Tag: Kathy Privatt

12,000 Voices: A reading of “12 Angry Men” by 12 impassioned women






“It made me realize, oh my goodness, it’s about how important each of our voices are.”

Associate Professor of Theatre Arts
Kathy Privatt

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

The voices of thousands of women will ring out from stages across the country from April 5 to 8, part of a nationwide effort to draw attention to the power of one’s voice when it comes to participating in the electoral process and speaking up for justice in the judicial system.

The 12,000 Voices project is an opportunity to push for voter registration — it’ll come on the heels of the April 2 election that has Wisconsinites voting on, among other things, a State Supreme Court justice as well as Court of Appeals and Circuit Court judges — and to remind people of the powerful responsibility that comes with being an American citizen, not the least of which is voting and jury duty.

In Appleton, the effort is being led by Lawrence University’s Kathy Privatt, the James G. Ethel M. Barber Professor of Theatre and Drama and associate professor of theater arts, and Maria Van Laanen, president of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.

Privatt will direct a reading of 12 Angry Men, featuring 12 women from the Fox Cities in the roles of the jurors, set for 3 p.m. April 6 in the Kimberly-Clark Theatre inside the Fox Cities PAC.

It will be one of many such readings taking place at performance centers, college campuses, high schools and community centers across the country during that four-day period.

12 Angry Men focuses on a single juror who stands up for a defendant he believes is about to be wrongfully convicted. The film was released in 1957, 16 years before the last of the 50 states allowed women to serve on juries. The message in these readings with all-female casts — the dream is to eventually get 12,000 women involved — is about embracing all of our responsibilities as citizens.

“It’s about how we live our lives, and in this case, how we live our political lives,” Privatt said. “But in a completely nonpartisan way. We live in a democracy. That means that jury duty is important. It means that voting is important, that that’s part of being an American.”

Kathy Privatt and Maria Van Laanen hold a 12,000 Voices sign.
Kathy Privatt (left) and Maria Van Laanen are leading the “12,000 Voices” effort in Appleton.

In the movie, which would later debut as a Broadway play in 2004, the holdout juror in a murder case raises his voice for justice against intense pressure from his jury peers.

“It made me realize, oh my goodness, it’s about how important each of our voices are,” Privatt said of the classic film. “And that that’s what democracy rests on, that we’re willing to engage with our voices, that we’re willing to be in conversation with each other.”

Van Laanen, who spearheaded local participation in the project, will be in the cast, joined by 12 other women (12 as jurors, one as the guard), all in local leadership positions:

Kimberly Barrett, vice president for diversity and inclusion and associate dean of faculty at Lawrence

Becky Bartoszek, president and CEO of the Fox Cities Chamber

Tracy Bauer, music director and teacher at Mishicot High School

Lisa Cruz, president of Red Shoes PR

Alison Fiebig, corporate communications manager of U.S. Venture

Karen Laws, longtime community leader and philanthropist

Lisa Malek, co-host and producer at WFRV-TV

Linda Morgan-Clement, the Julie Esch Hurvis Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life at Lawrence

Karen Nelson, diversity coordinator for the City of Appleton

Colleen Rortvedt, director of the Appleton Public Library

Jennifer Stephany, executive director of Appleton Downtown Inc.

Christina Turner, president of the Trout Museum of Art and the Building for the Arts.

Maria Van Laanen, president of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center

The 12 Angry Men reading with an all-female cast was first done in New York a year ago. It drew such a buzz that organizers floated the idea of stretching it across the country.

“When I heard talk in New York about this program and what it achieved when it was done a year ago, and the fact that they were going to try to make it a nationwide effort, it just really rang true to me,” Van Laanen said. “It is so important that we understand that one voice does make a difference, and we need to make sure we are finding a place where we can speak our mind and yet be open to being influenced by other people.

“And 12 Angry Men is a great example of that. You have 12 people with divergent views coming in and really working through, conversationally, how you discuss differing views, and then take that information and find a consensus.”

The League of Women Voters is partnering with the Appleton effort. Attendees will have an opportunity to register to vote or confirm their voter registration information at the April 6 event.

