Talya Kingston, visiting assistant professor of theatre, specializes in theatre for social change and new play development. She received a B.A.(Hons) from Stirling University in Scotland and an M.F.A. in dramaturgy from the University of Massachusetts.
Kingston spent five years running the YouthAware TIE touring division of the New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco. The YouthAware program reaches approximately 25,000 students throughout Northern California each year with programs that address such controversial issues as homophobia, HIV infection, and substance abuse. She subsequently held the position of Director of Education at Hartford Stage.
Kingston currently reads script submissions for the Summer Play Festival in New York and Marin Theatre Company in California and teaches introduction to theater and play analysis at the University of Massachusetts.
This course will explore the possibilities and purposes for writing about live performance. Students will read different styles of criticism and arguments about the critic's role in contemporary theatre. At the heart of the course is attendance at six live performances. Upon seeing the performances, students will be expected to write reviews and often have opportunities to speak to and interview the artists involved. Students should expect to be confronted with a wide variety of performance genres which will enable them to broaden their artistic vocabulary, sharpen their written voice and engage with the theatrical community within the five colleges and beyond.
This course will take a close look at plays written by American women over the last century, exploring works by playwrights such as Sophie Treadwell, Lillian Hellman, Gertrude Stein, Lorraine Hansberry, Ntozake Shange, Paula Vogel, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Naomi Wallace. Each week will be devoted to a different playwright aiming to deepen students' understanding of Twentieth Century theatre, to stretch boundaries of genre, feminism and form and to interrogate our notions of "women's writing" as well as of an "American". Students will both examine how the plays speak to the particular time and society in which they were written, and the creative potential of producing them today.
What is dramaturgy? In answering this question, students will learn how to analyze and research play texts for production, evaluate new scripts, write program notes and take a critical look at a variety of different models of post-performances dialogue. Practical dramaturgy is a collaborative art that allows us to locate the story we are telling on stage not just through the script, but through casting decisions, design components and communication with audiences. Students should have completed at least one (preferably more)college-level theatre class.
This dramatic literature class will take a look at two forms of theatre that maintain their roots in realistic exchanges while allowing us to drift into realms of pure imagination. The semester will be divided into two. First we will explore the European roots of Theatre of the Absurd through the plays of Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco and Harold Pinter. Then we will look at the South American tradition of Magical Realism and how it has inspired contemporary American playwrights such as Tony Kushner and Sarah Ruhl. Students will be expected to write both analytic responses and engage in playwriting exercises as we explore these forms.
This theatre workshop focuses on the art of adapting source material into original plays. We will closely examine several contemporary stage adaptations alongside their source material (including Kander & Ebb's musical "Cabaret" from the novel "Goodbye to Berlin" by Christopher Isherwood, and Mary Zimmerman;s "Metamorphosis" from Ovid.) Over the course of the semester, students will be asked to respond to these works, undertake various creative writing exercises and ultimately write their own adaptation play script. Prerequisite: At least one college-level theatre/dramatic literature course.
This course will take a close look at plays written in Britain and Ireland over the last century, exploring works by playwrights such as John M. Synge, George Bernard Shaw, Shelagh Delaney, Harold Pinter, Carol Churchill, Brian Friel and Martin McDonagh. Each week will be devoted to a different playwright. Students will both examine how the plays speak to the particular time and society in which they were written, and explore the creative potential of producing them on our own stages now.
What is feminism today, and how is it relevant for theatre and performance work? This class will serve as an introduction to the work of 20th and 21st century women playwrights, performance artists, and critical thinkers. We will confront feminism as a tool for reading and interpreting issues of gender and sexuality in plays and performances. We will also consider how, and to what extent, feminism influences practices of writing, performing, and spectatorship. Students will be expected to attend performances, read and write critically and perform their discoveries. This course is intended for upper-level Division II students; a general background in theatre/performance and/or feminism(s) will be assumed.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre
Mail Code WP
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002