she describes as frightening and surprisingly political, given that it’s billed as adventure tourism.

    “It started with a rousing speech by members of the community about how the work is an homage to those who lost their lives crossing the border,” she said. “We sang the Mexican anthem, followed by the sounds of sirens in the distance of the U.S. border patrol and shouts telling us to start running.”

    Other examples include a recreated Stalin-era Gulag prison camp in Lithuania, where people pay to spend a day as prisoners. In Liepaja, Latvia, tourists stay overnight in a naval jail.

    Alvarez will also visit simulated villages used to train soldiers for duties in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is a recreated Afghani village in Norfolk, England, and simulated Iraqi villages in California and Arizona, where actors are recruited to play insurgents and civilians.

    Demand for these simulations has skyrocketed since 9/11, she said.

    “A lot of performance scholars and performance artists talk about the border hysteria and the kind of war on difference that evolved from 9/11,” she said. “There seems to be a desire to rehearse encounters with the cultural ‘other’. I want to know what kind of anxieties are being played out in these scenarios.”

    While on the surface, immersive dark tourism and immersive military simulation seem unrelated, “there are intersecting themes that make them worth putting together in conversation,” she said.

    Alvarez will spend the next two years traveling and observing these simulations, followed by a year of writing.

    Alvarez, who is cross-appointed to Liberal Arts, joined Brock in 2006. She currently serves as a co-editor of the Canadian Theatre Review’s Views and Reviews and has two forthcoming edited books: Fronteras Vivientas, an anthology of Latina/o-Canadian plays, and New Essays on Latina/o-Canadian Theatre and Performance. Both are published by Playwrights Canada Press.

    Links:
    • Natalie Alvarez faculty page
    • Full list of Brock’s SSHRC recipients
    • Past “researcher of the month” profiles

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News

  • DART student produces “Curtains” at the Westside Theatre in Hamilton

    “Elisa Sorbara, the artistic director of Shooting Star Theatre, is a very bright and articulate young woman. She is very excited about the imminent local premiere of the musical Curtains, which opens next week at the Westside Theatre.” . . . see the article about this DART student and her exciting project in VIEW.

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    Categories: Alumni, Current Students, In the Media, News

  • DART student Unicycling for a spot on Letterman

     

    Alex Kazam on his unicycle. A still from the video available at the St. Catharines Standard web article

    (Source: The St. Catharines Standard, Wednesday, August 18, 2010 | Don Fraser)

    By riding his unicycle to New York City, Alex Kazam hopes to peddle his act on David Letterman’s show.

    Kazam – a comedy magician from St. Catharines – has always taken his cue from the TV host’s barbed comedy style.

    “Ever since I was 10, I wanted to get on The Late Show with David Letterman,” said the 18-year-old, inside St. Catharines’ Johnny Rocco’s restaurant.

    “And I’ve always wanted to meet the guy. He’s a pop culture icon and a huge inspiration.”

    Kazam is a Brock University drama student, as well as a unique entertainer at Niagara establishments like Boston Pizza and Johnny Rocco’s.

    He describes his act as, “I tell them a joke and then sneak something into my pocket.”

    The unicycle has been a passion through his teen years and helped expand his comic repertoire.

    “I was trying to come up with ways to get Letterman’s attention,” said the graduate of Ecole Secondaire Jean-Vanier in Welland.

    “Unfortunately, the best I could come up with was a unicycle ride.”

    Kazam’s assistant-friend, Chelsea Howard, is cycling alongside but on two wheels. The two left midday on Wednesday.

    “It’s new to me,” said the 17-year-old St. Francis Secondary School student before setting out. “I know I’m ready for it, but obviously there will be challenges.”

    Also along for the trip is Kazam’s beloved stuffed bear he calls Eddie the Teddy, who’ll be hitched to the magician’s back.

    “I’ve had him since I was born and I take him everywhere,” Kazam explains. “It’s all in the name of good spirit.”

    World Vision Canada also stands to benefit from the 600-km, one-wheeled sojourn.

    Kazam is raising money for the international relief and development organization on his site: www.tiny.cc/longride

    He said since he and Howard are in decent shape, no major physical preparation was needed for the pedestrian route that selected using Google Maps. However, he concedes the longest he’s unicycled before has been for 90 minutes. The ride to New York City could take six days.

    “It’s probably not a smart idea (to do this),” he conceded. “But then, I’m a little bit eccentric and crazy, so it’ll be fine.”

    As for snoozing arrangements on the trip, Kazam and Howard are counting on the goodwill of strangers. They are willing to crash almost anywhere – attics, porches, even under a truck.

    As his trip progresses, Kazam hopes media coverage will help him nail some airtime on Letterman’s long-running CBS comedy talk show.

    As for getting Letterman’s attention, “it’s people like you” who will help get it done, he said to a Standard reporter.

    “I’ve emailed (show producers) and tried to call it a stupid human trick,” he added, in reference to Letterman’s long-running gag. “I didn’t yet get any callbacks.”

    Johnny Rocco’s owner Tony Visca is wowed by Kazam’s chutzpa.

    Kazam performs at Rocco’s Niagara Falls location Friday evenings and St. Catharines on Saturdays.

    “It’s a great thing, I think it’s awesome,” Visca said. “I really hope he (raises) a lot of money and gets picked to go on Letterman.”

     

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    Categories: Alumni, Current Students, In the Media, News

  • Brides escape across Italy in Big Love

    Performers in Big Love include, from left: Sadie Isaak, Rebecca Durance-Hine, Jacqueline Costa. Photo credit: Bethany Scholl

    (Source: The Brock News. Friday, February 5, 2010)

    The age-old story of love versus power is the focus of the upcoming Brock production Big Love.

    The play tells the story of 50 brides (all sisters) who flee arranged marriages to 50 grooms (their cousins) who pursue them across Italy. A contemporary look at Aeschylus’s Greek tragedy The Suppliant Women, the play will be performed by the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on Feb. 11 to 13.

    In Big Love, three of the runaway brides seek asylum in an Italian family’s villa. Their hosts are unable to negotiate the moral predicament and allow the forced marriages, so the brides make a pact to kill their husbands on their wedding night.

    “I am drawn to the play because it has the scale of a Greek tragedy, but it is dressed in the global culture of today,” said Gyllian Raby, director and associate professor in Dramatic Arts. “(Playwright Charles) Mee invites a wild post-modern performativity, but his story is so deeply sourced in western culture that it is very accessible.”

    Karyn McCallum designed the set. The choreography is from Gemini-nominated director Allen Kaeja.

    Performers are from the Dramatic Arts undergraduate performance concentration. They include Rebecca Durance-Hine, Jacqueline Costa, Sadie Isaak, Rob MacMenamin, Corey Mehlenbacher, Trevor Ketcheson, Jen Bender, Chris Boyle, Michael Pearson, Eric Frank, Dylan Mawson and Kasey Dunn.

    Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students.

    Performances:
    Thursday, Feb. 11 – 7:30 p.m.
    Friday, Feb. 12 – 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
    Saturday, Feb. 13 – 7:30 p.m.

    To order tickets:
    Centre for the Arts box office
    905-688-5550 x3257
    boxoffice@brocku.ca

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    Categories: In the Media, News