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, […]

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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 […]

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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: […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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