Thursday, August 27, 2009

Albee's 'Zoo Story' Staged at Washington College

View photos from the dress rehearsal of "Zoo Story"

CHESTERTOWN – September 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of a classic work of the modern American theater – Edward Albee’s “Zoo Story.” It was the first hit play by one of America’s great playwrights, and in honor of its semicentennial, the Washington College Department of Drama will present “Zoo Story” as the inaugural production in the newly renovated and expanded Gibson Center for the Arts.

Directed by Dale Daigle, Chair of the Drama Department, “Zoo Story” will be staged at Tawes Theatre in Gibson on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, September 1-3, at 6 p.m.

The Washington College production of “Zoo Story” features students Corey Holland and Benjamin Alejandro Seger Sol de Seingalt. The stage manager is Emily Pelland, with sound supervised by Ed Hoegg.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Washington College Concert Series Moves To New Gibson Center For The Arts

Brentano String Quartet Part Of Gala Opening Weekend

Chestertown – The 58th season of the Washington College Concert Series is moving to a new venue: the renovated and expanded Gibson Center for the Arts.

The Concert Series opener, a performance by the internationally acclaimed Brentano String Quartet, will be presented in the Hotchkiss Recital Hall at Gibson on Sunday, October 4, at 3 p.m., as part of the arts center’s gala opening weekend festivities.

Since its inception in 1992, the Brentano String Quartet has appeared throughout the world to popular and critical acclaim.

“Passionate, uninhibited and spellbinding,” raves the London Independent; the New York Times extols its “luxuriously warm sound [and] yearning lyricism.” The Philadelphia Inquirer praises its “seemingly infallible instincts for finding the center of gravity in every phrase and musical gesture,” and the Times of London opines, “the Brentanos are a magnificent string quartet... This was wonderful, selfless music-making.”

Within a few years of its formation, the quartet garnered the first Cleveland Quartet Award and the Naumburg Chamber Music Award. In 1996 the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center invited the group to be the inaugural members of Chamber Music Society Two, a program which was to become a coveted distinction for chamber groups and individuals.

The quartet had its first European tour in 1997, and was honored in the U.K. with the Royal Philharmonic Award for Most Outstanding Debut. That debut recital was at London’s Wigmore Hall, and the quartet has continued its warm relationship with Wigmore, appearing there regularly and serving as the hall’s Quartet-in-residence in the 2000-01 season.

In recent seasons the Brentano String Quartet has traveled widely, appearing all over the United States and Canada, in Europe, Japan and Australia.

It has performed in the world’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York; the Library of Congress in Washington; the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; the Konzerthaus in Vienna; Suntory Hall in Tokyo; and the Sydney Opera House.

The 2009-2010 Washington College Concert Series will continue with performances by lutist Richard Stone in the Hotchkiss Recital Hall on November 1, the Gemini Piano Trio in Gibson’s grand new Decker Theatre on January 23, and, also in Decker, the Lyric Brass Quintet on February 27 and pianist Inna Faliks on March 28.

Season tickets are available for $50 per person in advance or at the box office on performance nights. Single admission tickets, available at the box office on performance nights, are $15 for adults, $5 for youth 18 and under. For more information, call 410/778-7839.

'Demystifying The Academic Game' At Washington College

CHESTERTOWN – Gerald Graff, one of America’s most influential commentators on education, will present  “Demystifying the Academic Game: How Schools and Colleges Can Demystify Academic Intellectual Culture for All Students,” at Washington College’s Litrenta Lecture Hall on Friday, September 4, at 3:30 p.m.

Co-presenting the lecture will be Dr. Graff’s wife, the noted author/educator Cathy Birkenstein-Graff.

Prior to the public lecture at 3:30, the pair will present “The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing,” a student workshop and discussion in the College’s Writing Center at 10:30 a.m.; and “They Say/I Say,” a faculty workshop in the Rose O’Neill Literary House from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Professor of English and Education at the University of Chicago, Gerald Graff has gained renown not only as a historian and theorist, but also through his impact on the classroom practice of teachers.  His 1987 book Professing Literature: An Institutional History is widely regarded as a definitive work.

Graff coined the term “teach the controversy” in his college courses in the 1980s and later set the idea in print in his 1993 book Beyond The Culture Wars: How Teaching the Conflicts Can Revitalize American Education. Graff’s thesis was that college instructors should teach the conflicts around academic issues so that students may understand how knowledge becomes established and eventually accepted.

Since the publication of Clueless in Academe in 2003, Graff’s work has focused particularly on “How Schooling Obscures the Life of the Mind” (the book’s subtitle), and how schools and colleges can demystify academic intellectual culture for all students, not just the high-achieving few.

This book helped inspire a basic writing textbook, “They Say/I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing (2006), co-written by Graff and Cathy Birkenstein-Graff. The book has set records for sales in colleges and high schools.

The Graffs have given lectures and workshops at many schools and colleges, and Graff’s work has been the topic of three special sessions at Modern Language Association (MLA) conferences.  In 2008, Graff was elected President of the MLA.

Sponsored by the Sophie Kerr Committee and the Dean of the College, “Demystifying the Academic Game” will be followed by a reception (presented by Phi Beta Kappa) in the McLain Atrium at 4:30 p.m. Litrenta Lecture Hall and the McLain Atrium are located in the John S. Toll Science Center. Admission is free and  open to the public.