Today, I went to the Theatre and Religion Focus Group meeting at the annual conference of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. It was the start of a day dominated by those two topics: theatre and religion.
In the afternoon, there was a roundtable discussion of the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. Though the museum does have a theatre, the panelists were discussing museums as theatre. Though initially the museum aimed to evangelize, by the time it opened, its mission changed to simply informing people about the Bible. The general consensus of the panelists who had visited the museum was that the museum (while it could have been worse) celebrated the Bible's history without engaging with that history in a meaningful critical way,
After the roundtable, I presented my own paper, "Assassination Discovered: Revolutionary Implications of Revelation Scenes in Baillie's De Monfort and Coleridge's Remorse." The paper was part of a panel entitled "Catastrophe: Performance That Revolutionizes." I was happy to share the stage with Alley Edlebi, who spoke about Samuel Beckett, and Joy Palacios, who discussed the priest Jacques-Andre Emery. Joy's paper and mine were very much in conversation, since they were both about responses to the French Revolution.
Following my own panel, I went to hear a paper by Shiraz Biggie on poetry as performance among Irish immigrants. Also on her panel were Tova Markenson, who spoke about objections to Yiddish theatre in Argentina because of its alleged ties to prostitution, and Alicia Hernandez Grande, who delivered her paper via Skype on street protests of the Catalan independence movement. Rounding out the panel was Gina di Salvo, who spoke about court cases in Jacobean Britain over performances that were part of May Day and Twelfth Night celebrations.
The conference continues on Saturday and Sunday, but my papers are over, so I'm looking forward to attending the Theatre History Focus Group meeting and relaxing a bit!