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An Evening with Emily Mann, USA

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May 15, 2006
May 15, 2006
Segal Theater

Curated by Carol Martin, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

This series of evenings features leading artists working in the form best known in the US as documentary theatre. Currently, there is worldwide participation in this form of theatre, a participation that has begun to etch a global consciousness about social justice, political and personal history, the moral authority of legal truth, and the relationship of the real to the represented.

Documentary theatre represents a struggle to shape and remember the most transitory history and the complex ways in which men and women think about the events that shape the political landscapes of their lives. This struggle over the future of the past etches the urgency of the genre. Documentary theatre is the result of acts of assemblage. History is reconstructed from the shards of the past, even the past of yesterday. Interviews, documents, print, video, simulation of specific personages, and virtual media are manipulated to form events into stories told with various types of theatrical reason. As reconstructions, documentary theatre contains enough bits and pieces of information to create accounts of what happened.

Collectively, the work of global documentary theatre practitioners proposes that theatre is able to influence public consciousness about our present in order to consciously create our future.

Dr. Carol Martin is an associate professor of drama at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University who writes on contemporary American and Japanese performance, and globalization. Her guest edited issue of TDR will appear in the summer of 2006.




Emily Mann
Photo © Joan Marcus

An Evening with Emily Mann, USA

Emily Mann is a preeminent American documentary playwright. Her documentary plays are created from extensive interviews, documents, and newspaper accounts. Among these plays are Still Life, about the Viet Nam War’s impact on domestic lives in the United States; Execution of Justice, which reexamines the 1978 murder of Harvey Milk, the first openly San Francisco gay council member; and Greensboro: A Requiem, a reinvestigation of the 1979 murder of anti-Ku Klux Klan demonstrators in North Carolina. A theme common to all Mann’s plays is the way in which communities have their own unwritten system of ethics by which they live. All of her documentary plays have been devoted to the cause of social justice. The Holocaust, violence, racism, and homophobia have all been her subjects.

Emily Mann, Artistic Director of McCarter Theatre, wrote and directed Having Our Say (adapted from the book by Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth), which played on Broadway and was nominated for three Tony Awards, an Outer Critics, and a Drama Desk award. Ms Mann’s teleplay for Having Our Say aired on CBS and received a Peabody Award, a Christopher Award, and a nomination for outstanding achievement in television and radio by the Writers Guild of America. Ms Mann’s Meshugah, adapted from the story by Isaac Bashevis Singer, was produced off-Broadway. Her play, Greensboro (A Requiem), premiered at McCarter in 1997. Other McCarter directing credits include: Miss Witherspoon, The Bells, Last of the Boys, Getting Home, Anna in The Tropics, Uncle Vanya (adaptation), The Tempest, All Over (Obie Award), Romeo and Juliet, BecauseHeCan, The Cherry Orchard (adaptation), Fool For Love, Safe as Houses, The House of Bernarda Alba (adaptation), Betrayal, The Mai, A Doll House, The Perfectionist, Miss Julie ( adaptation), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Three Sisters, Betsey Brown (co-author), The Glass Menagerie, The Matchmaker, and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992. Her first play, Annulla, An Autobiography, premiered at The Guthrie Theater and was produced at The New Theatre of Brooklyn. She directed her play, Still Life, Off-Broadway in 1981 and won six OBIE Awards. Ms Mann’s awards include the
Hull-Warriner Award, several OBIE Awards, Edward Albee Last Frontier Directing Award, a Bay Area Theatre Critics Award, a Playwriting Award from the Women’s Committee of the Dramatists Guild, a Burns Mantle Yearbook Best Play Citation, and a Drama Desk nomination. Ms Mann is a member of the Dramatists Guild and serves on its Council. TCG published a collection of her plays, entitled Testimonies: Four Plays.

6:30 p.m., Monday, May 15, 2005, Martin E. Segal Theatre

Res.Code. 6787. Free