Upcoming events at Monmouth College, Nov. 15-18
College to stage production of 'Almost, Maine"; comedy special 'Nanette' to be screened; Associates talk to feature College's STEM initiative
Monmouth, IL (11/09/2018) —
Monmouth College students are directing Nov. 15-18 production of 'Almost, Maine'
"One of the toughest things there is to deal with in life: love."
The introductory notes to playwright John Cariani's Almost, Maine reminds us that love is difficult. The College's Department of Theatre will stage the romantic comedy Nov. 15-18 at the Fusion Theatre in downtown Monmouth.
Another take on Cariani's theme might be that directing a play is tough, but it's a worthwhile undertaking. Five Monmouth students are handling the directing duties as part of the College's "Principles of Directing" class, taught by theatre professor Vanessa Campagna.
"At Monmouth, we believe wholeheartedly in embodied knowledge," said Campagna. "That means taking what you learn from reading texts, from studying in the classroom and then putting what you know into a real-life application."
Campagna said that it doesn't get more "real-life" than staging a production for the public.
"The students need the opportunity to see their work, sitting in a house among paying audience members," she said. "That's a terrifying feeling sometimes, but to have the opportunity to see how your work holds up in front of an audience is really important."
The five student directors are Richard Eyre '21 of Mount Prospect, Ill., Amanda Green '20 of Henderson, Nev., Terry Harris '20 of Chicago, Miles Rose '19 of Princeton, Ill., and Billy Savage '19 of Hickory Hills, Ill.
Savage, who also will act in the production, said there was "palpable excitement" when it was announced that Almost, Maine would be part of the 2018-19 season.
"From the people I've talked to, a lot of them have done the show before," said Savage, who is directing for the first time. "They've done it in high school, they've actually helped direct it with little kids. When they heard it was going to be done again, they were like, 'Yes, this is going to be great. Now I get the chance to act in this. Now I get the chance to see how it can be done in a different way.' ... I'm really hoping that my vision can get across to the people who attend the show."
Set in the remote, mythical almost-town called Almost, Maine, the romantic comedy explores themes of love and loss through nine short plays, bookended with a prologue and epilogue. Campagna clarifies, however, that the play is a romantic comedy that reveals the wonder, and even beauty, inherent in the struggle.
"It is romantic, and it is a comedy, but there are also some pretty deep moments," said Rose, who's also a first-time director. "There are some heartbreaking scenes ... (but) there's also some really happy moments. A theme throughout the play is romantic love is very hard, but it's worth it."
Said Campagna: "We all love. ... Although it is can be tremendously difficult to navigate loving relationships, there are magical moments. Cariani's play includes an evocative symbol that captures this central idea."
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Monmouth College will present "Almost, Maine" at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15-17 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 18 at the College's Fusion Theatre, 230 S. Main St., Monmouth. Tickets can be purchased online at department.monm.edu/theatre. Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and students, and $6 for students and faculty with a Monmouth College ID.
Monmouth College to screen comedy special 'Nanette' as part of ongoing film series
Next up in Monmouth College's Public Philosophy and Film Series is a comedy with a message.
The College will screen Hannah Gadsby's Netflix comedy special Nanette at 6 p.m. in the Barnes Electronic Classroom on the lower level of Hewes Library. Free and open to the public, Nanette will be introduced by Monmouth communication studies professors Josh Hawthorne and Trudi Peterson.
"It resonated deeply with me," said Peterson. "I've watched it several times, and while it is funny, I have been unable to watch it without crying."
Peterson said the Australian comedienne's work is relevant not only to communication studies, but to another of Peterson's disciplines at the College - women's studies.
"From a rhetorical perspective, Gadsby's narrative structure is masterful as she tackles difficult topics of relevance to feminism - sexual assault, harassment, sexualities, homophobia and gender identity," she said.
Hawthorne said the concepts of identity and connection that are present through the film are covered in his classes in communication studies and public relations.
"This film is an emotional ride of laughter, anger and grief that tells an important story of resilience in the face of trauma," he said. "It is a cogent and compelling argument for the humanity of diverse individuals within the context of the rampant violence that is inflicted on individuals marked as different."
Peterson said Nanette is a "powerful and timely" show.
"This is such a timely performance that powerfully illustrates the patriarchal damage inflicted on women, particularly gender-nonconforming women," she said. "While Gadsby presents contemporary issues like the #metoo movement, male impunity, homophobia and gender identity through humor, she deliberately elucidates the limitations of humor in telling personal narratives. It's a powerful piece on the redemptive function of personal narrative that is relevant to most oppressed people struggling to assert their personal truths in a culture so deeply saturated in institutional forms of oppression."
Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies Ermine Algaier organized the Public Philosophy and Film Series, which began last spring.
"This series provides an informal, multidisciplinary platform for raising awareness of pressing contemporary public issues," said Algaier. "Both educational and entertaining, the series aims to provide the campus and Monmouth community with an informal space that intellectually challenges the broader community, while also creating a safe space to confront culturally diverse topics and ideas."
November meeting of Monmouth Associates to highlight College's STEM initiative
Monmouth College has launched a major academic initiative to further position its students to be competitive in careers related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
At the next Monmouth Associates program on Nov. 15, three Monmouth faculty members will speak about the STEM programs in data science, engineering and neuroscience that the College will be adding next fall. Chris Fasano, Logan Mayfield and Laura Moore will speak at noon in the Whiteman-McMillan Highlander Room of Stockdale Center.
The engineering program is based on three cores: science, engineering and renaissance thinking. Data science will equip students with a background in statistics, machine learning, programming, algorithms, data analysis and data visualization. Neuroscience encompasses disciplines ranging from physics to philosophy. The program's courses will appeal to students interested in exploring health, societal and legal influences of neuroscientific research.
Monmouth's three new academic programs will be housed in the College's Center for Science and Business. The building's exceptional laboratory and research spaces make it an ideal location.
The cost for a buffet lunch is $10 ($9 for Monmouth faculty and staff). Reservations can be made by calling 309-457-2231 by Nov. 13 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A free shuttle van transports passengers from two locations to every Associates luncheon. The van stops at the northeast quadrant of the Public Square at 11:45 a.m. and at the Faith United Presbyterian Church parking lot at around 11:50 a.m. It returns to both locations immediately following the program.
Shuttle reservations can be made also by calling 309-457-2231.
Parking is available along North Ninth Street and in the parking lot near the Stockdale Center.