| On May 4, 2006, Doug Bennet ’59, P’87, P’94, Wesleyan’s 15th president, announced his decision that the 2006-07 academic year will be the 12th and final year of his presidency. The Wesleyan Board of Trustees is in the process of convening an 18-person search committee composed of alumni, trustees, faculty, staff and students to undertake a comprehensive search to identify and successfully recruit Bennet’s successor.
The alumni and trustee members of the search committee are Kofi Appenteng ’81 and chair, Stephen Daniel ’82, Jim Dresser ’63, Joe Fins ’82, Ellen Jewett ’81, Michael McPherson P’98, Megan Norris ’83, Ted Shaw ’76, Shonni Silverberg ’76, and John Usdan ’80. Peter Patton, vice president and secretary, will also serve as a member of the search committee.
In keeping with the process used in the search that resulted in Doug Bennet’s selection by the Board in 1995, the faculty will select five members and the student body will select two members to join the search committee.
Several other leading colleges and universities will be conducting presidential searches this year, so to ensure that Wesleyan has its first choice among search consultants, several trustees, staff, faculty and students initiated a competitive process to select a search firm in July.
Consultants Jennifer Bol and Michele Haertel from Spencer Stuart will work as search consultants to Wesleyan. They bring a combination of extensive experience in higher education plus world-wide experience in other markets.
Many thanks to the faculty, student and trustee leadership for enabling the search consultant selection process to proceed so smoothly, Appenteng says. We look forward to working with as many of you as possible as we take this important next step in Wesleyan’s future.
Appenteng says it is critical to have staff on campus to support the search process. Peter Patton, vice president and secretary of the university, professor of earth and environmental sciences, has agreed to serve as executive secretary to the search committee. Patton will be joined by Joan Adams, formerly the assistant to the dean of admission and financial aid, who will serve as special assistant to the Presidential Search Committee.
Current committee members have established a Web site to collect confidential nominations and feedback from the community at http://www.wesleyan.edu/presidentialsearch.
Anyone may make suggestions, comments or nominations to the search committee.
Once the search committee membership is complete, the full search committee will begin a more formal outreach process with the Wesleyan Community and review the submissions.
Campus News & Events
by Olivia Drake •
|Drew Black, wrestling coach and strength and conditioning coach, explains how to use a medicine ball for strength training via video on a new Strength and Conditioning Web Site.|
With moves like the spider lunge, chest fly, sumo squat, wood chop, push jerk and the inch worm, strength and conditioning lessons have never been so easy and entertaining.
Through a series of online videos and written training plans, Drew Black, Wesleyan wrestling coach and strength and conditioning coach, shows how to properly execute 241 movements in the weight room. Some can be applied in the workplace or at home, as well.
The new Strength and Conditioning Web Site, launched Sept. 7, can be seen online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/athletics/strength/. All high-quality video clip demonstrations were filmed in the Freeman Athletic Centers Andersen Fitness Center.
This new site is for the entire Wesleyan community, Black says. Our fitness center is one of the most used facilities on campus and I want everyone to have a tool and resource they can turn to for information on how to reach their strength and fitness goals whether you are a varsity athlete, a recreational athlete, a lifetime fitness enthusiast, or someone who is recovering from an injury.
In addition to the video clips, the site highlights six performance principles including sport specific training, multiple joint movements, multiple plane movements, ground-based movements, nutrition, rest and recovery, and periodization, a scientific, systematic training model used to continuously make gains in training.
It offers training notes on speed and agility, general strength programs, warming up, core training. Site visitors can download and print log forms to chart and record training sessions.
Black suggests a number of general strength training programs, categorized into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels of strength training. Users can view a three-day program, weight training for total body, interval training ideas and a bodyweight strength program.
These programs are set up into two different formats where you may choose how you would like to train during the week, Black explains. You may like to train your total body each time you lift or you may choose to train only certain movements such as upper body pushing movements, lower body only, and upper body pulling movements. Both methods are effective for increasing strength. Its important to choose a plan that works best for you.
Student athletes can use the site to enhance their individuals athletic potential on the field, mat, ice, court and water. Since strength training is a major supplement to the athletes specific sport, the athletes always have access to the video-coach as they train.
Black says the site also will attract top prospective student-athletes to Wesleyan.