These are fractious political times. Advocating for participation in the process, for sharing your voice in constructive conversation, for raising your hand to participate is part of the message coming from the 12,000 Voices project.

“One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Tennessee Williams when he talks about theater being truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion,” Privatt said. “To me, that’s the heart of theater right there. Whatever it is, whether it’s a happy story or a sad story, whether it’s a rip-you-to-shreds kind of story, once we put it into the fictional, all of a sudden, it’s a little bit more palatable. And this feels like one of those moments where we can absolutely use the pleasant disguise of illusion to talk about something that is really central to who we are as a nation, and who we perhaps aspire to be.”

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

On Stage

What: 12 Angry Men, a reading performed by 12 impassioned women, part of the nationwide 12,000 Voices project

When: 3 p.m. Saturday, April 6

Where: Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, downtown Appleton

Cost: Free (RSVP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/400996640712037/ or at http://foxcitiespac.com/events-tickets/tickets/events/12,000-voices

More information on 12,000 Voices: https://12000voices.com/

Tony Award-Winning Musical “The Drowsy Chaperone” Performed at Lawrence University

Four performances of Lawrence University’s production of the Tony Award-winning musical “The Drowsy Chaperone” will be staged Oct. 25-27 in Stansbury Theatre of the Music-Drama Center.

Curtain time is 8 p.m. each night with an additional 3 p.m. matinee performance Saturday, Oct. 27. Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

A “musical within a comedy,” “The Drowsy Chaperone” parodies 1920s musicals with a show-within-a-show plot device. The show begins in the apartment of a character known only to the audience as Man in Chair, an agoraphobic Broadway fanatic who has acquired a recording of a fictional 1928 musical titled “The Drowsy Chaperone.” As he listens to the record, the musical’s characters appear in his apartment to tell the farcical story of fiancés Janet Van de Graaf, a Broadway chorus girl giving up show business for married life, and Robert Martin, an oil tycoon.

“This piece echoes the 1920s, the decade that developed our shared definition of Broadway, and through those references lets us explore our own ideas about entertainment and escape,” said Kathy Privatt, associate professor of theatre arts and the production’s director.

Associate Professor of Music Phillip Swan serves as the music director for the production, which is based on a book by Bob Martin and Don McKeller.

Among the 1920s-era musical clichés “The Drowsy Chaperone” spoofs are stock characters — a ditzy chorus girl, comic gangsters and a stiff English butler, among others — impromptu tap-dancing numbers and mistaken identities.

Freshman David Pecsi plays the Man in Chair, with juniors Madeline Bunke and Alex York portraying Janet Van de Graaf and Robert Martin. Junior Gabriella Guilfoil plays the titular character, the drowsy chaperone, an alcoholic stage diva tasked with keeping Janet away from Robert until the wedding.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,450 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

 

Emotions — Hidden and Shared — Explored in Lawrence University “Devised” Theatre Production

A collection of original, borrowed and collaboratively written scenes that explore feelings all people have, hide and sometimes share closes Lawrence University’s 2011-12 main stage theatre season with four performances May 10-12 in Cloak Theatre of the Music-Drama Center.

“Show Your Face(s): A Masque” will be staged at 8 p.m. each day, with an additional 3 p.m. matinee performance on Saturday, May 12. Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and students, are available through the Lawrence University Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Kathy Privatt, associate professor of theatre arts and James G. and Ethel M. Barber Professor of Theatre and Drama, describes the play as “as a devised theatre piece.”  The work’s designation of “A Masque” is a reference both to physical masks and the Renaissance form of entertainment that featured a collection of scenes with acting, singing and dancing.

Unlike most traditional theatrical works, “Show Your Face(s): A Masque” is not based on a pre-existing script. Instead, Privatt and the production team created a script during the rehearsal process, drawing inspiration from the set, music and sound design, costumes, movement and mask work, improvisation and texts submitted by the cast, crew, Lawrence and greater Fox Valley communities.

Mask-making activities open to the Lawrence campus over the past year also served as inspiration for the production team.

