The Thaumaturgy Department

(It's dramaturgy, not thaumaturgy.)

Gavin
CENTERSTAGE
Baltimore
Maryland
USA

thaumaturg
Main Entry: thau·ma·turg
Pronunciation: \ˈthȯ-mə-ˌtərj\
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from New Latin thaumaturgus, from Greek thaumatourgos working miracles, from thaumat-, thauma miracle + ergon work — more at Theater, Work

2013-2014 Season:
Animal Crackers
Dance of the Holy Ghosts
A Civil War Christmas
Stones in His Pockets
Twelfth Night
Vanya Sonya Masha and Spike
Wild with Happy
Play Labs

The official blog of the Dramaturgy Department at Baltimore's CENTERSTAGE. For posts related to our current and upcoming shows, click the links to the right. Alternatively, you could begin at the beginning, and explore our posts in chronological order.

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thecivilwarparlor:

Soldier In Union Army Sergeant Uniform 1864

1,764 men of color served Connecticut during the Civil War between 1863 and 1867. The level of black participation in Connecticut regiments was astounding considering that the 1860 census revealed only 8,726 blacks living in the state; of them only 2,206 were men between the ages of 15 and 50 (the most likely ages for service). This meant that some 78% of eligible black men enlisted. Just over 15% of these men died as a result of the war. -
Black and white carte de visite of a black man dressed in a Union Army Sergeant uniform with sergeant stripes, long straight sword hung from belt, and left hand holding a copy of a book entitled “The Great Rebellion,” by Joel Tyler Headley. 10 cm x 7 cm. Photograph by J. Oldershaw, northeast corner of High and Asylum Streets, Hartford, Connecticut. Courtesy of the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
See more at: http://connecticuthistory.org/connecticuts-black-civil-war-regiment/#sthash.FiTqDOav.dpuf  Photo Credit WIKI

"Colored" Federal troops, and their particular experiences, form one of the central threads of Paula’s tapestry in A Civil War Christmas.

thecivilwarparlor:

Soldier In Union Army Sergeant Uniform 1864

1,764 men of color served Connecticut during the Civil War between 1863 and 1867. The level of black participation in Connecticut regiments was astounding considering that the 1860 census revealed only 8,726 blacks living in the state; of them only 2,206 were men between the ages of 15 and 50 (the most likely ages for service). This meant that some 78% of eligible black men enlisted. Just over 15% of these men died as a result of the war. -

Black and white carte de visite of a black man dressed in a Union Army Sergeant uniform with sergeant stripes, long straight sword hung from belt, and left hand holding a copy of a book entitled “The Great Rebellion,” by Joel Tyler Headley. 10 cm x 7 cm. Photograph by J. Oldershaw, northeast corner of High and Asylum Streets, Hartford, Connecticut. Courtesy of the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

See more at: http://connecticuthistory.org/connecticuts-black-civil-war-regiment/#sthash.FiTqDOav.dpuf  Photo Credit WIKI

"Colored" Federal troops, and their particular experiences, form one of the central threads of Paula’s tapestry in A Civil War Christmas.



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paperispatient:

“Then you must tell ‘em dat love ain’t somethin’ lak ah grindstone dat’s de same thing everywhere and dod de same thing tuh everything it touch. Love is lak the de sea. It’s movin’ thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it meets, and it’s different with every shore.”
This quotation should be enough to convince anyone to read this beautiful book. 
Janie turns into a strong, self-assured woman through the course of the book’s extended flashback (who’s got two thumbs and is a fan of frame tale/flashbacks? this gal), but what she undergoes to get to that point is, to put it mildly, a hell of a lot. She has three husbands, only one of whom she ends up really loving, and that is the marriage that ends tragically. I won’t say what happens, what had to happen. You can read it and feel the weight of it yourself.
Zora Neale Hurston is an interesting case. Her work had become neglected after her death, only to be resurrected years later during Second Wave Feminism. It’s not hard to see why. Janie performs many roles through the course of the book, most of them related to stereotypical ideas of femininity and a woman’s place. Her first husband seems to be interested in Janie as a helping (farm)hand and someone to cook his meals. Her second husband values Janie as a trophy wife, someone to help him maintain dignity and appearances. As mayor of a new town, he has the freedom to wander while she remains stuck in his general store, doing work she detests. Her third husband is younger than her, but he doesn’t care. He loves Janie, wants what’s best for her, discusses things with her, works alongside her in the bean fields. That vision of equality cannot go unnoticed. 
Because it’s told in a flashback, the book takes on a hint of a dreamy quality, at least to me. Maybe I kept the flashback too much in mind. But Hurston knows how to describe an oncoming hurricane without a hint of dreaminess. It’s foreboding; you can feel the tension in the air, the hiss-crackle of it.  
But to return to the opening quotation. Janie says these words in eloquent defense of her third marriage, as a buffer to the townfolks that judge her for marrying her third husband. They find it unnatural that she and a younger man would marry, would even love one another. Hurston isn’t making a case for cougarism (but if she is, it’s a pretty one), only for tolerance and a relaxing of societal expectations, a call for openmindedness and for knowing the facts before passing judgment. 

paperispatient:

“Then you must tell ‘em dat love ain’t somethin’ lak ah grindstone dat’s de same thing everywhere and dod de same thing tuh everything it touch. Love is lak the de sea. It’s movin’ thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it meets, and it’s different with every shore.”

