Marlboro College

NewsPress Release: 3/6/02Marlboro College Hosts a Festival of Epic Poetry and Story

performer in Marlboro's Festival of Epic PoetryMARLBORO, VERMONT -- Marlboro College will be hosting a Festival of Epic Poetry and Story, featuring modern bards and storytellers, from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 5, and from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 6, in the Whittemore Theater on campus.

Each performance will be approximately two hours long. Epics from a wide array of cultures spanning from East to West will be performed, including such works as "The Mahabharata" by Drew Gibson, "Psyche and Eros" by Megan Wells, "Adi, the song of Agan" by Regina Ress, and "Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth" by Dianne Wolkstein.

The Epic Fest will also include a panel discussion entitled, "Performing the Traditional Epic in a Modern World," and a presentation by Marlboro's own professor of philosophy Neil Weiner on "The Hero in Greek Philosophy and Poetry."

Weiner joined the Marlboro faculty in 1970, after being a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at the University of Chicago and a Danforth Fellow at the University of Texas where he did his doctoral work on Plato. His teaching at Marlboro places special emphasis on the history of philosophy for, as he argues, "the study of history of thought stretches our minds so as to make us encompass possibilities of thought and action quite different from our own. Without understanding them, we cannot understand ourselves. But philosophy is not history. In the end, historical imagination must bow to relevance and simple truth."

Gibson is a master of the tale, be it home-grown 1800s American history or stories from the epic Mahabharata. Gibson has performed at festivals, historical events, seminars, schools, and churches. He received his B.A. in comparative literature from Brown University, and a master's in theater from the University of Texas. Audiences have marveled at his ability to single-handedly make epics with casts of thousands "come to life."

Wells is renowned for her precision, passion, and mythic style. With a repertoire including Greek, Nordic, Chicago, world history, ghost stories, and original tales, this award-winning artist has garnered Chicago's prestigious Joseph Jefferson Award for Excellence in Directing (1986), two national awards for storytelling (1999), The EdPress Distinguished Achievement Award, and Parent's Choice Gold from Parent's Magazine. Wells has been a professional storyteller for more than 10 years and has traveled the country telling tales in libraries and schools. She holds a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. in theater arts.

Ress has been tale-telling for more than 30 years in venues including the White House and Central Park, New York. She has taught workshops for teachers on the use of storytelling to teach literacy, environmental education, multicultural studies, and conflict resolution. Her performance, "Adi," is an epic that was a living part of an oral tradition in Borneo that has largely been destroyed in the last few decades due to industrial deforestation. Preceding the performance will be a presentation by the woman who did the actual ethnographic work in Borneo, discovering and saving this and other pieces of traditional oral literature.

Wolkstein is known for her in-depth and meticulous research, as well as her amazing versatility. The awards and honors she has received require more than a page to list. She has been featured by Charles Kurault for her storytelling in Central Park and her 25 years of teaching, performing, and writing. She is the author of 21 award-winning books of folklore, including The Magic Orange Tree and Inanna. She teaches mythology at New York University and gives workshops on storytelling worldwide.

The Whittemore Theater is fully accessible. Tickets are $10 for each performance or $25 for the entire two-day festival. Panel discussions are free to ticket-holders.

For more information or to order tickets, contact Drew Gibson at (888) 240-8381 or drewgibson@snet.net. Or send a check payable to "Epic Fest," c/o 145 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06851. Further information, such as program updates or lodging information, is available at http://www.epicfest.org.

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