There are not many sites around the country that offer this information, Black explains. It shows that we love what we do and at Wesleyan we strive for excellence.
The site was designed by Ryan Lee, Web designer; coordinated by Jen Carlstrom, director of New Media Services; and categorized by Mary Glynn, application technology specialist. Michael Leone, son of Pat Leone, World Wide Web administrator, filmed and edited the digital videos.
Black, who initiated the idea for a video-coach Web site, says strength and conditioning are the two best supplements a person can add into his or her daily regimen.
In order to run faster, jump higher, and be able to play longer, you must strength train, cross train, and condition your body, Black explains. Many of our fitness center users also have goals in terms of losing weight, become more flexible, get stronger, and put on some muscle. All of these goals will be realized and attained by following a strength program. Quality of life and quality experience in your sport are directly related to following a consistent strength and conditioning program.”
|By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
David Titus, Professor Emeritus of Government, died on June 13, 2006.
Professor Titus taught at Wesleyan from 1966 until his retirement in 2004, serving as chair of the Government Department, the College of Social Studies and the East Asian Studies Program. He played a crucial role in establishing East Asian Studies at Wesleyan; he served as Resident Director of the Kyoto Program three times, and was a member and frequent chair of its Executive Board. His masterwork was his Palace and Politics in Prewar Japan, which established his reputation as a leading scholar of Japanese politics; it was translated into Japanese in 1979.
Professor Titus as an avid birdwatcher, and a vital participant in the Mattabesset chapter of the Audubon Society, which he also served as president. Until his recent stroke, he loved to play the violin, enlivening numerous campus occasions over the years.
He is survived by two sons, Brian and Jeffrey, a daughter in law, Rie, and two grandchildren, Sion and Neo. A memorial service will be scheduled in the fall.
Memorial donations may be sent to the Mattabeseck Audubon Society, c/o Alison Guinness, DeKoven House, 27 Washington St., Middletown, CT 06457.
by Olivia Drake •
|Grigori Enikolopov 08 was one of more than 50 students to present their research at the Hughes Program in the Life Sciences Poster Session in the Exley Science Center.|
When Grigori Enikolopov 08 studied the leaf economics in river, swamp and upland areas, he found that the wetter the area, the more ridges or teeth the leaves of woody tree species possessed.
|By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
| The Kresge Foundation of Troy, Mich., has awarded a challenge grant in the amount of $500,000 to Wesleyan University. This grant will be applied toward the purchase of equipment for several Wesleyan science departments, including biology, chemistry, molecular biology and biochemistry, earth and environmental sciences and physics.
To apply to the Science Equipment Program, Wesleyan had to raise $500,000 and now must raise an additional $1 million to meet the terms of Kresge challenge grant and establish an endowment for repair and replacement of science equipment. According to the tenets of the grant, Wesleyan must raise $1.5 million to meet the challenge and establish an endowment for the repair and replacement of science equipment. To date the university has already raised $500,000 toward this goal.
Wesleyan’s planned purchases of advanced scientific equipment with the grant and additional money raised include:
– LC-Mass Spectrometer for Biology ($158,000)
– Gel Permeation Chromatograph for Chemistry ($148,000)
– Telescope Control System for the Astronomy departments telescopes ($60,000)
– ICO-Mass Spectrometer for Earth and Environmental Sciences ($203,000)
– YAG/Dye Laser for Physics and Chemistry ($89,000)
– Microplate Reader for Biology ($61,000)
– Photosynthesis System for Biology and Earth and Environmental Sciences ($31,000).
In the next few years, Wesleyan will construct a state-of-the-art facility for teaching and research in the life sciences. The new facility will add roughly 80,000 square feet of departmental and community space that will enable Wesleyan to continue its academic leadership in the sciences.
The Kresge Foundation is a national foundation with $3 billion in assets that seeks to strengthen nonprofit organizations by catalyzing their growth, connecting them to their stakeholders, and challenging greater support through grants.
by Olivia Drake •
|Tom Morgan, the Foss Professor of Physics, developed a laser lab in the basement of Exley Science Center. He uses a control panel to fire atoms and study quantum mechanics. His atom research is supported by a recent National Science Foundation award of $200,000.|
| In outer space, some protons and electrons can travel millions of years alone before colliding, forming super-excited exaggerated atoms. Tom Morgan, the Foss Professor of Physics, wants these atoms to come back down to earth.
