Friday, May 3, 2013

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Get a Load of Interesting Information

            On May 3, 2013, Frostburg State University held “The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Symposium Abstracts” in the Lane Center. The event lasted from 10 am to 2pm. In the Lane Center, the first floor is where the event took place. In the lobby area, on the first floor, there were two tables joined as one to provide anyone with information and booklets about the event. At the table, there were four women nicely greeting anyone approaching the table or going towards the Alice R. Manicur Assembly Hall. When approaching the table and facing the four women, looking at the background behind them was a beautiful bright sunny shinning day that looked across at the Pullen Hall building and people outside walking.

Walking into the Alice R. Manicur Assembly Hall, there were tables with exhibits from the different academic departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and persons standing by the exhibits to explain more of what a visiting person would want to know about the departments and information on the exhibit.

There were speakers every thirty minutes in Lane Center rooms 111 and 113.

An interesting oral presentation that took place in Lane Center room 111 was by speaker Dana Bridges Bohrer, speaking on “The Grand Guignol Theatre: Venue of Social Change and Spectacle,” being an influential theater in the 20th century.

Entering the Lane Center room 111, the back of the neatly rows of chairs were the first thing to see when entering through the door. All the chairs were facing the screen where Dana Bridges Bohrer’s PowerPoint presentation projected on reading, “The Grand Guignol Theater: Venue of Social Change and Spectacle.”

The presentation began with Dana Bridges Bohrer introducing herself and going right into her presentation.

The theater was the product of cultural modernism and naturalism and to open the eyes of the French, upper and middle classes, to the difficult lives of the lower class. When leadership changed hands it became a theater of horror.

By the end of the 1880’s the concept of theater changed to new ways of thinking arose because theater started to become predictable, had a view of only one class, and didn’t convey reality and creativity to where it reached the point that is was irrelevant to the lives of the people. The concept of modernism, which was the sense of old ways, expressions, and thinking were to no longer applicable to the changing scene.

In 1897, Oscar Métenier opened his theater, Grand Guignol. He intended to inspire the audience to feel sympathy for the lower class people who were betray. The name choice for the theater, Grand Guignol, showed his empathy for the lower class. The name Grand Guignol came from a popular French puppet character known as Guignol which translates to puppet show. Guignol’s character was a social commentator that criticized the upper and middle class while speaking out in favor of the lower class; adding the word Grand made it known that the performances were going to be performed by people and not by puppets.

After a year of success for Oscar Métenier, he left the Grand Guignol because he began to feel he couldn’t maintain the originality needed to keep the theater running. In 1898, Max Maurey took over directions and management at the Grand Guignol Theater. Max Maurey shifted the character of the theater from naturalism to melodrama, transitioning the venue for gore. The lower class were no longer to be empathized with but to be tortured, murdered, and victimized in order to inspired laughter and terror among the audience members.

Max Maurey had new ideas for the theater that inspired financial success rather than teaching anyone a lesson and that success was going to happen by having “‘slice-of-death’” drama. He wanted to have violent sex and spectacle while still keeping the theater alive. Indeed, the popularity of the theater grew dramatically. Max Maurey increased the brutality on the stage having the actors use animal blood and organs as props.

As presenting, Dana Bridges Bohrer used many pictures in her presentation to show the audience how these plays looked. Not only did I like the presentational aid, also did Edward Custer saying “I liked the use of photos and the slide presentation definitely aided her to cover the material.”
The Grand Guignol never portrayed plays like the supernatural but focused on the concept of the monster within us.

Having these bloody and horrifying plays, there were questions to whether it would increase the violence in the streets, shockingly there were fewer crimes.

Dana Bridges Bohrer wonderfully and effectively communicated her information and visual aid to her audience. Sophomore, Jonathan Stewart, says “To be honest I didn’t know too much about it, so it was all fairly new information to me.” Everyone left knowing something interesting about The Grand Guignol Theater.

Not knowing what to expect coming to the presentation, senior Tammi Stevens mentions, “The subject was very interesting. I learned more about theater, social classes, and more recent history.”

Just from one presentation, there was so much information and it was present very well. Go to next year’s "College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Symposium" to gain more knowledge of some interesting information you may have not known.
-LaVonne Sauls

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