Featuring Soyica Colbert, Diep Tran, Brian Eugenio Herrera, and Miriam Felton-Dansky. This panel will explore the changes taking place in criticism today by reckoning with especially useless, misunderstood, or noxious words. After a series of brief presentations, the participants will launch out on a lively discussion about the roles and responsibilities of criticism in this revolutionary moment.
Soyica Colbert is the Vice Dean of Faculty and Idol Family Professor of African American and Theatre and Performance Studies at Georgetown University. She is also an Associate Director at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. Colbert is the author of The African American Theatrical Body: Reception, Performance and the Stage and Black Movements: Performance and Cultural Politics . Colbert edited the Black Performance special issue of African American Review and co-edited The Psychic Hold of Slavery and Race and Performance After Repetition. She is currently completing a book project, Radical Vision: A Biography of Lorraine Hansberry (forthcoming from Yale University Press in March 2021).
Diep Tran is an arts journalist and editor in NYC. She was previously the features editor of Broadway.com and the senior editor of American Theatre magazine, where she led the creation and launch of AmericanTheatre.org, the first official website for the magazine. She recently co-founded a media company called Token Theatre Friends, where she is creating original essays, podcasts and videos. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, NBC, Playbill, CNN, Hello Giggles, Time Out New York, Backstage, and Salon, among other publications. She is a judge for the 2020 Obie Awards and is a 2020 Drama Desk Award voter.
Brian Eugenio Herrera is, by turns, a writer, teacher and scholar – presently based in New Jersey, but forever rooted in New Mexico. Brian’s work, whether academic or artistic, examines the history of gender, sexuality and race within and through U.S. popular performance. He is author of The Latina/o Theatre Commons 2013 National Convening: A Narrative Report (HowlRound, 2015). His book Latin Numbers: Playing Latino in Twentieth-Century U.S. Popular Performance (Michigan, 2015) was awarded the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism and received an Honorable Mention for the John W. Frick Book Award from the American Theatre and Drama Society. With Stephanie Batiste and Robin Bernstein, Brian serves as co-editor of “Performances and American Cultures” series at NYU Press. Also a performer, Brian’s autobiographical storywork performances (including I Was the Voice of Democracy and TouchTones) have been presented in venues large and small across the United States, as well as Beirut and Abu Dhabi. Brian is also the Inaugural Resident Scholar for The Sol Project, an initiative dedicated to producing the work of Latinx playwrights in New York City and beyond; is a longstanding contributor to the Fornés Institute, a project committed to preserving and amplifying the legacy of María Irene Fornés; and is part of the Core Facilitation Team with ArtEquity, an organization dedicated to creating and sustaining a culture of equity and inclusion through the arts. Brian is presently at work on two scholarly book projects: Next! A Brief History of Casting, a historical study of the material practices of casting in US popular performance, and Starring Miss Virginia Calhoun, a narrative portrait of a deservedly obscure early 20th century actress/writer/producer. Brian Eugenio Herrera is Associate Professor of Theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, where he is also a core faculty member in the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies and a faculty affiliate with the Programs in American Studies, Music Theater and Latino Studies.
Miriam Felton-Dansky is a critic and scholar of contemporary performance, and the author of Viral Performance: Contagious Theaters from Modernism to the Digital Age (Northwestern University Press, 2018). She is Associate Professor of Theater & Performance at Bard College and Associate Director of Bard’s Theater & Performance Program. A former Village Voice theater critic, her writing has recently appeared in publications such as TDR, Theatre Survey, Theater, Artforum.com, ASAP/J, and the Walker Art Center’s digital magazine. Beginning in winter 2020-21, she will join the cohosting team for the theater studies podcast On TAP. As a contributing editor for Theater magazine, she served as guest coeditor for the Digital Dramaturgies trilogy (2012-2018). She is currently writing a book about spectatorship in contemporary American performance.