St. Mary's College of Maryland

Upcoming Events

  • September 2
    Labor Day. No classes.
  • September 3
    Classes begin.
  • September 4
    TFMS Open House, 7:30-8:30 p.m.+, Bruce Davis Theater, MH. All welcome to attend. Mandatory for theater studies and film/media studies majors.
  • September 9
    Seventh Annual TFMS Film Series, with Caroline Martel, "The Phantom of the Operator," 8:15 p.m., Cole Cinema, Campus Center. Free and open to the public.


2012 - 2013
Season & Events

Box Office

For Reservations:
240-895-4243 or e-mail
Box Office Manager:
Allison Wengler

For our assisted hearing patrons: The Bruce Davis Theater is equipped with a hearing assistance system. If you would like assistance, please ask one of the Box Office managers for a receiver when you pick up and pay for your tickets. Students who require a receiver will be asked to leave their student ID at the Box Office until the receiver is returned; non-students will be asked to leave their driver's license.

TFMS Alumni
Where Are They Now?

Megan Rippey

Megan Rippey (class of 2008, B.A. women, gender, and sexuality studies, minor in theater studies) recently completed her M.F.A. in acting at the California Institute of the Arts (class of 2013).


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Mark A. Rhoda
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2012-2013 Season and Events

Sixth Annual TFMS Film Series: Ethnography & Alterity

Weekly Monday evening screenings
October 1, 15, & 22 at 8:15 p.m.
Cole Cinema, Campus Center
Free and open to the public

Film series poster design by Drama Queen Graphics,

  \eth-nog-ruh-fee, ɛθˈnɒgrəfi \ noun: a branch of anthropology dealing with the scientific description of individual cultures.

al·ter·i·ty  \ȯl-ˈter-ə-tē, -ˈte-rə-\ noun: otherness; specifically: the quality or state of being radically alien to the conscious self or a particular cultural orientation.

Drama Queen Graphics Film Series PosterTFMS’s Sixth Annual FILM SERIES will focus the work of ethnographic filmmakers whose subjects are as diverse as scrapyard residents eking out a living in the blighted neighborhood of Brooklyn’s Willets Point, elementary school children performing “Uncle Vanya,” and a homecoming to Ghana fraught with questions about storytelling and representation. Participants will include anthropologist J.P. Sniadecki (“Foreign Parts,” 2010); experimental and documentary filmmaker Sasha Waters Freyer (“Chekhov for Children,” 2010); and documentarian Kwame Braun (“passing girl; riverside—An Essay on Camera Work,” 1998).

The following screening schedule is subject to change. All screenings take place in Cole Cinema, Campus Center, on the SMCM campus, and are free and open to the public.

Paravel & J.P. Sniadecki
Verena Paravel“Foreign Parts”
Monday, October 1
8:15 p.m., Cole Cinema

Véréna Paravel is a French anthropologist and filmmaker. She made her first short video, “7 Queens” (2008) at the Harvard University Sensory Ethnography Lab. She has recently completed “Interface Series” (2009), five short videos shot entirely through Skype. Her work—screened in Boston, Paris, and New York City's Amie and Tony James Gallery—explores evanescent forms of intimacy, mediation, and space and draws on experimental ethnography. Since 2009, she has been a fellow at the Film Study Center and a postdoctoral associate of the Sensory Ethnography Lab, Harvard University.

John Paul (J.P.) Sniadecki is a filmmaker and a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at Harvard University. His films have shown around the world and have J.P. Sniadeckireceived several awards, including the 2009 Joris Ivens Award at the Cinéma du réel Film Festival for his 2008 documentary "Chaiqian"   ("Demolition"), which focuses on migrant labor and urban space in Chengdu, China. He is also a chief organizer and curator of Emergent Visions, a film series that screens new independent cinema from the People's Republic of China. A Blakemore Foundation Fellow, he currently lives in Beijing and is involved in a number of film and research projects. His filmography includes: “Foreign Parts” (2010), with Véréna Paravel; “The Yellow Bank” (2010); “Sichuan Triptych” (2010); and “Songhua” (2007).

