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Thursday, April 15th, 2021

Catherine MacKay and Brooke Echnat

The Show Must Go On!

The Theatre and Dance Department periodically awards the honor of an Individual Production Project to seniors who have demonstrated advanced work and a deep commitment to an area of theatre production. This project allows students to assume a leadership role for a mainstage production under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Brooke Echnat and Catherine MacKay were awarded Individual Production Projects to serve as the Director and Dramaturg for Bliss (or Emily Post is Dead) by Jami Brandli.
Bliss follows the Ancient Greek characters Medea, Clytemnestra, Antigone, and Cassandra, now pill-popping housewives, in 1960s NJ. Cassandra, a black woman, is gifted with the art of prophecy but cursed by Apollo that no one will believe her visions. She seeks to prove these women can have control over their lives in this modern era. Can we reclaim our “fates” or are our fates predetermined by societal structures set in place?
As Director, Brooke engaged in various mediums and methodologies as she navigated directing in a pandemic. She utilized both virtual and in-person rehearsal processes. Along with the efforts of her cast, crew, and collaborators, she was able to create a piece of theatre at a time when many theaters in our country are still shutdown.
As the Dramaturg, Catherine researched many topics related to the play such as Greek Mythology and Emily Post’s Etiquette to help the production team and actors better understand the world of the play. Catherine’s research provided foundational material that informed the creative decisions of the play.

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Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

Emily Brandes

To Believe or Not to Believe: A Closer Look at the Impact of Sexual Assault in Politics

Since the viral 2017 #MeToo movement, public opinion on cases of sexual misconduct has been shaped by the mainstream media coverage of high profile stories. A shift in public attitude towards these issues has encouraged more victims to come forward and share their stories, many detailing harrowing events perpetrated by successful businessmen and politicians. Credible accusations continue to come forward, and while some end in legal action, many do not, and perpetrators face little to no consequences. I examined how individuals respond to issues of sexual misconduct and assault in politics, and based on the severity of the accusation, how they respond. Through my survey data research, I was able to isolate responses to see the influence that party affiliation and gender have on individuals opinion formation, as well as how the politicians prior conduct history affects the response. The research reflects an overall partisan difference between Republicans and Democrats in terms of reaction, with Democrats consistently being in favor of harsher consequences, both when Democratic, and Republican perpetrators are involved. Additionally, individuals respond more harshly when the accused politician is of the opposite party. This pattern was consistent across the different severity treatments, as well as the conduct history treatments. Generally, when a history of sexual misconduct was present, individuals of both parties reacted more harshly. In summation, there is significant evidence of partisan bias in the public evaluation of sexual misconduct allegations. I also discuss several prominent cases of sexual misconduct by politicians in order to demonstrate how the public has formed opinions in the wake of scandal.

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Sunday, April 11th, 2021

Ryan Bremer


The goal of BRAKHAGE’S ADJACENTS is to better understand the working methods and aesthetic decision making of the avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage (1933-2003). By focusing upon his use of montage (the complex way in which he combined shots in his non-narrative––and almost entirely silent––16mm films), we learn more about Brakhage’s editing habits as well as the messaging behind his very challenging films. This is done by viewing splice-adjacent frames on an actual film strip, showing the literal cuts that were made when the films were produced. BRAKHAGE’S ADJACENTS draws from wider histories of narrative filmic editing [notably the advanced montage ideas of Sergei Eisenstein (1898-19480] while adapting these notions to the under-realized realm of avant-garde. 

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Saturday, April 10th, 2021

Gari Eberly

Synthesis is a collection of poetry that explores how
gender relations and race amalgamate to impact
the maturation of an individual. These poems are
scientifically-aware and influenced by my concurrent
education in both Creative Writing and Biomedical
Engineering. For the past four years, I have sought
to bridge the gap between my two academic
commitments: poetry and science. Both poetry and
science exist as a means to ask and answer questions
about the messy interactions that shape personalities
and relations with the broader world. To be successful,
both tools require dedication to detail, creativity, and
exploration. On the page, poets mold language to reveal
startling truths about how we engage with the world.
In a lab, engineers leverage scientific theories to build
technological innovations. Despite these similarities,
I have noticed that interactions between poetry and
science remain faint: a missed connection at the train
station, an asymptote that never opens its mouth.
Through this collection, I instead seek to converge these
two disciplines at a single point by melding personal
experience with scientific observations, as explored
through a variety of poetic forms.

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