Acting Together on the World Stage: Documentary Film Screening

April 12, 2011, 4 p.m., Carl J. Shapiro Theater at Shapiro Campus Center
Can the work of courageous and creative theatre artists and cultural leaders really contribute to the transformation of violent conflict?

Witness their performances.
Listen to their stories.
Share your thoughts.

Join in conversation with members of the Brandeis faculty and the Acting Together project.

Celebrate the launch of the film with the staff of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life and filmmakers Cynthia Cohen and Allison Lund. Reception follows at the Faculty Club Lounge.

Dr. Cynthia Cohen is director of the program in Peacebuilding and the Arts at Brandeis CohenUniversity's International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life. She is an internationally recognized educator, peacebuilding practitioner and researcher who focuses on the contributions of the arts to conflict transformation.

Currently, Dr. Cohen is the principal investigator for the Acting Together project, a five year inquiry with theatre artists and leaders of ritual working in conflict regions around the world, undertaken in collaboration with Theatre Without Borders. The project is producing a two-volume anthology, to be published by New Village Press in 2011, a documentary, and a toolkit.

Allison Lund, video director and editor, combines her background in human services and Lundexperience in video and film to promote action for social change through her company, Progressive Pictures. In 1994 she received a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to develop a youth media literacy curriculum and produce a documentary on tobacco education. In 1996, with a grant from the Federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Lund worked with at-risk teens to produce a series of public service announcements that were broadcast throughout the Northeast and won honors at the National Alliance for Community Media Awards.

As a producer, Lund has had several films selected for national and international film festivals. Her 1996 documentary "Moving On," about women’s body image and self-esteem issues, won the top experimental award at the San Diego Film Festival and the National Community Access Awards. "Stonewalk," broadcast by WGBH in 2002, chronicled a grassroots effort to raise awareness of civilian deaths in war. It won the Alan Fortunoff Humanitarian Award at the Long Island International Film Festival. "Down on Me," 2007, explored the disastrous effects of advertising unrealistic beauty standards to girls.

Documentary Film Discussion Panelists:

Scott Edmiston
is Director of the Brandeis Office of the Arts which he edmistonfounded in 2003 following more than 25 years of experience in arts organizations and universities throughout the Northeast. Previously, he was Artistic Associate at the Huntington Theatre Company and chaired the MFA Directing Program in the School of Theatre Arts at Boston University. An award-winning theater director, Scott has directed more than 50 productions in the New England area at the American Repertory Theatre, SpeakEasy Stage Company, and Lyric Stage Company among many others.

He received the Elliot Norton Award as Outstanding Director for "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "The History Boys," "The Light in the Piazza," "Five by Tenn," and "Molly Sweeney." His productions of "A Marvelous Party, ""Five by Tenn," "Betrayal" and "Miss Witherspoon" were also honored as Outstanding Productions.  He was honored with 2005 Boston Theater Hero Award for his "leadership and inspiration" to the region’s theaters and artists.

Gannit Ankori
joined Brandeis University this fall as professor of art ankorihistory and theory and chair in Israeli art at the Department of Fine Arts and the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. Before coming to Brandeis, she served as the Henya Sharef Professor of Humanities and chair of the Department of Art History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She also held appointments as visiting scholar and associate professor at Harvard University and at Tufts University/School of the Museum of Fine Arts.

Gannit has published two books and numerous articles on Frida Kahlo, including Imaging Her Selves: Frida Kahlo’s Poetics of Identity and Fragmentation, 2002 and a major catalogue essay for the Kahlo retrospective at Tate Modern, London in 2005. She also curated the exhibition “Frida Kahlo’s Intimate Family Picture” at the Jewish Museum in New York. She has published and lectured extensively on Israeli and Palestinian art and on the visual representation of gender-related issues, the construction of identity, exile, trauma, the immigrant experience and hybridity. Her book Palestinian Art (Reaktion Books, 2006) won a "Polonsky Prize for Originality and Creativity in the Humanistic Disciplines"  (2007).

Since the late 1980s, Gannit has been actively involved in numerous joint Palestinian-Israeli projects: She co-curated exhibitions of Israeli and Palestinian art; initiated and organized ‘Mobile Seminars' in which Palestinian and Israeli artists traveled together to Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron, Gaza, Nablus, the Galilee, Tel Aviv and other sites; and took part in various dialogue groups and committees devoted to the promotion of peace, understanding, and cooperation through the arts.