For the past 20 years, Morgan, an atomic and molecular physicist, has experimented with these excited atoms known as Rydberg atoms.
With the help of Wesleyans Scientific Support Services, hes designed and created two accelerator collision systems in the basement of Exley Science Center. By shooting a laser beam at a series of regular atoms, he can create Rydberg atoms, which escalate the electrons orbit 10,000 times further than in a regular atom. These giant atoms, with elusive properties, are ideal to study to gain insight into the connection between quantum mechanics and classical physics.
What Ive always been interested in is what I learn about an atom or molecule on a fundamental level, Morgan says from his second floor office in the Exley Science Center. I want to learn about their structure, their dynamics, and how the size of an atom affects its behavior.
Over the years the Research Corporation, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation have supported his research. On Aug. 15, the NSF awarded a grant of $200,000 for laser research equipment.
Morgan began his career at Wesleyan 33 years ago by studying properties of fast protons colliding with alkaline atoms magnesium, calcium, strontium and barium. In the mid-80s, he began investigating Rydberg atoms in hydrogen and helium. Recently, his research interests include molecular spectroscopy and dynamics of highly excited Rydberg states in strong electric fields and plasma environments. His most recent contributions include studying Rydberg argon dynamics and the first measurement of a scaled-energy recurrence spectrum for molecules.
Morgan says he is among about a hand-full of researchers in the world studying scaled-energy laser-excited atoms in strong electric fields and the first to apply the technique to hydrogen molecules.
When youre doing cutting-edge research, its not going to be easy, he says overlooking his self-designed laser-accelerator control panel. Everything has to be perfect to get the right conditions and results. Doing this type of work requires not only brains, but a lot of patience and good hands.
Lutz Huwel, chair of the Physics Department and professor of physics, says Morgan’s positive and constructive attitude in the classroom stands out just as much as his love for physics.
“Tom loves physics of all kind above all the Rydberg atoms and molecules he and his dedicated group of students are investigating in his lab,” Huwel says. “He is always on the lookout for interesting things to do and to talk about. He has a knack for getting students excited about physics.”
In October, one of Morgan’s undergraduate students, Jack DiSciacca ’07, will be presenting his research results at a national laser science conference in Rochester, N.Y. DiSciacca is a Goldwater Scholar for the academic year 06-07 and is writing his senior honors thesis on Rydberg hydrogen molecules.
Morgan, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., says his interest in physics came about in high school, when his algebra teacher said he had quite the ability in math.
I perked up at this, because this person thought I was actually good at something. That was my defining moment. It gave me the confidence to pursue math, and later physics, he says.
He studied math and the sciences at Carroll College in Helena, Mont. and Montana State University, Bozeman and received his Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley in 1971. His thesis covered the collisional formation and destruction properties of excited hydrogen molecules.
In 1973, after two years at Queens University of Belfast, N. Ireland, Morgan came to Wesleyan, and began teaching general physics classes, more advanced classes for majors and graduate level courses. Morgan has published more than 85 articles in leading physics journals. Hes overseen dozens of students pursuing Ph.D degrees and senior honors theses, who often report their findings at national conferences and publish in scientific journals.
Morgan, who also is Wesleyans Academic Secretary, served as the Chairman of the Physics Department for five years, and the Dean of the Sciences and Mathematics for three years. He has held several visiting research appointments at other universities, including the University of Paris, France, the University of Colorado, Boulder, the University of Mexico, Mexico City and at Dublin City University, Ireland, where as a Fulbright Senior Scholar he established a physics undergraduate student exchange program with Wesleyan.
Wesleyan was great when I arrived here, and its great now, Morgan says. The teaching and research environment is wonderful and my colleagues are superb, but what I really love about Wesleyan is the students. It is the bright students in the classroom and in my lab that have kept me here all these years.
He is presently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he is collaborating on research programs devoted to plasma physics. Hes also a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Physics in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Hes also a four-time marathon runner, a big New York Yankees fan, and a singer/musician for an Irish Celtic band.
Morgan is one of three in his family to work at Wesleyan. His wife, Janet, retired in 2003 from Information Technology Services, and his son, Brent Morgan, is an instructional media specialist for ITS and the Center for the Arts. But after more than three decades here, Tom has no plans to leave Wesleyan just yet.
