Arts & Culture

New professor brings fresh perspective to TAPS

Sarah D’Angelo hopes to incoporate Native American theater in campus performances

Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The student body was introduced to the Theatre Arts and Performance Studies department’s latest faculty addition this semester when Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies Sarah D’Angelo started teaching two classes in the department, TAPS 0230: “Acting” and TAPS 0930: “The Actor’s Instrument: Stage Movement for Actors and Directors.” 

“She is a really good complement for Kym Moore,” associate professor of theatre arts and performance studies,  said Department Chair Patricia Ybarra. “She really complements Kym in terms of her emphasis on acting pedagogy and in particular movement and voice pedagogy.”

Together, D’Angelo and Moore have been working toward improving “Acting.”

“We have already begun to change the curriculum,” Moore wrote in an email to The Herald. The course has been taught the same way for the last 30 years and was in need of a makeover. The new version “includes new texts and approaches that are already proving fruitful for the students,” Moore wrote.

D’Angelo came to Brown from Oklahoma, where she was teaching in an actor training program. A longtime professional theater artist, her projects this year include directing “In The Heights,” a musical written by “Hamilton” playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda and collaborating on an international theater action called “After Orlando.”

“After Orlando” is a theatrical anthology of two- to three-minute plays written by 50 international playwrights and curated by Caridad Svich and Missing Bolts productions that pays tribute to the June 12 Orlando shootings. It is set to run Sept. 15 to Dec. 12 in 38 different universities and theaters across the United States and the United Kingdom.

D’Angelo said she came to Brown because she was drawn to the diversity of students and faculty  and its open curriculum that “intrinsically brings different opinions and points of view” to teaching, she said. She was also impressed by the University’s indigenous studies program, which she said she believes is rooted in student demand and an administrative recognition of the need for the department.

“I have an opportunity to investigate and bring visibility to stories (at Brown) that are not often produced,” she said. One of D’Angelo’s interests is indigenous and non-western performance practices, as well as contemporary Native American theater.

D’Angelo’s goals for her time at Brown seem very much in line with the TAPS department’s own ambitions.

“We want to continue to produce work that really intersects with the critical conversation that we are having on campus in terms of diversity,” Ybarra said. “Sarah offers another voice in this conversation and not one that we’ve necessarily heard in this department.”

“She is really going to allow us to start thinking about indigenous and (Native American) drama in the department in a really embedded way,” Ybarra said. “It is pretty rare that a theater department can offer courses in Latinx, Asian-American, Native American and African-American theater and performance. Right now we’re a department that can do that.”

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