“The play has been created collaboratively by both creating materials and using materials and texts that already exist to form a whole new production,” said Privatt, who director of the production.

Inspired in Part by Suicide Prevention Training

The play is being presented in conjunction with Lawrence’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant for mental wellness and suicide prevention.  The production represents a year of research and preparation by Privatt.

“I was specifically inspired by some material in the suicide prevention training that I received through the SAMHSA grant,” said Privatt. “That training reaffirmed that, just as we’re all human, we all experience the same emotions and we all make decisions about when to hide those emotions and when to share them.

“The process has been one of the most collaborative I’ve ever experienced, with each element having strong impact on our choices,” Privatt added. “We started with a basic framework of episodes, each chosen to explore a range of related emotions.  We worked together, with mask expert Adam Pagdon, and movement experts Deb Loewen and Laura Murphy, to choose and create material for each episode. The performance showcases the pieces that we ultimately felt compelled to share.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook.

 

British Comedy “The Storm or ‘The Howler'” Performed in Lawrence University’s Cloak Theatre

British playwright Peter Oswald’s “The Storm or ‘The Howler,'” an appalling mistranslation of Plautus’ Roman comedy “The Rope,” will be performed Feb. 18-20 by the Lawrence University department of theatre arts.

Show times will be Thursday, Feb. 18 and Friday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. with two shows on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 3 and 8 p.m. in Lawrence’s Cloak Theatre. Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749. Due to suggestive content, this production may not be appropriate for anyone 16 years or younger.

While Oswald’s translation draws from the main plot of Plautus’ original comedy, he takes great liberties in retelling the story. First produced in 2005, “The Storm or ‘The Howler'” deals comically with freedom and loss and employs physical comedy, audience interaction and various anachronisms.

Kathy Privatt, associate professor of theatre arts and James G. and Ethel M. Barber Professor of Theatre and Drama, is directing the production. She says Oswald was having fun in giving his translation a double title.

“All the action of the play is set in motion by a storm and then the romp that follows will hopefully make the audience ‘howl’ with laughter,” said Privatt.

Plautus’ original comedy, written around 211 B.C., revolves around Palaestra, a young girl kidnapped by pirates at the age of three and sold into prostitution. When a storm causes a shipwreck, washing Palaestra ashore, she seeks shelter in a temple of Venus, where she is found by a slave. Comedic confrontations between slaves and masters, masters and pimps and pimps and slaves ensue.

Lawrence University Theatre Dept. Presents Wilder’s Pulitzer-Winning Play “The Skin of Our Teeth”

APPLETON, WIS. — Thornton Wilder’s 1942 Pulitzer Prize-winning play “The Skin of Our Teeth” comes to Lawrence University’s Stansbury Theatre May 14-15 at 8 p.m. and May 16 at 3 and 8 p.m.

Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

The comically anachronistic tale focuses on the trials and misadventures of the nuclear American family. With biting wit, Wilder examines the perseverance of the human race through all of life’s disasters and the lessons of history to provide answers for the future.

“Wilder’s deft juxtaposition of the familiar with the unlikely takes us on a wild romp through history and humanity,” said Kathy Privatt, associate professor of theatre arts and James G. and Ethel M. Barber Professor of Theatre and Drama, who will direct the production.

Wilder creates archetypal characters like the protective mother, the prodigal son, and the seductive maid to tell the story of the Antrobus family in this universal drama. Wilder’s loose conception of time and non-continuous plot bring the characters into extreme situations during each act.

The family travels from the dawning of the Ice Age to the moments before the Great Flood (of Noah). Written in 1942, Wilder anticipates the eventual end of World War II: the final scene takes place in the aftermath of a great world war that even included animals.

“Choosing to direct this play was giving myself permission to spend artistic energy on a favorite script,” said Privatt. “World events in the last year have made it a tremendously topical play, including its underlying message of hope.”

Seniors Eric Ohlrogge and Nora Taylor play Mr. and Mrs. Antrobus while sophomores Jeff Rudisill and Erika Thiede play the Antrobuses’ children, Henry and Gladys, respectively. Sophomore Katie Cravens portrays Sabina, the family’s maid.