Erik Ehn’s body of work includes The Saint Plays, No Time EhnLike the Present, Wolf at the Door, Tailings, Beginner, Ideas of Good and Evil, and an adaptation of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. He is currently working on completing a series of 15 plays – Soulographie - on the history of the US in the 20th Century from the point of view of its genocides, intended for production in NY in April 2012 (scripts include Maria Kizito, Heavenly Shades of Night are Falling, Yermedea, Drunk Still Drinking). His works have been produced in San Francisco (Intersection, Thick Description, Yugen), Seattle (Annex, Empty Space), Austin (Frontera), New York (BACA, Whitney Museum), San Diego (Sledgehammer), Chicago (Red Moon), Atlanta (7 Stages), Los Angeles (Cal Rep, Museum of Jurassic Technology), Belgrade (Dah); elsewhere.

He has taught at the U of Iowa, Naropa, UC San Diego, UT Dallas, and Cal Arts (graduate); U San Francisco, SF State, Santa Clara, and Skidmore (undergrad); he just completed a writing workshop with the Belarus Free Theater in Minsk. He conducts annual trips to Rwanda/Uganda, taking students and professionals in the field to study the history of these countries, and to explore the ways art is participating in recovery from violence. He produces the Arts in the One World conference yearly, which engages themes of art and social change. Artistic Associate, Theatre of Yugen. Graduate of New Dramatists. Former Dean of the CalArts School of Theater. Current Director of Writing for Performance, Brown University.

Roberto Gutiérrez Varea began his career in theater in his vareanative city of Córdoba, Argentina. His research and creative work focuses on live performance and means of resistence and peacebuilding, in the context of social conflict and state violence.

Varea is the founding artistic director of Soapstone Theatre Company, a collective of male ex-offenders and women survivor of violent crime; El Teatro Jornalero!, a performance company that brings the voice of Latin America immigrant workers to the stage, and founding member of the San Francisco-based performance collective Secos & Mojados. He is an Associate Editor of Peace Review, an international journal on peace and justice studies, and an Associate Professor and Chair of the University of San Francisco's Performing Arts and Social Justice Program.

Dr. Thomas A. King (Ph.D. Northwestern University) is Associate kingProfessor of Restoration and eighteenth-century British literature, performance studies, and queer studies at Brandeis University and author of The Gendering of Men 1660-1750, vol. 1: The English Phallus (University of Wisconsin Press, 2004) and The Gendering of Men 1660-1750, vol. 2: Queer Articulations (University of Wisconsin Press, 2007). 

He has published essays in Assaph: Studies in the Theatre; The Image of Manhood in Early Modern Literature: Viewing the Male; Monstrous Dreams of Reason: Writing the Body, Self, and Other in the Enlightenment; The Politics and Poetics of Camp; Presenting Gender: Changing Sex in Early Modern Culture; SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900; Strategic Sex; Queer People: Negotiations and Expressions of Homosexuality 1600-1800; Queen: A Journal of Rhetoric of Power; TDR (The Drama Review); and other journals.  He is currently working on The Subject at the End of the Voice, an investigation of early modern subjectivity as an aural effect.

Adrianne Krstansky is a professional actress and director who krstanskyrecently appeared at New Repertory Theater in Afterlife as well as playing  Lisa in 2.5 Minute Ride, Agnetha in Frozen and directed Thom Pain (based on  nothing). Recent work includes Body Awareness, Shakebit  Speakeasy Stage Company, Paradise Lost, Britannicus and Ubu Rock American Repertory Theater, Othello Commonwealth Shakespeare, November Lyric Stage Company, Gary Boston Playwrights Theater, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea Vineyard Playhouse, Closer at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Bug at Boston Theater Works. 

Off-Broadway: 365days/365 plays Public Theater and Luck Pluck and Virtue The Atlantic Theater Company.  Regional credits include Clockwork Orange and Twelfth Night at Steppenwolf Theater Company and performances at LaJolla Playhouse, Actors Theater of Louisville and Telluride Repertory Theater among others.  Film credits include the role of Carol in The Company Men directed by John Wells.

Krstansky is an Assistant Professor of Theater Arts at Brandeis University where she teaches in the undergraduate and MFA Professional Training Program for Actors.  She teaches Acting, Improvisation, Collaborative Process and Suzuki.  She is the winner of the Brandeis University Michael Walzer Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

Polly O. Walker is director of several Australian organizations:walker Partners in Peacebuilding, a private consultancy, The Peace and Conflict Studies Institute Australia, and Praxis Community Co-op in Brisbane. She is co-editor of Acting Together on the World Stage: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict. Polly lectures in intercultural conflict resolution at James Cook University and the University of Queensland.

Previously awarded the University of Queensland Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for Women, she conducted research on the role of memorial ceremonies in transforming conflict involving Indigenous and settler peoples in the United States and Australia. She has published articles in a wide range of international journals, and contributed chapters to several texts on conflict transformation.

She is Vice-Chair of the Indigenous Education Institute, a research and practice institute created for the preservation and contemporary application of Indigenous traditional knowledge. Walker is of Cherokee and settler descent and grew up in the traditional lands of the Mescalero Apache.