Distinguished Faculty Lecture with JoAnne Akalaitis
“The audience should not be allowed to leave the theater intact.“ --Reza Abdoh
What does it mean for a theatrical event to be dangerous as opposed to shocking, disturbing, provocative, all of which may simply be entertainment? Do we possess a rational mechanism to internalize the events in the work of Euripides, Jean Genet, Sarah Kane, along with the less overtly violent, but more insidious menace of a dramatist such as Harold Pinter? Are frightening stories embedded in innovative form, language and performance style the fundamental fabric of an unknown and possibly dangerous theater?
JoAnne Akalaitis is a five-time Obie Award-winning theatre director and writer. Co-founder of the critically acclaimed avant-garde theatre company Mabou Mines and former Artistic Director of The New York Shakespeare Festival, Akalaitis has also been awarded a Drama Desk Award. In addition to the creation of many works at the Public Theater such as Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 and Cymbeline, she has staged her own work as well as works by Euripides, Shakespeare, Strindberg, Janáček, Beckett, Jean Genet, Tennessee Williams, Harold Pinter at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York City Opera, Goodman Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Court Theatre, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Hartford Stage, New York Theater Workshop and the Guthrie Theater. She was artist-in-residence at the Court Theatre in Chicago where she she staged a number of works such as The Iphigenia Project and Mary Stuart. Akalaitis was the Andrew Mellon Co-chair of the first Directing Program at The Juilliard School, chair of the Theater Program at Bard College until 2012, and the Denzel Washington Endowed Chair of Theater at Fordham University in 2015. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts and Rockefeller Foundation grants, The Edwin Booth Award, Rosamund Gilder Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre, and Pew Charitable Trust National Theatre Artist Residency Program grant.