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Academics
November 7, 2008

Joan Copeland Performs, Drama Critics Debate

First Ever Drama Conference at SFC a Success

Joan Copeland, Broadway actress and sister of the late playwright Arthur Miller headlined the first ever American Drama Conference at St. Francis College November 7 to November 9, with a one woman performance presented in three parts representing Miller's take on their mother Augusta Barnett Miller. Copeland began with a reading from Miller's memoir Timebends: A Life, where he painted a vivid picture of Augusta. Copeland then moved to the grand piano to reprise the role of Rose Baum, based on Augusta and which Copeland played in Miller's play The American Clock. The performance concluded with an emotional reading of the ending monologue from Death of A Salesman.

"Joan looked magnificent and cast a spell over the audience as she performed," she Dr. Steven Marino, who organized the conference. "It was the highlight of an amazing three days. People who came to the College are telling me the discussions were like, 'riding to heaven on a swing,' or that 'St. Francis is just a jewel.' It certainly makes the hours of preparation worthwhile." (Watch Copeland's Performance)

More than 100 people who attended the conference also saw two other staged readings and were treated to a special panel of renowned drama critics including David Sheward, the Executive Editor of Backstage Magazine, Melissa Rose Bernardo, Staff Editor at Entertainment Weekly, Joe Dziemianowicz, Drama Critic for the New York Daily News and Toby Zinman, Theatre Critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Casey Childs, Artistic Director of Primary Stages moderated the panel which discussed topics ranging from TV and Hollywood stars coming to Broadway to how theater will be affected by the economy.

The American Drama Conference consisted of numerous panels and presentations which focused on American Playwrights like David Mamet, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee and Arthur Miller and featured spirited discussion on issue of sexuality, race and family dynamics in theater.

Christopher Bigsby of the University of East Anglia, England delivered the Keynote Address Friday, "A New Heart of Darkness" and Enoch Brater of the University of Michigan offered the Concluding Address, "Angels and Others in America: What American Playwrights Do While Waiting for Godot," Sunday Afternoon.

The American Drama conference is sponsored by the Arthur Miller Journal and St. Francis College.

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City's five boroughs and beyond.
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St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201
www.sfc.edu

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