“Foreign Parts” (2010) explores the neighborhood of Willets Point, Brooklyn, an industrial zone fated for demolition in the shadow of the New York Mets' new stadium. Filled with scrapyards and auto salvage shops, lacking sidewalks or sewage lines, the area seems ripe for urban development. But “Foreign Parts” discovers a community of workers and residents, where wrecks, refuse, and recycling form a thriving commerce. The film observes and captures the struggle of a contested "eminent domain" neighborhood before its disappearance under the capitalization of New York's urban ecology.

Web link for Véréna Paravel & J.P. Sniadecki:

Sasha Waters Freyer
Sasha Waters Freyer“Chekhov for Children”
Monday, October 15
8:15 p.m., Cole Cinema

Sasha Waters Freyer is a filmmaker, mother, teacher, and amateur dressmaker. Her experimental and documentary films have featured dominatrixes, coal miners, artists, children, activists — inhabitants of the margins of our mediated landscapes — critical margins that are, in the words of Wendell Berry, “always freeholds of wildness.”

Following its world premiere at the 2010 Telluride Film Festival, her documentary “Chekhov for Children” had its New York premiere in the Independents Night series at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in October 2010 and its international premiere at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in February 2011.

Her videos and 16mm films and have screened widely in the U.S. and abroad, including on the Sundance Channel, the Tribeca, Woodstock, Chicago Underground, and Ann Arbor Film Festivals, the National Museum for Women in Arts, the L.A. Film Forum, Kassel Documentary Festival, and Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin. Her award-winning 2003 documentary, “Razing Appalachia,” about a community fight against strip mining in Blair, West Virginia, was broadcast in the U.S. on the acclaimed PBS series “Independent Lens” and in more than 30 countries globally as a part of the ITVS series: “True Stories: Life in the U.S.A.”

Since 2000, Waters Freyer has taught film and video in the Department of Cinema & Comparative Literature at the University of Iowa, where she is the director of film and video production and an associate professor.

“Chekhov for Children” (2010) tells the story of an ambitious undertaking—the 1979 staging on Broadway of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” by New York City 5th & 6th graders (from P.S. 75), directed by the celebrated writer Phillip Lopate. Using never-before-screened student documentary videos and super 8mm films from the era, “Chekhov for Children” explores the interplay between art and life for a dozen friends (including the filmmaker) across 30 years.

Web link for Sasha Waters Freyer:

Kwame Braun
Kwame Braun“passing girl; riverside – An Essay on Camera Work”
Monday, October 22
8:15 p.m., Cole Cinema

Kwame Braun is a documentary filmmaker, specializing in performance.  His African videos—“passing girl; riverside” and “Stageshakers!,” a history of the "concert party" itinerant theater in Ghana, West Africa—have screened at international ethnographic film festivals, including New York City’s Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival.  After a career as a scenic artist in theater and television, he attended New York University’s M.F.A. program in film and television, graduating in 1988. He has previously taught film and video production at Chicago’s Columbia College, UCLA, and UC-Santa Barbara. In recent years, in addition to creating video projections for theater and dance, he has produced, in collaboration with film scholar Janet Walker, “Video Portraits of Survival, Volumes I and II,” the first of a collection of student-made video portraits of Holocaust refugees and survivors in Santa Barbara, the second a further collection of video portraits he made with Walker and filmmaker Renée Bergen. Both collections premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, in 2006 and 2007, respectively. His current project is a series of video interviews for “Fiat Lux Redux,” an upcoming exhibition of selections from the more than 6,000 images that photographer Ansel Adams made of the University of California system for its centennial celebration in 1968. Braun lives in Berkeley, CA with his wife, theater scholar Catherine Cole, and their son, Aaron.