This quotation should be enough to convince anyone to read this beautiful book. 

Janie turns into a strong, self-assured woman through the course of the book’s extended flashback (who’s got two thumbs and is a fan of frame tale/flashbacks? this gal), but what she undergoes to get to that point is, to put it mildly, a hell of a lot. She has three husbands, only one of whom she ends up really loving, and that is the marriage that ends tragically. I won’t say what happens, what had to happen. You can read it and feel the weight of it yourself.

Zora Neale Hurston is an interesting case. Her work had become neglected after her death, only to be resurrected years later during Second Wave Feminism. It’s not hard to see why. Janie performs many roles through the course of the book, most of them related to stereotypical ideas of femininity and a woman’s place. Her first husband seems to be interested in Janie as a helping (farm)hand and someone to cook his meals. Her second husband values Janie as a trophy wife, someone to help him maintain dignity and appearances. As mayor of a new town, he has the freedom to wander while she remains stuck in his general store, doing work she detests. Her third husband is younger than her, but he doesn’t care. He loves Janie, wants what’s best for her, discusses things with her, works alongside her in the bean fields. That vision of equality cannot go unnoticed. 

Because it’s told in a flashback, the book takes on a hint of a dreamy quality, at least to me. Maybe I kept the flashback too much in mind. But Hurston knows how to describe an oncoming hurricane without a hint of dreaminess. It’s foreboding; you can feel the tension in the air, the hiss-crackle of it.  

But to return to the opening quotation. Janie says these words in eloquent defense of her third marriage, as a buffer to the townfolks that judge her for marrying her third husband. They find it unnatural that she and a younger man would marry, would even love one another. Hurston isn’t making a case for cougarism (but if she is, it’s a pretty one), only for tolerance and a relaxing of societal expectations, a call for openmindedness and for knowing the facts before passing judgment. 



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life:

Fifty-five years after nine courageous teens integrated Little Rock Central High School, LIFE.com presents pictures—many of which never ran in LIFE—from those heady, ugly, ultimately inspiring days.
See the photos here on LIFE.com
Pictured: Members of the Little Rock Nine during legal hearings on their attempts to enter Little Rock Central High School, September 1957.

life:

Fifty-five years after nine courageous teens integrated Little Rock Central High School, LIFE.com presents pictures—many of which never ran in LIFE—from those heady, ugly, ultimately inspiring days.

See the photos here on LIFE.com

Pictured: Members of the Little Rock Nine during legal hearings on their attempts to enter Little Rock Central High School, September 1957.


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How the British Nearly Supported the Confederacy

Book Review - A World on Fire - By Amanda Foreman - NYTimes.com

By GEOFFREY WHEATCROFT



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After the general discussion, three of us—a middle-aged black woman, an older white woman, and a Jewish man—continued to talk about our experience of race, shared history, and the handing down of tradition. Where else in this wonderfully diverse city do such conversations occur? Thanks to all at Center Stage for a most memorable evening….

In response to our current production of The Whipping Man, we got this lovely, unsolicited email from a patron. Couldn’t ask for more:

Dear Everyone!

The play, the actors, the direction, the set, lighting were ever so much better than the review led me to expect. …the subplots and subsidiary detail enhanced our experience of the intricacies of relationships under the slave system.

The follow-up discussion engaged all of us in opening up the characters and plot lines as we talked about religion, politics, and race.  I was so impressed that [the actor] stayed to hear and interact with the audience - and describe some of the directorial process. …I have to disagree on one point: We do talk about race in America - not frequently, not enough, but at Center Stage on a spring Sunday following a shared experience of artistic genius.

After the general discussion, three of us , a middle-aged black woman, an older white woman, and a Jewish man, continued to talk about our experience of race, shared history and the handing down of tradition. Where else in this wonderfully diverse city do such conversations occur? Thanks to all at Center Stage for a most memorable evening!



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Slavery’s Legacy in America: a post-performance discussion

Sunday, April 15, following the 7:30 pm performance of The Whipping Man at CENTERSTAGE:

Post-Show Discussion, The Head Theater.

Dr. Raymond A. Winbush, celebrated author and historian, will host a discussion focusing on the legacy of slavery in American: What are the historic and modern implications of slavery in our country? How does it continue to influence race relations and public policy?



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