Audition for Life is a Dream (Wesleyan Spring Department Show)

The Wesleyan Department of Theater’s Faculty Production:
Written by: Pedro Calderón de la Barca
Directed by: Visiting Assistant Professor of Theater Shira Milikowsky
Performance Dates: Friday, May 4 – Sunday, May 6, 2018

“This life’s so strange
Living it is just a dream.”

The palace is a prison. Or the prison is a palace. Segismundo was sentenced to solitary confinement, no parole, on the day of his birth. (The sentencing judge was his father.) Rosaura was abandoned by her lover, so she got on her horse and she followed him – to Poland. Clotaldo can’t tell the difference between his head and his heart, Estrella learns all the wrong lessons at all the wrong times, and Astolfo just wants to be King. It’s the end of the Empire as we know it, and absolutely no-one feels fine.

Auditions are open to ALL Wesleyan students, with one full academic credit rewarded to those who act in the performance.

*We are looking to cast an ensemble that reflects the diversity of students within our community. All artists are invited to audition and will be considered for parts equally regardless of gender identity, race, or sexual orientation.*

Thursday, February 1 from 6pm-10pm
Friday, February 2 from 6pm-10pm
Saturday, February 3 from 12pm-4pm
Room: TST001 (Theater Studios)

Sign up for an audition slot here:

1) Please read the play (a close read is not necessary, a quick skim is OK.) We will discuss it a little!
2) Choose one of these sides (that most excite you) and prepare to perform it.
NOTE: It does not need to be memorized but familiarized. We’ll work on it together.
3) Fill out audition form upon arrival at the audition.

Sides can be found here:

Please direct any questions to Stage Manager Pryor Krugman (

Apply for a Spring Writing Mentor (Deadline 2/5)

A Writing Mentor is a writing tutor who works steadily with a student for a full semester. Students like the arrangement because it feels private, and the mentor and student often develop a close working relationship.

The deadline for students to apply for a mentor is Monday, February 5th, at 9:00AM.

Students can find complete information on the “Apply for a Writing Mentor” page on the Writing Workshop Web site, along with an application form.

Apply for a College of the Environment Internship (Deadline 2/19)

The College of the Environment offers internships for undergrad students to undertake research under the guidance of a Wesleyan faculty or other mentor during the Summer or Fall, 2018 and for the Spring, 2019.  The projects must relate to any of the broad themes covered by Environmental Studies and the College of the Environment. These internships are available to students across the entire University regardless of major or class-year.  The internships may be undertaken at Wesleyan or off-campus.

The summer internship will run from May 30, 2018 – July 27, 2018.  Internships are also available for Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters.  Fall internships may extend into the spring semester but Spring internships must be completed in the spring semester.

The deadline for applications is due on or before Monday, February 19, 2018, 5pm, allowing us to announce internship candidates by Friday, March 9th, prior to spring break.

Please submit the applications online at Under the Wesleyan University Internships tab, select “2018-2019 Internship Application.” Complete and submit by the application due date.

The student application must include two short letters of recommendation.  In addition to recommending the student, the faculty mentor must briefly (1-2 paragraphs) explain the project, its importance and relevance to her/his research program.  Letters of recommendation must be delivered to Ms. Valerie Marinelli, Administrative Assistant, College of the Environment by email (pdf preferred) to

The applications, including statements by faculty, will be judged by the oversight and awards committee. Award decisions will be announced prior to spring break.

For further information, please contact Valerie Marinelli at (860) 685-3733.

New ENGL Course: From Courtly Love to Cannibalism: Medieval Romances

ENGL 373: From Courtly Love to Cannibalism: Medieval Romances 
MW 2:50-4

Romance is the narrative form of medieval sexualities and courtly love, but it also gives literary shape to social worlds in which a queer protagonist loses gender, skin color changes with religion, and a dog might be the hero of a tale. We will begin with texts that date from the Romance’s origins in 12th-century France and continue with the form’s development up to the well-known Middle English texts of the 14th century, including Sir Gawain and the Green Knight set at King Arthur’s court. Some of the topics we will consider are Romance’s engagement with the religious and ethnic conflicts of the Crusades, theories of good and bad government, and of course, Christian mysticism and the Holy Grail.


Béroul, Romance of Tristan
Chretien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances
Marie de France, Lais
Aucassin and Nicolette
The Quest of the Holy Grail
Romance of Silence
Song of Roland
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Orfeo (Online)
The King of Tars (Online)
Richard Coer de Lyon (Online)

New Course: Obscure Enigma of Desire

FIST232/MDST232  Obscure Enigma of Desire
Jeff Rider
MW 10:50AM-12:10PM; FISK210

This course is an introduction to the study of the ways we create meanings when we read texts. It will focus on several deliberately obscure literary texts from twelfth-century France and will examine them in the light of the classical and medieval concepts of enigma, the marvelous (wonderful), fabula, and allegory as well as some modern theoretical works about how we understand narratives. We will seek to understand why deliberate obscurity is an important part of literature and how medieval authors created narratives that seem particularly meaningful precisely because they are obscure. We will consider why we feel these texts have meaning and the ways in which we make them meaningful to us.

This course will be co-taught in parallel with a course (in English) on the same subject offered at the Charles University in Prague by Professor Lucie Dolezalova. About half of the classes will be conducted together with the class in Prague through teleconferencing and Professor Dolezalova will teach one week of the course at Wesleyan and meet with students while she is here.


