Dr. Susan Jonas explores "The Taming of the Shrew" and "My Fair Lady" with OSF patrons
OSF’s 2013 season is filled with complicated female characters. From Kate in The Taming of the Shrew, to Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, our audiences this year are bubbling with conversations. That’s why we are thrilled to welcome Dr. Susan Jonas as an instructor and one of our first Festival Noon lecturers.
Dr. Jonas is a woman of innumerable talents: she is a dramaturg, playwright, educator, entrepreneur, performer, adapter, director and activist to name a few, but perhaps most importantly, she is a pioneer for women in theatre. Dr. Jonas founded and direct The Legacy Project, which supports a variety of initiatives dedicated to restoring the contribution of women theatre artists, producers, playwrights and critics to history, the canon and the living repertory. The Legacy Project also advises theatres on play selection and is actively working to develop new work by women.
In March of 2012 Dr. Jonas and The Legacy Project teamed up with The League of Professional Theatre Women and produced a weeklong event, “Pioneering Women Producers” at City University of New York’s Martin E. Segal Theatre. Created and curated by Dr. Jonas, “Pioneering Women Producers” focused on the work of Hallie Flanagan, Margo Jones, Eva LaGallienne, Lucille Lortel and Susan Glaspell, and included presentations given by historians, biographers and scholars. In 2010, Dr. Jonas created and curated “Buried Treasure: Women Playwrights 1670-1980” at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. This event celebrated women playwrights with a selection of scenes from plays including Aphra Behn, Gertrude Stein, Maria Irene Fornes, Hannah Cowley and included several panels of scholars, including our very own Lue Morgan Douthit.
Dr. Jonas is also the co-founder and director of 50/50 in 2020, a grassroots advocacy enterprise dedicated to achieving parity for women in theatre by the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in 2020. 50/50 in 2020 points out that even today, women playwrights, directors and designers receive fewer than 20% of the professional production opportunities nationwide. Their website notes that “women in theatre, though the majority of theatre workers remain extremely under-represented on American stages, particularly at institutions with the greatest resources, and their rate of participation has remained virtually unchanged for half a century. 50/50 in 2020 seeks to empower women and men to create positive change through a variety of independent initiatives." Hailed for their advocacy, 50/50 in 2020 was named New York Theater Experience’s 2010 Person of the Year and continues to fight for parity.
Dr. Jonas has also held many other leadership positions, including Producing Director at the Classical Theatre of Harlem, Resident Dramaturg and Director of Education & Humanities at The Classic Stage Company, Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of the Knickerbocker Studio, Managing Director at the Ensemble Studio Theatre and was the Arts Analyst for the New York State Council on the Arts Theatre Program. During her ten years with the NYSCA, Dr. Jonas created countless initiatives and co-wrote the seminal “Report on the Status of Women in Theatre,” a collection of findings from a three-year national study involving over 350 theatre artists and scholars.
When not advocating for change, holding a leadership position or dramaturging, Dr. Jonas has taught and lectured at countless universities and institutions, including New York University, Carnegie Mellon, Princeton University, Connecticut College, Brooklyn College, S.U.N.Y. Stonybrook, Purchase College, Princeton University, Cooper Union, Ithaca College and Goddard College, to name a few. She is also the author of many periodicals and co-edited the sourcebook, “Dramaturgy in American Theatre” a primary text in the field for almost two decades. Dr. Jonas received her BA from Princeton University and holds a doctorate in Dramatugy and Dramatic Literature & Criticism from the Yale School of Drama.
With the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s 2013 season being so full of women, both on and off the stage, who better but Susan Jonas to teach our newest class focusing on portrayals of women? Dr. Jonas will be joining us March 30-31 to teach Plays in Conversation: My Fair Lady and The Taming of the Shrew. She will also be giving her lecture, “Happy Endings: The Paradox of Love in My Fair Lady, The Taming of the Shrew (and Other Comedies),” Saturday, March 30 at 12:00 in Carpenter Hall. For more information or to order tickets, please call the Box Office at 541-482-4331 or toll free at 1-800-219-8161. Tickets for the lecture can also be purchased here.