2013 First Friday Lectures

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Every year, CTC presents a series of pre-show talks by faculty members from area colleges and universities in conjunction with its summer season. Talks take place on the first Friday of the run of each of a season’s four plays from 5-6pm at CTC’s Town Hall Auditorium, providing plenty of time to for dinner at nearby restaurants prior to Friday evening’s performance. $5 admission per person.

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Our 2013 lecture series will be led by two distinguished faculty from the Pioneer Valley:

Talya Kingston is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre at Hampshire College, where she teaches courses in dramatic literature and dramaturgy. She was Education Director at Hartford Stage following a stint as Educational Programs Coordinator at the New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco. Her production dramaturgy credits include the premiere of Eve Ensler’s Necessary Targets at Hartford Stage and the US premiere of Helmet by Douglas Maxwell at the New York Fringe Festival. She curates a monthly play reading series in Northampton. Talya holds an MFA in dramaturgy from the University of Massachusetts.

Christopher Baker is an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts and has worked as a production dramaturg Off-Broadway and at resident theatres across the country. As part of the artistic staff of Hartford Stage for fourteen years, his positions included Associate Artistic Director, Associate Producer and Senior Dramaturg. He was also the dramaturg at The Shakespeare Theatre, PlayMakers Repertory Company and the Alley Theatre. He has directed productions at the Alley Theatre, PlayMakers, and the University of North Carolina. Chris received a BS from Northwestern University and an MFA from the American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard/Moscow Art Theatre School. His books, Shakespeare in an Hour and Molière in an Hour, are published by Smith and Kraus


ARMS ON FIRE – “Plays With Music”

5:00PM, June 28 – Talya Kingston, Hampshire College

Drawing examples from American musical theater, this talk will explore the various ways that music affects relationships on stage and between the story and its audiences.


TRYST – “Power Play”

5:00PM, July 12 – Talya Kingston, Hampshire College

Playwright Harold Pinter once said that drama comes from the simple act of putting two people in a room.  This talk will examine some of the theatrical devices that are used to manipulate an audience’s sympathies as they witness the shifting power dynamics between the characters on stage.


BODY AWARENESS – “American Originals”

5:00PM, August 2 – Christopher Baker, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Examining the American psyche by dissecting the characters of a New England academic town, playwright Annie Baker questions the assumptions we make about our friends, loved ones and ourselves. In this talk we’ll discuss the ways Body Awareness is a distinctly American play, and how accepted notions of family, security, fairness and equality are slippery parts of the American Dream.


AN ILIAD – “War Stories”

5:00PM, August 16 – Christopher Baker, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

From Shakespeare’s history plays to off Broadway hits, war and its consequences have captivated audiences.  How can a 2700-year-old tale of gods and heroes reflect our current conflicts?  We’ll investigate how and why theatre artists make old stories and storytelling relevant and compelling.