21 October 2015

Boston’s Theater Scene: Not All Arts Are Created Equal




Emerson College’s plan to reconfigure the historic Colonial Theatre into a multipurpose space, including a student cafeteria, has shocked the arts community. Meanwhile, other theaters in Boston are also facing closure. The arts are in crisis we are told, and it’s true. But the arts have always been in crisis in some way, and we […]

Continue Reading

10 May 2014

Interview with Magda Romanska, author of “The Post-traumatic Theatre of Grotowski and Kantor”




The following is an interview with Magda Romanska, author of The Post-traumatic Theatre of Grotowski and Kantor: History and Holocaust in ‘Akropolis’ and ‘Dead Class’ This book is a historical and critical analysis of the post-traumatic theatre of Grotowski and Kantor, examining the ways they represent Auschwitz in their respective pivotal works ‘Akropolis’ and ‘Dead […]

Continue Reading

5 January 2014

Offstage, Dramaturgs Are Playing a Prominent Role




By Joel Brown GLOBE CORRESPONDENT JANUARY 04, 2014 The Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas will hold their annual conference here in June. “The theme of the conference is looking to the future to see where we are going,” says conference chairwoman Magda Romanska, an associate professor at Emerson College and editor of an […]

Continue Reading

21 August 2013

Last Tango in Poland: Farewell to Slawomir Mrozek 1930-213




On August 15th the world theater lost one of its finest. Sławomir Mrożek, the brilliant, world-famous Polish dramatist, died at the age of 83 in Nice, France, his home since 2008. For international theater-going audiences, Mrożek is most famous for his absurd comedies, two of which, Strip-tease (1961) and the iconic Tango (1965), have been […]

Continue Reading

16 April 2013

The Case for National Theatre




A provocative blog post making one case for a National American Theater. Magda Romanska posts a wide-ranging, historic, international perspective on American theater vs. national theater traditions. Mitt Romney’s offhanded crusade against Big Bird, announced in a presidential debate with President Obama during the last election cycle, put naked fear in the hearts of children, puppets, […]

Continue Reading

30 March 2013

How the Holocaust Shaped Theatre: Emerson Professor Describes Its Impact on Polish Directors




“In Jerzy Grotowski’s 1967 staging of Stanislaw Wyspianski’s 1904 play, “Akropolis,” a retelling of stories from the Bible and Greek mythology, actors dressed in caps and rags labor on a bare set. Their movements become increasingly mechanistic as if consciousness has left their bodies. Some become inert, only responding to forces that are directly applied […]

Continue Reading

2 October 2012

Escape From Circus: Review of Mabou Mines’s “Dollhouse”




During the ten years of its run, when asked what I thought of Mabou Mines’s Dollhouse, I’ve always responded that based on the reviews, and the video of the production, I felt ambivalent about it. Now that the show is finally closing forever, and after finally being able to see it live here in Boston, […]

Continue Reading

11 September 2012

Genuine Illusions of our Times: Richard Foreman in conversation with Magda Romanska




[The following conversation with Richard Foreman was conducted on October 12, 2001, one month after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Some short excerpts were printed in Theater magazine (32:1, Winter 2002), but this is the first time the interview has been published in its entirety. More than a decade after the traumatic events, Foreman’s assessment is […]

Continue Reading

2 April 2012

Theatre Blog: “Café Variations” – A Constellation of Moments. On Making Meaning in Theatre




Magda Romanska, Emerson professor and dramaturg for Café Variations provides behind the scenes insight into the production… The trouble is I can’t make sense of my life at all. I can’t see a beginning and a middle and an end It seems to me to be just a bunch of random vivid moments I think, […]

Continue Reading

26 March 2012

Theatre Blog: “Café Variations” – The Music of Gershwin




As a child, George Gershwin would constantly get in trouble; he was well on his way to becoming a juvenile delinquent. It was sheer luck that saved him when his mother decided the family needed a piano for Ira to start music lessons. However, as soon as the piano was pulled up through the window […]

Continue Reading

23 March 2012

Theatre Blog: “Café Variations” – Café Culture History, Part 5: Cyber Café




Beginning in the 1990s, many traditional cafés began transforming into so-called cybercafés or internet cafés. The transformation once again reestablished the historical role of cafés as places of public discourse, information exchange and communication. Internet cafés provide internet access to their patrons, usually for an hourly fee. Currently there are two types of internet cafés: […]

Continue Reading

22 March 2012

Theatre Blog: “Café Variations” – Café Culture History, Part 4: Boston. On the history of Boston coffee – and tea.