No, I cant even think about (retirement), he says, turning the knobs on his laser lab control panel. I am having too much fun.”
|By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
A team of staff members is updating Wesleyan’s emergency response plan, which describes protocols for maintaining personal safety and the continuity of operations in the event of a crisis.
Led by Director of Physical Plant Cliff Ashton, the Business Continuity Planning Committee is updating a plan that was implemented in 2002. The plan covers hurricanes and other natural disasters, as well as such manmade crises as power outages and chemical spills. The committee is exploring responses to more recent threatssuch as the possibility of a pandemic contagion. It also is reviewing the plan for consistency with protocols established in the National Incident Management System created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The committee, which began its work last spring, will recommend a revised plan to the senior administration in the fall.
Questions and comments may be directed to Cliff Ashton at email@example.com.
|By Justin Harmon, vice president for Public Affairs and director of University Communications|
by Olivia Drake •
| Wesleyans Music Department will sponsor a memorial service for David McAllester, professor of music and anthropology, emeritus, at 2 p.m. in the Memorial Chapel Sept. 24.
McAllester, a founder of the Society for Ethnomusicology, died April 29, 2006, after suffering a stroke. He was 89.
David had a huge impact on generations of Wesleyan students, many of them not music majors or grad students, says Mark Slobin, professor of music, who worked with McAllester for 15 years. When I was hired at Wesleyan in 1971 and looked at a college guide, the only course singled out was McAllesters exciting course on American Indian Music, complete with a pow-wow on Foss Hill.
A graduate of Harvard University, McAllester studied at the Juilliard School of Music and earned his doctorate in anthropology at Columbia. He began his career at Wesleyan in the Psychology Department, and soon established the Anthropology Department, where he was an instructor of anthropology. In 1957, he was promoted to a full professor and in 1971, he moved to the Music Department, where he co-founded the program in World Music. He remained in the Music Department until his retirement in 1986.
“The twin career in anthropology and music is the work of a man who, faced with the choice between art and science, embraced them both,” wrote Richard Winslow, professor of music, emeritus, in the summer 1986 issue of Wesleyan magazine.
One of the founders of the Society for Ethnomusicology in 1952, McAllester served the organization in a number of positions, first as its secretary, and later as the president and editor of the society’s journal. His particular field of interest was Native American ceremonial music, especially that of the Navajos of the American Southwest.
Known internationally for his scholarly works and publications, he was a recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for research in new Native American music and of a Fulbright grant that provided him with a senior lectureship in Australia. He was a member of the board of trustees for the American Indian Archaeological Institute in Washington, D.C., and did extensive fieldwork with several native American groups, with books that include Peyote Music (1949), Enemyway Music (1954) and Navajo Blessingway Singer (1978).
With a longstanding commitment to nonviolence, he served in conscientious objector work camps during World War II. He was a founding member of the Middletown Quaker Meeting, as well as the South Berkshire Friends meeting, where he set up a tipi on the grounds, as well as helping to construct a swamp trail around a beaver pond.
Predeceased by his first wife, Susan McAllester, in 1994, he is survived by his wife, Beryl Irene Courtenay, a daughter, a son, two granddaughters, and a son-in-law.
by Olivia Drake •
by Olivia Drake •
| Noah Lior Simring, originally a member of Wesleyan’s class of 2007, died recently in New York City, his hometown. He was 21.
Noah, who was on leave from Wesleyan for the past two years, graduated from the Horace Mann School in New York City where he enjoyed fencing. His interests included the sciences, theater, music, wilderness living, animation and rocketry and volunteerism.
He is survived by parents Ruth and James Simring and sister, Mia Simring.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Horace Mann School or Children International.
by Olivia Drake •
|Friends and family celebrated Kay Butterfields 100th birthday July 27 in the Office of the President. Kay Butterfield is the wife of the late Victor Butterfield, who served as Wesleyans president 1943-1967. Pictured above is Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano declaring July 27 Kay Butterfield Day in the City of Middletown.|
| Kay Butterfield, wife of former Wesleyan President Victor Butterfield, turned 100 July 27. She celebrated the day with friends and family during a celebration at the Presidents House.