In 1994, Braun returned to his birthplace in Ghana, West Africa, as a Fulbright "Artist-at-Large." There he shot footage for his first documentary, “Stageshakers!,” in collaboration with Catherine Cole. The video “passing girl; riverside – An Essay on Camera Work” is the first completed piece to come out of his Ghanaian experience. This experimental video essay probes the complexities of video as a tool for cross-cultural research and representation, examining the implications of anthropological image-making.

The Department of Theater, Film, and Media Studies would like to thank the following for its generous support of the Sixth Annual TFMS Film Series: Lecture and Fine Arts of St. Mary's College of Maryland, the departments of English and anthropology, and the cross-disciplinary study areas in women, gender, and sexuality studies and African and African Diaspora studies.

Laughing at Life: A Performance of Kyôgen Plays

various authors in translation
conceived and directed by Holly A. Blumner

LAUGHING AT LIFE poster design by Drama Queen Graphics,

Bruce Davis Theater, Montgomery Hall Fine Arts Center
Nov. 8-10 & 15-17 at 8:00 p.m, Nov. 11 & 18 at 2:00 p.m.

CONGRATULATIONS to cast, crew, and director Holly A. Blumner of "Laughing at Life: A Performance of Kyôgen Plays" for the show's selection to perform at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) region 2 festival, January 15, 2013. Of the 90 productions from southwest NY, PA, NJ, DE, MD, Washington, D.C., northern VA, WV, and OH entered in the region 2 adjudication process, only 28 were recommended for festival competition. Of those 28, only eight were selected to perform at Towson. TFMS's own "Laughing at Life" was one of those eight productions! HUZZAHS!

Busu"Laughing at Life" shares honors with the 2000 production of Indian playwright Girish Karnad's "Naga-Mandala: Play with a Cobra," directed by professor emerita Merideth Taylor, which was invited to perform at the KCACTF region 2 competition at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. in January 2001.

The four kyôgen that traveled to Towson and performed as part of "Laughing at Life" include: "Busu" ("Delicious Poison"); "Iroha" ("Learning the Alphabet," performed in Japanese with English supertitles); "Utsubozaru" ("The Monkey-Bow Quiver"); and "Bôshibari" ("Tied to a Pole"). Festival dates are January 12-16, 2013. (Photographs courtesy Bill Wood; pictured "Busu," with Simone Lieban Levine and Katie Henry; "The Monkey-Bow Quiver," with Christopher Joyce; and "Tied to a Pole," with Emma Kaufman and Nick Huber.)

Drama Queen Graphics Laughing at Life kyogen posterSynopses of the plays:

"Busu" (translated by Holly A. Blumner) -- The Master has an appointment away from home, but does not trust his servants while he's away. He warns them to stay away from busu, "a poison so deadly that the faintest scent blowing on a breeze can kill you instantly." Somehow, the servants manage to get into the poison. When the Master returns, he finds his house is destroyed. The servants try to explain what happened in their Master's absence, but the Master is not amused.

The Monkey-Bow Quiver"Iroha" (English supertitles by Holly A. Blumner) -- In this short play, a parent tells its child that s/he is nearly ready to start school. In preparation for its schooling, the parent tries to teach its child the alphabet, but the child keeps interrupting with irrelevancies. The parent insists that the child repeat everything, and the child complies, right down to mimicking the parent's every action. Finally the parent runs out of patience and knocks the child down. The child, in turn, knocks the parent down and runs off triumphantly, claiming victory in this battle of wills.

"Utsubozaru" (translated by Holly A. Blumner) -- A daimyô, or feudal lord, is out hunting in the countryside and sees a monkey with beautiful fur. He asks the monkey trainer to lend him the monkey, so he can cover his bow-quiver with its fur. The monkey trainer refuses because this would mean killing his monkey. Exercising his rank, the daimyô demands the monkey fur. Under threat of death, the monkey trainer finally capitulates; but just as he is about to strike his monkey, he is spared from the deed by an innocent act of the animal. The daimyô learns a lesson, compassion, and the potentially tragic turns to celebration.