Boston has always been the trendiest town in the U.S. and when it comes to coffeehouses, it’s no exception. Although the first man known to bring knowledge of coffee to North America was Captain John Smith in 1607, who was familiar with coffee, thanks to his travels in Turkey, the first-ever coffeehouse in America was […]

Continue Reading

21 March 2012

Theatre Blog: “Café Variations” – Café Culture History, Part 3: Café Culture and Public Spaces




American scholars have long noted the comparative scarcity of informal public spaces in American social and cultural life. In the last few decades, the public sphere, parks, streets, squares and walkways have become the domain of the poor and the homeless. Many sociologists lament that, increasingly, Americans are expected to find respite, entertainment, companionship, and […]

Continue Reading

20 March 2012

Theatre Blog: “Café Variations” – Café Culture History, Part 2: Café Culture and the Age of Enlightenment




The first American coffee house opened in Boston in 1676. Right away, beginning in the late seventeenth century, coffee houses in Boston and New York served as auction houses for commodities and real estate. Beginning in 1729, a coffee house was located next to the Merchants Exchange in New York, and in 1752 the newly […]

Continue Reading

20 March 2012

Conversation with Lawrence Switzky about Robert Lepage’s “The Andersen Project”




In anticipation of The Andersen Project, Emerson professor Magda Romanska talks to Lawrence Switzky, professor of English and drama at The University of Toronto and author of The Rise of the Theatre Director: Negotiations with the Material World. Prof. Switzky specializes in modern and contemporary dramatic literature, the history of directing, technology and media studies, […]

Continue Reading

16 March 2012

Theatre Blog: “Café Variations” – Café Culture History, Part 1: Sobering Up of Europe




Coffee, the sober drink, the mighty nourishment of the brain, which unlike other spirits, heightens purity and lucidity; coffee, which clears the clouds of the imagination and their gloomy weight; which illuminates the reality of things suddenly with the flash of truth. – Jules Michelet, French historian (1798-1874) Coffee’s roots reach to Yemen, in the […]

Continue Reading

15 March 2012

Theatre Blog: “Café Variations” – The Connection. On Meeting Anne Bogart




I am a dramaturg for the upcoming production of Café Variations, a collaboration between the SITI Company, ArtsEmerson and Emerson Stage. I am also a faculty member at Emerson, teaching courses in dramaturgy and theatre history. The first brainstorming rehearsals for the production have already begun in New York City, just as the Spring semester […]

Continue Reading

15 January 2012

Bogusław Schaeffer: Poland’s Renaissance Man




Polish theatre has gained world renown thanks to its innovative and bold experimental style. In international theatre circles, it is often enough to mention the names of Grotowski, Kantor, Witkacy, and Gombrowicz to elicit profound nods of approval. One aspect of Polish theatre that is well known but rarely analyzed is that its greats often […]

Continue Reading

12 January 2012

A Conversation With Harvey Young about Robbie McCauley




Emerson College Professor and Dramaturg Magda Romanska talks to Harvey Young, award-winning author, theatre scholar and internationally recognized authority on African American theatre, about Robbie McCauley, the African American experience and the importance of the body, memory and confession. Magda Romanska: In your book, Embodying Black Experience, you talk about the importance of the black […]

Continue Reading

2 November 2011

AAPEX Interview: Magda Romanska




Polish-born writer and dramaturg Magda Romanska is an assistant professor of Theatre Studies and Dramaturgy at Emerson College in Boston, MA, and a research associate at Harvard University’s Davis Center. She studied literature and drama at Stanford University and Yale School of Drama, and earned a Ph.D. in Theatre from Cornell University. In addition to […]

Continue Reading

16 July 2007

Do We Need Another Book on Beckett? – Review of A Beckett Canon by Ruby Cohn




During the year 2001, there have been 21 books on Beckett published in English and French alone, the same number in 2000 and 15 in 1999.  Among them are such titles as The Complete Critical Guide to Samuel Beckett (2000, Pattie David), The philosophy of Samuel Beckett (2001, John Calder), Beckett and Religion (2000, Marius […]

Continue Reading