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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Playhouse Presents Sunday Symposium on Immigration

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On stage:Tally Sessions and Dale Hensley in Westport Country Playhouse’s musical production of “The Immigrant.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) T. Charles Erickson/WCP Photo
“Immigration Past to Present,” a Sunday symposium, will be presented by the Westport Country Playhouse in conjunction with the musical, “The Immigrant,” on Sunday at approximately 5:45 p.m.

The symposium will follow the 3 p.m. performance, and precede the 7:30 p.m. performance, of the heartwarming tale of a Russian Jewish immigrant to the United States in 1909.

Guest speakers will be Ellen Schiff, preeminent expert dramaturg and scholar on Jewish dramatic literature, Nora Rubel, professor, department of religious studies at Connecticut College, and Rabbi Robert L. Tobin of the Conservative Synagogue in Westport.

Schiff will provide the audience with insights on the historical and dramatic context of the story. Rubel will place the work in its historical context with regard to Jewish immigration.Tobin will consider contemporary Jewish identity in Westport as a parallel to the themes in the play.

Schiff has been writing about the depiction of Jews and Jewish life on the stage since the 1982 publication of the now classic, “From Stereotype to Metaphor: The Jew in Contemporary Drama.”

Her scholarship has taken her from French playwrights of the Holocaust to the plays of Neil Simon.

Over the past decade, she has edited and written introductions for three collections of classic and modern American Jewish plays.

Having become something of a serial anthologist, she is most recently the co-editor with Michael Posnick of the forthcoming “Nine Contemporary Jewish Plays,” a collection of works that have won new play commissions in Jewish theatre from the National Foundation of Jewish Culture and been further developed into full productions.

She holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Massachusetts and is retired from a long career in higher education.

An advisor to the Jewish Theatre of Austria and the Global Theatre Initiative of Israel, she is a veteran member of the Association for Jewish Theatre and the Association for Jewish Studies.

Rubel holds a Ph.D. in American religions from the graduate school of arts and sciences, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and an M.A. in American religions. She also earned an M.A. in religion and culture from the division of religious and theological studies, Boston University.

She has a B.A., double major in religion and American studies from Douglass College, Rutgers University.

She is a member of the American Academy of Religion, Association for Jewish Studies and Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. She received the Wabash Center Fellowship awarded by the University of North Carolina department of religious studies, American Studies Prize awarded by Rutgers University, Anna I. Morgan Fund Scholarship for Religious Studies and the Dickerson Deserving Student Fund for Religious Studies.

She is the author of many publications, articles and book reviews on Judaism, and is a member of American Academy of Religion, Association for Jewish Studies and Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Tobin was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1999. He holds an M.A. in religion from Syracuse University, an MHL from the University of Judaism, and an M.A. in Judaic studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

He Tobin earned his bachelor’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University, with a concentration in the humanities in international affairs.

The Playhouse Sunday Symposium program, free and open to the public, provides the audience with guest speakers’ in-depth insights and observations about the production followed by an interactive dialogue.

In addition to the Symposium, a Thursday TalkBack is scheduled on Thursday, Nov. 3, when members of the company will engage in a lively discussion and question and answer with the audience after the show. There is no additional charge for the Sunday Symposium and TalkBack events.

The Sunday Symposium series at the not-for-profit Playhouse will continue throughout the year as the theatre presents productions from autumn through spring, in addition to the traditional summer season.

Tickets for the Sunday performances are $45 to $65 each. There is no additional charge for the Symposium. Students and educators are eligible for 50 percent discounts.Groups of 10 or more save up to 30 percent off the regular ticket price.

For group sales information call Beth Huisking, group sales associate, at (203) 227-5137, x120. For ticket information, call (203) 227-4177, purchase online at http://www.westportplayhouse.org, or visit the box office.

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Posted 10/29/05 at 03:08 AM  Permalink



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