Kay has lived a life of idealism and service. She was born July 27, 1906 in Brooklyn, N.Y., the daughter of Philip Geyer and Sophie Westerman Geyer. Her grandfather, Philip Geyer, Sr. had emigrated from Bavaria, settling first in Newark, N.J, where he and his brothers established a brewery. The family moved to Brooklyn, and Kays father followed his father into the profession of Master Brewer, eventually owning Franks Brewery.
In 1919, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, prohibition, caused a reversal of fortune for the Geyer family, which had all its assets invested in the family brewery. One result was that Kay would eventually have to finance her own college education.
Kay graduated from Girls High School in Brooklyn in 1922, one month shy of her 16th birthday. In the spring of her senior year, searching the school bulletin board for employment opportunities, she spotted a notice for a city-wide essay contest for a one-year scholarship to the Manhattan Business School. She won the prize, attended in 1922-23, and then earned enough money as a legal secretary on Wall Street to pay for her first year of college.
In 1924, Kay entered Cornell University as a freshman. She was the publicity manager for the Womens Varsity Council; the womens editor for the Cornell Daily Sun, a varsity member of the womens basketball team; and president of Delta Gamma Sorority. She also was involved in Alpha Chi Alpha, the honor society for journalism; Raven and Serpent, the junior honor society; and Mortarboard, the senior honor society.
During her junior year at Cornell, Kay met Victor Lloyd Butterfield at a dance. The duo got married June 11, 1928. Two days later, Kay graduated with a bachelors of art in English. She had paid her entire way through college by working as a secretary and typing student papers, and as a legal secretary in Manhattan during the summers.
The Butterfields moved to Deerfield, Mass. where Vic taught and coached at Deerfield Academy and Kay taught fifth and sixth grade in a single classroom in the Deerfield Elementary School. She called it baptism by fire.
In 1929, Vic joined the faculty of the Riverdale Country School in the Bronx. Kay taught mathematics to all grades at the Neighborhood School in Riverdale. An apartment and meals were included at Riverdale, allowing them to save all their earnings for graduate school for Vic. In 1931, the couple moved to Cambridge, Mass., where Vic entered Harvard as a Ph.D candidate. Kay became a door-to-door salesperson and typed doctoral theses for extra income. Her habits of thrift and industry enabled Vic and Kay to spend the summer of 1934 in Europe after Vics resident Ph.D work was completed.
Vic was hired by Wesleyan as the dean of Admission from 1935 to 1941, and worked as the associate dean from 1941 to 1942, acting president in 1942, then president from 1943 to 1967.
In 1938, the Butterfields built their first house on a four-acre plot on Randolph Road in Middletown. Kay cut all the studs and joists with a power saw, cut rock wool into bats for the insulation, and secured them with slats that she nailed in. They lived there until Vics appointment as president in 1943 and, then moved to a brick house on High Street. When the war ended, they moved into the Presidents House at 269 High. After Vics retirement, they went back to their beloved small house on Randolph Road.
During the years of Vics presidency, Kay was heavily involved in college life. She loved the seminars, conferences, concerts, and the sporting events. She was a regular at games and matches, particularly football, basketball, and wrestling. She volunteered for decades at the Wesleyan Blood Drive, registering donors, as well as donating blood herself.
Much of her energy went toward the job of entertaining at the Presidents House. Money was scarce in those days, and badly needed to improve faculty salaries. So Kay economized by cooking and baking for receptions and dinners for trustees, faculty, students and honorary degree recipients. On one occasion, during a period of intense rivalry in football between Trinity and Wesleyan, she even cooked and served dinner for both varsity teams on the night before the big game.
Kay became involved early on in the Middletown community. Before her own children were born, she was a Girl Scout leader. The YMCA was her earliest and longest commitment. As a member of the Womens Board, she help nurture the girls club. She also raised large sums of money for the YMCA through her chairmanship of the Ys annual Tour of Homes. When the womens lounge needed new slipcovers, Kay and her fellow board members brought their sewing machines for a bee, and made them all themselves. It was through the Y that Kay was a long-time member of the Middletown League of Women Voters, as well as its president from 1936-37. She was also a member of the Board of Education (1952-1965), an annual campaigner for the United Way, and a Board member of Connecticut Citizens for Public Schools.
She also had a long connection with the Davison Art Center. In the early 1960s, Curator Heinrich Schwarz, hoping to add to the large print collection left to Wesleyan by George W. class of 1892 and Harriet Davison, proposed to Kay the idea of forming a Friends of the Davison Art Center to raise money for acquisitions.
