Performing Arts Assistant Professor Magda Romanska recently won the 2010 Gerald Kahan Scholar's Prize from the American Society for Theatre Research for her essay titled “Between History and Memory: Auschwitz in Akropolis, Akropolis in Auschwitz.”
The annual award is given under the category of “Best Essay Written and Published in English in a Refereed Scholarly Journal. The essay can be on any subject in theater research, broadly construed.” Romanska's essay was published in Theatre Survey and it is part of a book project she is completing. The book, Theatre and Meaning: The Strange Case of Kantor and Grotowski, compares and contrasts the ways that both directors represent the Holocaust.
The winning essay is judged as “displaying originality in the broad field of theatre and performance, exhibiting critical rigor, showing an acquaintance with related research in theatre and performance, and promising future professional development in the field.”
In the words of the selection committee, Romanska’s essay offers, “an excellent unpacking of both Stanislaw Wyspianski’s 1904 drama, Akropolis, and its production history.
Her essay made use of extensive sources to tell a complicated story-layered text, performance, and context, paying attention to the original script as well as performances, especially, those directed by Jerzy Grotowski.”
“The essay provides a missing, though essential, analysis of a production that is often cited, but perhaps rarely understood in its full context. The methods of historiography and documentary analysis are excellent and provide an instructive model for future performance scholarship.”
The American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) is a U.S.–based professional organization that fosters scholarship on worldwide theater and performance, both historical and contemporary. Theatre Survey provides rigorous historical and theoretical studies of performance across all periods, cultures, and methodologies. It is considered the foremost journal in the field.