  • Marie de France, Lais
  • Chrétien de Troyes, The Knight of the Cart (Lancelot) and The Story of the Grail
  • The Quest for the Holy Grail
  • Aristotle, Poetics (excerpts)
  • Cicero, On the Orator and On Invention (excerpts)
  • Rhetorica ad Herennium (excerpts)
  • Quintillian, The Oratorical Education (excerpts)
  • Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights (excerpts)
  • Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, On the Trinity, Questions Concerning the Heptateuch, and Expositions of the Psalms (excerpts)
  • Isidore of Seville, Etymologies (excerpts)
  • Aldhelm of Malmesbury, Enigmas (excerpts)
  • Abelard, Christian Theology (excerpts)
  • William of Conches, Commentaries on Boethius’s “Consolation of Philosophy” (excerpts)
  • Hugh of Saint-Victor, On the Three Days, On Meditation, and Didascalicon (excerpts)
  • Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles  and Summa Theologica (excerpts)
  • Eleanor Cook, Enigmas and Riddles in Literature (excerpts)
  • Rita Copeland and Stephen Melville, “Allegory and Allegoresis, Rhetoric and Hermeneutics”
  • Joseph Dane, “Integumentum as Interpretation”
  • Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics (excerpts)
  • Peter Dronke, Fabula: Explorations into the Uses of Myth in Medieval Platonism (excerpts)
  • Louis Mink, “History and Fiction as Modes of Comprehension”
  • Karl F. Morrison, “Hermeneutics and Enigma: Bernard of Clairvaux’s De consideratione
  • Paul Ricoeur, “Metaphor and Hermeneutics,” “The Hermeneutical Function of Distanciation,” “What is a Text?” and “Appropriation”
  • Winthrop Wetherbee, Platonism and Poetry in the Twelfth Century (excerpts)
  • Jan Ziolkowski, “Theories of Obscurity in the Latin Tradition”

Call for Submissions of Art/Performance on Disruption/Disaster

The College of the Environment Think Tank is inviting proposals for creative work on the theme of “Disaster” and the ways in which humans confront or survive disasters, to be shared with the public on Friday, March 2, 2018 in the Memorial Chapel as part of an event hosted by the COE Think Tank.

Below is the description of the themes we are working with.  Proposals can be submitted for the creation of new work, or for existing work.

We are able to offer $200 honoraria. In addition to sharing the work at the March 2 event, we will ask you to talk about your project in 8-10 minute presentation with time for audience to respond and ask questions.

Proposals are due by Thursday, February 1, midnight.

Submit to: Katja Kolcio –

Selection will be determined by Tuesday, February 6. Work must be completed by Monday, February 26 and the event will take place Friday, March 2, afternoon-evening.

Please include:

Your full name
Wesleyan University Email Address
Your Wesleyan University P.O Box # (for payment purposes only)
Your Wesleyan University ID # (for payment purposes only)
Your class year and major(s) if you have declared.
Are you an international student? (for payment purposes only)
A 300 word (maximum) description of the work. A sample of the work or other relevant work if such exists.
A description of the format and technical requirements (Performance? Exhibit? Video? Music? Etc?)


Since its inception, the Earth has had a violent history of disruption and disasters.  Volcanic eruptions, transformations of the atmosphere, meteoritic collisions, mass extinctions, moving glaciers, plagues, disease, wars, politics and belief systems are but some of the perturbations, natural and otherwise, that disrupt the dynamic processes of the earth and all life that has lived on it. Natural and anthropogenic perturbations across a range of scales set the Earth, ecosystems and human communities onto different courses.  While disruptions and disasters have been an integral part of the history and evolution of the planet, the relationship between humans and their environment continues to evolve as perturbations shift in frequency, magnitude and type.  These perturbations arise from both non-anthropogenic  and anthropogenic  sources.  But there is also a growing human-environment interaction that leads to disruptions and disasters at a variety of scales.  While some of the anthropogenic factors depend upon technological advances (e.g., nuclear radiation) other factors are ancient (e.g., the use of fire to clear large areas for agricultural purposes, such as in Ukraine, Indonesia or South America).

Our current world offers a series of profound challenges to humanity.  We are pushing our world towards a tipping point of climate change by our changes to the carbon cycle and use of fossil fuels. The social-political-ethnic-religious theater of rivalries and conflict intensifies as the environmental stage rotates. The biochemical machinery of humans and the biological world is now constantly challenged by exposure to a bewildering array of microbes, chemical, and other disturbance agents—to which, humans and other Earth inhabitants must continually adapt. In all of this, the human-environment relationship is cyclical. Both parts of the relationship manifest change in the other setting up an ever changing dynamic.

The 2017-2018 College of the Environment Think Tank will focus upon how humanity will confront and take measure of the human-environment relationship from diverse perspectives of biochemistry, ecology, socio-political-religious, somatics, art, and embodiment.

Thank you,

2017-18 Think Tank Members

Katja Kolcio, Chair and Professor of Dance
Ishita Mukerji, Professor of Integrative Science and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Marguerite Nguyen, Assistant Professor of English and East Asian Studies
Eiko Otake, Menakka and Essel Bailey ’66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment
Helen Poulos, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environment Studies