Kay has been the recipient of a number of awards for her service, including the Bnai Brith Woman of the Year award in the 1950s, the Baldwin Medal for service to Wesleyan in 1982, and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Wesleyan in 1997.
In the late 1960s, after Vics retirement from Wesleyan, Kay renewed her ties to the First Church of Christ, Middletown, which she had joined in the 1950s. Kay taught Sunday School until she was in her 90s, and after the Vietnam War, she tutored children from Vietnam and Cambodia through the church.
In the mid 1990s, she wrote a series of essays for the Middletown Press on backyard bird-watching, on her particular pleasure in crows, on Elderhostels, on her two hip replacements, and on her decision at the age of 94 to leave her beloved Randolph Road home and move to One MacDonough Place, where she now resides.
Another great love of Kays throughout her life has been music, and particularly singing. She had a huge repertoire – everything from Vaudeville to Negro Spirituals. Kay still loves singing – now with the One MacDonough Singers.
In honor of her 100 years, the Governors Office proclaimed July 27 as Kay Butterfield Day in the State of Connecticut, and the Mayor’s Office declared July 27 as Kay Butterfield Day in the City of Middletown.
|Photos by Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor. Text contributed.|
by Olivia Drake •
|The American Story Project, a theater company comprised of Wesleyan students and alumni, will perform We Can’t Reach You, Hartford at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival held in Edinburgh, Scotland Aug. 7-19.|
| In 1944, the Hartford Circus Fire caused more than 150 deaths during an afternoon circus performance. Although the cause of the fire remains officially undetermined, five employees of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus were charged with involuntary manslaughter, and the circus was forced to accept full financial responsibility for the fire that occurred during their show.
This tragic, yet compelling story, will be retold and performed by the American Story Project, a new theater company comprised of Wesleyan students and alumni. The seven-member group will premier We Cant Reach You, Hartford, a play by Jess Chayes 07 and Stephen Aubrey 06, at the Bedlam Theatre during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival held in Edinburgh, Scotland Aug. 7-19.
Under Chayess direction, the audience will witness the story of sad clowns, unlikely heroes and the forgotten tragedy under the big top. Performers include Annie Bodel ’08, Edward Bauer ’08, Elissa Kozlov ’08, Mike James ’07 and Hayley Stokar ’06.
In We Cant Reach You, Hartford, Bauer plays the role of Emmett Kelly, a sad clown from the Depression-era 1930s who once performed as an actual member of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1942 to 1956. One of the most memorable pictures to emerge from the Hartford Circus Fire depicted Kelly, in full sad clown makeup, attempting to extinguish the flames that had already engulfed the entire circus behind him. Even until his death in 1979, Emmett Kelly never discussed what he saw that day in July.
James plays Meryl Evans, a band director who continued to conduct during the fire until the flames forced his musicians to flee.
Jess really wanted to make the play a living document without following docudrama rules, James says. She and Stephen made something surprising. The play focuses mostly on the disasters periphery; its an eerie stage poem.
This will be a second venture to the Fringe Festival for Chayes, James, Stokar and Kozlov. Last year, the American Story Projects production of Tone Clusters premiered at the Bedlam Theatre and brought critical acclaim. The American Story Project has also performed at venues in Connecticut and New York.
Each of our plays strives for honest, powerful expression among the more bizarre channels of the human experience, Chayes says. Each piece tackles difficult, haunting questions, striving not for answers, but for illumination, insight and a journey into the human condition.
In 2001, a comprehensive history of the Hartford Circus Fire was published. Novelist Stewart ONan, author of The Circus Fire: the True Story of an American Tragedy, attended the companys workshop performance in May. Afterwards, he wrote of the production: We Can’t Reach You, Hartford re-imagines the tragedy of the Hartford Circus Fire with a strange and compelling immediacy. It’s a weird, nearly overwhelming tale, but director Jess Chayes, writer Stephen Aubrey and the players bring an intimate scale and bracing range to the material. Creepy, funny, touching–it’s a tour de force.
A benefit performance of We Cant Reach You, Hartford runs in Manhattan, N.Y., Aug. 2; and in Scarsdale, N.Y. on Aug. 3. For more information visit americanstoryproject.com.
|By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor|