Archive for May 14th, 2009

princeton bandIs Virginia Woolf fun? Most people don’t think of her that way, but she definitely had a fun, playful side.

That side will be center stage when the band Princeton and the Stephen Pelton Dance Theater combine to present “it was this: it was this:”, songs and dance inspired by the life and work of Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group, at this year’s 19th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf.

The performance, June 5 at 8 p.m., is being billed as “Southern California frolic meets Northern California serious in a one-night-only collaboration of song and dance.”

It will be held at Pope Auditorium, 113 W 60th St. on the Fordham University campus in New York City, and tickets are still available.

Princeton will perform all of the songs from their recent album titled “Bloomsbury.” Each song presents a musical portrait of a member of the Bloomsbury group, including Leonard Woolf, Lytton Strachey, Virginia Woolf and John Maynard Keynes.

The band, comprised of twin brothers Jesse and Matt Kivel and Ben Usen, will be joined by eight additional musicians in recreating their frolicsome, exuberant take on the cast of Bloomsbury characters.

The Stephen Pelton Dance Theater, known for known its intimate theatricality and emotional intensity, may be familiar to audiences from previous Woolf conferences.

This year the company will perform several new works, including the premiere of “it was this: it was this:”, a choreographic study of Woolf’s punctuation. Using a single paragraph from To the Lighthouse, the company dances its way from the first word to the last, pausing briefly for every comma, parentheses and semicolon in between. The company also performs a revised version of “The Death of the Moth,” first seen at the Plymouth State Conference in 1997.

The artists will combine forces for the premiere of Lytton/Carrington, a portrait-in-miniature of this original love story.

“What is most interesting to me in this collaboration with Princeton, is how remarkably different our approaches to Woolf are,” Pelton writes.” I suspect that some of this may be attributable to the fact that we are from completely different generations—I am in my mid-forties, they in their early twenties. Their sweet, light-hearted and, at times, irreverent response to the material would have been unthinkable to me twenty years ago when I started to read Woolf and make dances inspired by her.

“Though they are always respectful, their songs embrace the playful spirit in Woolf’s work and in the lives of her colleagues; whereas I have tended to focus my response on the gravity of Woolf’s concerns. This contrast should make for a very fascinating evening in the theater.”

The performance will be part of Woolf and the City, the 19th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, held June 4 to 7 at Fordham.

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RESThe editors of The Review of English Studies invite contributions to the RES Essay Prize on any topic of English literature or the English language from medieval times to the twentieth century.

The winner will receive:

  • Publication of the winning essay in The Review of English Studies
  • A cash prize of £250
  • £250 worth of Oxford University Press books
  • A free year’s subscription to The Review of English Studies

How to enter

  • Get the online entry guidelines and full details of the competition rules.
  • Submit your essay through the online submission system. Access the system and submit your paper.

Contest details

  • Word limit: 10,000 maximum
  • Submission deadline: 30 September 2009

For more information, visit the RES Essay Prize Web page. Read past winning essays for free here.

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