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Writers and Critics performance searches for political idealism in tough economic times

In a time of economic hardship, when the writers of a revolutionary publication find their vision for the world increasingly out of reach, a woman from America’s heartland arrives to make a renewed appeal for political idealism.

So goes the general storyline of Susan Glaspell’s one-act play “The People,” which may strike today’s audiences as every bit as relevant now as the day it was written in the early 1900s. On Wednesday, Oct. 8, four noted Susan Glaspell scholars from the International Susan Glaspell Society will work with Drake University students and faculty members to perform an adaptation of the Iowa native’s play.

The concert reading of Cheryl Black’s adaptation, “Performing Bohemia,” is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. in the Cowles Library Reading Room, 2507 University Ave., and is free and open to the public. A reception with refreshments will follow.

Black, a professor of theatre at the University of Missouri and member of the International Susan Glaspell Society’s executive council, expands Glaspell’s script with material from The Masses, a real Greenwich Village-area publication for which Glaspell worked while writing the play.

” ‘Performing Bohemia’ is serious in its critique, but it’s also laugh-out-loud funny. It entertains us and gets us thinking about what we should do to effect the change we want to see in the world, especially once that activism becomes our ‘job’—day in and out,” said Amy Letter, assistant professor of English. “This is also an great opportunity for Drake English faculty members and students to hold starring roles in the production alongside internationally known Glaspell scholars.”

The event is part of the 2014-2015 Susan Glaspell Writers & Critics Series at Drake University, and is sponsored in part by a Drake alumnus who is interested in supporting the work of female authors and journalists. The series is sponsored by the Drake English Department and made possible by a grant from Drake’s Center for the Humanities.

Click here for a performance poster (PDF, 3MB)