2014/12/22

York Theater Professor Gets Impressive CUNY Recognition in Two Areas of Scholarship

York College professor Timothy Amrhein says “Theater is a multi-faceted art that combines creativity and research to form a foundation of life, learning and understanding.” That being the case, the associate professor and chair of the Department of Performing and Fine Arts, is living proof.

Amrhein will join the ranks of Distinguished CUNY Fellows at the Advanced Research Collaborative, the Graduate Center for the spring 2016. Prof. Amrhein will be one of a number of fellows who will constitute a community of scholars pursuing their independent intellectual interests, which although diverse, cluster around research themes of priority important to the CUNY institution. His appointment will be as a fellow for the spring academic period beginning January 29, 2016 through August 24, 2016.

Professor Amrhein says that while at the Graduate Center he intends to continue his work on applying and translating the ideas of minorities (specifically Latinos) into the context of American theatre in English. He will also move forward in his research of deconstructing plays in Spanish that deal with the universal theme of self-identity and work on translating them into English.

"This will also be a wonderful opportunity to work on cross-disciplinary projects with others," says Amrhein, who just days before the Fellowship news, also received a CUNY Diversity Projects Development Fund Award for his project, "Language and Identity: The Latino Mask."

That project will explore the idea of bilingualism on stage and focus on language itself. It will "attempt to examine how specific cultural idioms in a Spanish-language play could be conveyed to an English-speaking audience in a way that holds true to the main concept of the play presented in its original language," according to Amrhein.

As part of the project, Professor Amrhein will remount the production of La Luz de un Cigarrillo as a professionally staged reading at York College, focusing on the impact of language in the theatre, both for Spanish and English audiences.

"I envision that the process, the most important part of any theatre project, would be the rehearsal period of the play," says Amrhein. "This period would allow for the discovery of ideas, both old and new, working on the text in both English and Spanish. The company would dissect the various aspects of the text to get at the root of its meaning, attempting to answer the question of language and the impact on a specific audience."

According to Amrhein, the culmination of the project "will come to fruition" sometime during the week of May 22, 2015 with a professionally-staged reading of the play in both languages, followed by a panel discussion with a group of Latino playwrights and directors.

"The project hopes to bridge the gap between different languages in theatre, artistically and academically, says Amrhein. "It will attempt to expose students and professionals to the art of theatre, promote a better understanding of its diversity in the theatrical community and encourage diversity among the various Latino populations within CUNY."

A prolific director, some of Professor Amrhein's credits include: "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme", "La Luz de Un Cigarrillo", "RENT" and "Anna in the Tropics". Recent designs: the first NYC revival of "The Full Monty", "The Hedge", "Twelfth Night", "Much Ado About Nothing", "Romeo and Juliet" and "The Merry Wives of Windsor". He has also designed for The Second City, Carnegie Mellon University, and Cal Rep Theatre. He received the Best Scenic Design award from the New Jersey Star Ledger, Detroit Free Press's Theatre Excellence Award and most recently the Award for Creative Excellence from the Arts in Christian Theatre. Prof. Amrhein has also helped to translate the Dominican play, "La Luz De Un Cigarrillo" from Spanish into English.

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