Tied to a Pole"Bôshibari" (translated by Julie A. Iezzi) -- The Master needs to leave the house, but does not trust his servants to stay out of his sake. He learns that his servant Jirô Kaja has been learning self-defense with a pole and asks him to demonstrate. As Jirô Kaja demonstrates his "pole technique," the Master ties him to the pole. He then ties up Tarô Kaja. Secure in the knowledge that neither Jirô Kaja nor Tarô Kaja will get into his sake, he leaves. Not to be outwitted, the servants manage to find a way to drink despite being tied up. As they drink more, they sing and dance. The Master comes home and they see his reflection in a sake cup. Thinking they are hallucinating, they make up an insulting song about their Master. They then realize it's not a hallucination . . . .

On the Move! Dance for the 21st Century (a TFMS dance concert)

conceived, directed, and with original choreography by Leonard Cruz
featuring other works by Marcia King Bailey, Donna Jordan, and SMCM students

ON THE MOVE poster design by Drama Queen Graphics,

Bruce Davis Theater, Montgomery Hall Fine Arts Center
Feb. 27-March 2 at 8:00 p.m., March 3 at 2:00 p.m.

On the Move! (dance concert)TFMS is proud to welcome Leonard Cruz to its faculty and to the Bruce Davis main stage. Professor Cruz teaches and performs a range of traditional dance/movement and world dance forms, including modern dance, dances from the Pacific islands, and dance for the camera. He believes strongly in addressing social justice issues in his solo dance performances and in his dance/movement work with students as well as members of local communities. Drama Queen Graphics On the Move! dance concert posterProfessor Cruz has danced and toured internationally with renowned choreographer-performer Bill T. Jones, has worked closely with choreographer Pina Bausch in Essen and Wuppertal, Germany, and performed in the premiere of theater experimentalist Robert Wilson’s “Exploring King Lear.” In addition to an already-lengthy and storied international career as an educator and dance performer-choreographer, Professor Cruz continues his association with the Leonard Cruz Tanztheater in Essen, Germany, where he teaches, choreographs, and performs each summer.

ON THE MOVE!, this year’s dance theater performance, will take you into the graffitied environment of an urban subway station, where people from all walks On the Move! (dance concert)of life meet, dance, groove, and do their thing. Partly set to the mesmerizing music of Meredith Monk’s remix album and of SMCM student composer Greg Sweeney, ON THE MOVE! features original choreography by faculty members Leonard Cruz, Donna Jordan, and Marcia King Bailey, as well as SMCM students. Students, faculty, and their children round out the ensemble of dancers and performers.

Working, a musical

from the book by Studs Terkel
adapted by Stephen Schwartz & Nina Faso
with additional contributions by Gordon Greenberg
songs by Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Lin-Manuel Miranda,
Mary Rodgers, Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz, James Taylor

directed by Michael Ellis-Tolaydo
musical direction by Larry Edward Vote

WORKING poster design by Drama Queen Graphics,

Bruce Davis Theater, Montgomery Hall Fine Arts Center
April 18-20 & 25-27 at 8:00 p.m., April 21 & 28 at 2:00 p.m.

Drama Queen Graphics Working posterBased on Studs Terkel’s best-selling book of interviews with American workers, WORKING paints a vivid portrait of the men and women the world so often takes for granted and whose lives rarely make it to the musical stage: the schoolteacher, the parking lot attendant, the waitress, the millworker, the mason, the trucker, the firefighter, the housewife and stay-at-home-mom, the 99%er, just to name a handful. It’s a highly original look at the American landscape that’s simply impossible to forget.

Reservations: To reserve tickets for WORKING, contact the Theater Box Office at 240-895-4243 (ext. 4243), or e-mail Ticket prices are yet to be determined; please check back periodically for updated information. Patrons must pick up their reserved tickets at the Box Office window by 7:50 p.m. for evening performances and by 1:50 p.m. for matinee performances; otherwise, unclaimed tickets will be released for sale.
Aerial view of St. Mary's College of Maryland campus

St. Mary's College of Maryland
18952 E. Fisher Rd
St. Mary's City, MD 20686-3001