Hollins theatre program in the spotlight
Play, playwrights, actors all recognized
Hollins Theatre’s staging of Natasha Trethewey’s Bellocq’s Ophelia is one of five full productions from the southeastern United States chosen for performance at the Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), a national theatre program dedicated to improving the quality of college theatre in the United States. The production takes place February 5–9 at Darton College in Albany, Georgia. Of those five, one will be selected to represent the region and compete for the top prize at the 45th annual national KCACTF in Washington, D.C., in April. Bellocq’s Ophelia is based on the book of poetry by Trethewey M.A. ’91, winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for poetry and the current U.S. poet laureate.
In addition, the KCACTF’s Region IV awarded its top playwriting honor to Meredith Dayna Levy, who graduated from Hollins last spring. Levy was recognized for her drama, Decision Height, which Hollins Theatre originally staged in October. The play will be presented as a concert reading at the Region IV KCACTF and as a full production at the festival in 2014. Decision Height has also been nominated for two major national prizes to be awarded at the Kennedy Center in April.Kevin Ferguson, who along with Levy is currently a candidate for the M.F.A. degree in playwriting (also known as Playwright’s Lab), had two of his original scripts selected for the Region IV National Playwriting Program. Follies a Deux and Losing Sight were chosen for the Ten-Minute Play and One-Act Play categories, respectively. Both will be presented in staged readings and will compete for the top prize for short plays at the national KCACTF this spring.
“Naturally, all of us in the theatre department are proud and excited to have our work receive such validation,” said Zulia. “It’s highly unusual that one university should win so many honors. As the Region IV chairman said, ‘It sort of looks like it’s going to be an all-Hollins festival!’”
Zulia also announced that three Hollins students, seniors Kaitlin Heath and Maria Latiolais, and sophomore Russell Wilson, have been nominated to compete for the national Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships, which provide recognition, honor, and financial assistance to outstanding student performers wishing to pursue further education. Approximately 400 students vie for this prestigious acting award.
Hunger Games in Moody
Food themes based on popular books
Jessica Hall ’12 gave Hollins students a welcome respite from the hectic and stressful final weeks of fall term with a little help from one of the most popular young adult novels and films in recent years.
The marketing coordinator for Hollins University Dining Services and current M.A.L.S. student worked closely with students and dining services staff to incorporate elements from The Hunger Games into the menu beginning December 1 and continuing through December 13, the last day of classes.
Hall and her team based each day’s lunch and dinner themes on one of the 13 districts in the nation of Panem, the book’s setting. “District 1 is known for luxury goods, so we started with a steak dinner,” she explains. “Diamonds and mining are the focus of District 2, so that day we set up an area to teach students how to make rock salt candy.”
Other highlights included a smoothie bar (District 3, machinery), building your own gingerbread house (District 7, lumber and paper products), and a cheese and fruit bar (District 10, livestock). There was also a costume contest to win Hunger Games “swag,” and on the final day, a carnival.
Negative ions have positive effect
Study by professors and students cited
A Hollins University research study focusing on the treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is highlighted in a new book that offers clinically proven ways to improve your mood and help you get a good night’s sleep. Chronotherapy: Resetting Your Inner Clock to Boost Mood, Alertness, and Quality Sleep, co-authored by Michael Terman, director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at Columbia University Medical Center, is earning praise from clinicians for the scientific insights and treatments it shares.
The book cites a two-year investigation by faculty members and students from Hollins’ departments of psychology, biology, and physics into the effects of negative air ions on SAD, blood oxygen, and pulse rate. Professors Randall Flory, Bonnie Bowers, Morgan Wilson, Rebecca Beach, and Marshall Bartlett, and psychology majors Chesley Ammermann ’14, Rachel Cohen ’12, Kristen Jones ’11, Katherine Rediske ’11, Lauren Staley ’11, and Gennesis Zuleta ’13 found that “exposure to high-density negative ions is more effective in alleviating the symptoms of SAD (depression, irritability, social withdrawal, daytime fatigue, and loss of concentration) than is exposure to low or near-zero levels of negative air ions,” corroborating previous studies conducted by Flory and colleagues in 2010 and Terman in the 1990s.
The book profiles a Hollins student who participated in one of the study’s clinical trials. The student said she had always struggled during the winter months with a lack of energy and motivation and was asked by Flory to take part after he reviewed her score on a campus-wide SAD survey. She spent an hour each morning sitting in front of an ion generator and after the sessions, she “had this energy. …I didn’t feel like sleeping in class.” She quit using the device after the study ended and the following winter once again began experiencing the same energy deficit. Despite being a “poor graduate student,” she invested in an ionizer. “I wouldn’t have spent a hundred and fifty to two hundred dollars on it if I didn’t think it worked. I felt I had really seen the results.”
Remembering Dan Murphy
Professor of Spanish Daniel M. Murphy, 63, died Saturday, December 8, 2012. He enjoyed a distinguished career as an educator, Hispanist, literary critic and translator.
A graduate of Colorado State University, Murphy received an M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He joined the Hollins faculty in 1993 and was passionate about sharing the culture, civilization, and literature of the Spanish-speaking world with his students. He took particular pride in the Hollins alumnae who pursued graduate studies in the discipline, some of whom went on to teach Spanish at the elementary, high school, or college level.
Historic Málaga, Spain, renowned for its culture and architectural beauty, claimed Murphy as its adopted son. Málaga had embraced him since he took his first sabbatical there in 1999 to finish a book about one of Spain’s most revered poets and Nobel laureate, Vicente Aleixandre. Vicente Aleixandre’s Stream of Poetic Consciousness was cited as the second-greatest breakthrough on Aleixandre. He also edited and introduced a Modern Library pocket edition of Aleixandre’s work as a part of a malagueño initiative to put the work of great Spanish poets in the hands of everyday people. Murphy’s work and love for Málaga led to what he described as an “uncommon gesture of esteem” in the spring of 2007 when to his knowledge he became the first non-Spaniard to be named an honorary member of the Royal, Illustrious, and Venerable Sacramental Brotherhood of Jesus the Nazarene and of the Most Holy Mary of Rocío. He was given the privilege of joining 200 others in carrying the immense and luminous trono (float) of “the Bride of Málaga” through the streets during the city’s celebration of Holy Week. A Mass will be held in Málaga at a future date.