Michael Mark Chemers first came to Carnegie Mellon in 2003 as a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Center for the Arts in Society, and joined the School of Drama faculty in 2004. He is the founder and director of the School’s Dramaturgy BFA Program. Michael holds a PhD in Theatre History and Theory from the University of Washington (2001) and an MFA in Playwriting from Indiana University (1997). He was a Wimmer Faculty Fellow of the Eberly Center in 2006. He is the author of Ghost Light: An Introductory Handbook for Dramaturgy (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010) and Staging Stigma: A Critical History of the American Freak Show (Palgrave, 2008), which was honored by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education with an Honorable Mention for the Outstanding Book Award of 2009. Michael’s work as a theatre historian and theorist has appeared in Modern Drama, Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film, Theatre Survey, Theatre Topics, New England Theatre Journal, Journal of Theatre and Performance, TheatreForum, Comparative Drama, and Disability Studies Quarterly. Michael has also written chapters for books on South Park and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He has adapted several texts, including Gogol's The Inspector General (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2009) and, with J.A. Ball, Aristophanes' Lysistrata (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2007) that has been revived at universities across the US. He authored the independently-produced film When Tyrants Kiss (2004) which appeared in the Three Rivers Film Festival. His playwriting has received many national awards and has been performed across the country. He has over two decades of experience in dramaturgy, most recently with the Leon Katz International Theatre Collective headquartered in Smolyan, Bulgaria. He also acts, most recently appearing in the School’s The London Cuckolds. In his spare time he collects masks, teaches martial arts, and juggles things that are on fire.
WENDY ARONS, Associate Professor of Dramatic Literature
Wendy Arons joined the faculty of the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University as Associate Professor of Dramatic Literature in 2007. Previous to that time she taught at the University of Notre Dame in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre. Her research interests include performance and ecology, 18th- and 19th-century theatre history, feminist theatre, and performance and ethnography. She is author of Performance and Femininity in Eighteenth-Century German Woman's Writing: The Impossible Act (Palgrave MacMillan 2006), and has published articles in Theatre Topics, The German Quarterly, Communications from the International Brecht Society, 1650-1850, Text and Presentation, and Theatre Journal, as well as chapters in a number of anthologies. She has worked as a professional dramaturg with a number of leading directors, including Anne Bogart and Robert Falls, and has translated a number of plays from German into English, including The Good Person of Sezuan in collaboration with Tony Kushner. She recently guest edited a special issue of Theatre Topics on "Performance and Ecology," and is currently writing a second book that investigates performance practices associated with the agricultural sustainability movement, entitled Simple Acts: Performance and Sustainability. Arons also has a chapter, "Beyond the Nature/Culture Divide: Challenges from Ecocriticism & Evolutionary Biology for Theatre Historiography," forthcoming in the anthology Theatre Historiography: Critical Questions ed. Henry Bial and Scott Magelssen. She is currently Director of the Performance and Ecology Public Art Initiative at CMU and is curating the Pittsburgh Eco-Drama Festival in Fall 2009 as part of that initiative. Professor Arons also serves as Secretary of the American Society for Theatre Research.
CARLYN AQUILINE, Guest Faculty
Carlyn Aquiline is the Literary Manager and Dramaturg at City Theatre Company in Pittsburgh, which is dedicated to contemporary and new plays, where as the institutional dramaturg, she collaborates on the formulation of artistic programming and policy and its communication and implementation, and as the new play and production dramaturg, she collaborates on the development of new work and within the rehearsal process. She oversees City Theatre’s play acquisition, commissioning, and development, as well as production, new play, and Young Playwrights Festival dramaturgy. She is also on the producing teams for MOMENTUM: new plays at different stages (City Theatre’s annual new play festival) and the Young Playwrights Festival (City Theatre’s annual festival of productions by 7th to 12th grade playwrights from Western Pennsylvania). She has been privileged to dramaturg new plays and musicals, often commissions and world premieres, by many major writers for the theatre, both established and emerging, including Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Leslie Ayvazian, Steven Dietz, Christopher Durang, Eve Ensler, Jeffrey Hatcher, Michael Hollinger, Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda, Billy Porter, Adam Rapp, Keith Reddin, Tammy Ryan, Mat Smart, Eric Simonson, and Craig Wright. Carlyn is also an experienced dramaturg of classic work, including among her favorite projects Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, or What You Will, Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, and Gozzi’s The Green Bird (with Yale Repertory Theatre, in collaboration with Theatre de la Jeune Lune). Her literary and dramaturgy credits include theatres across the nation, including Arden Theatre, Goodspeed Musicals (primarily for Goodspeed-at-Chester, dedicated to the development and production of new musical premieres), Florida Stage, Hartford Stage, Syracuse Stage, TheatreWorks, and Yale Repertory Theatre. She holds degrees from the Yale School of Drama (MFA, dramaturgy and dramatic criticism), Ohio University (MA, theatre history), and The Catholic University of America (BFA, directing).