This Sunday, May 24th, Whitman College will graduate the seniors of this year during a virtual commencement ceremony. Like so many other facets of our college, Harper Joy Theater has also felt the distance and cold demeanor of this unfamiliar, yet necessary virtual territory. Still, Harper Joy has been able to maintain acting, dance, and design courses, host guest artists, and even carry on with end-of-the-year traditions, such as the annual Drama Banquet. Despite the red curtain coming down for now and for an indefinite amount of time at Harper Joy, the HJT community now has an opportunity to draw the opaque curtains in our own homes, to find our new footing, to let in lightーa spotlight in its own right, a bright beam brimming with possibility.
Spring Studio Series
Harper Joy was still able to sponsor a Spring Studio Series this semester, though it looked a little different. Hosted through our own Harper Joy Blog, students of Renée Archibald and Peter de Grasse were still able to engage academically with the movement-practitioners through online discussions and video documentation of their works. If you are interested in either watching the works of or discussions with Julie Mayo, Angel “Moonyeka” Alviar-Langley, or Laura Ann Samuelson, please visit the main page of our blog above or HERE.
Chicago-based comedian, Kelsie Huff, was originally scheduled to arrive on campus the second week of April to put on two workshops and her current show set. One workshop was for stand-up and one was for storytelling. Though she was never able to arrive physically, Kelsie made a wonderful visit to Chris Petit’s Theory and Performance Zoom course to lead a storytelling workshop. She also hosted a comedy workshop which met twice the week of April 5th on Zoom. Attendants of her workshop developed writing tools for creating a five-minute stand-up set. These meetings were full of helpful tips and giggles.
The Department is excited to welcome new faculty and chair of the department all the way from New Orleans, Laura Hope! We look forward to having this addition to our community and to working with her for seasons to come.
Drama Listserv Newsletters
The Drama Club has taken the matter of community into their own hands by creating a bi-weekly newsletter sent out to the Drama Listserv. During these emails, Drama Club Officers (DCO) would prompt students and faculty questions about what they’ve been missing since our departure, how they’re doing, and what they’ve been up to. The DCO would then upload videos of their responses to these forms, while also including faculty videos, such as Professor Petit’s chickens, or a new dance from Peter de Grasse. This has aided in keeping students and faculty in the loop, while also providing a little comfort during these times of isolation.
During a normal month of May, the Whitman College Theater and Dance Department puts on an annual Drama Banquet that celebrates the hard work of the students, staff, and faculty alike, as well as sees the seniors off before their graduation. Like most events now, this also looked different this year in particular. Thanks to the hard work of the Drama Club Officers, all 2019-2020 awards and memories have been archived in a website titled www.hjtdramabanquet.com Please feel free to browse the accomplishments and memories of the past season.
Stay tuned for updates about the state of next year’s season while we all take care of ourselves this summer. We cannot wait to host you in this lobby once more. Until then, be well!