Alumni and Donor News from the Arts and Sciences
In this Issue
Ann Hamilton stages "The Theater is a Blank Page" at UCLA
In Virginia’s Woolf’s 1927 novel “To the Lighthouse,” the plot takes a backseat to the book’s philosophy. The same can be said of Ann Hamilton’s immersive theatre production, “The Theater Is a Blank Page.”
Hamilton, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Art, originally debuted the installation at the Wexner Center for the Arts in 2015. She has continued to work in collaboration with co-director Anne Bogart and the New York City-based Saratoga International Theater Institute (SITI Company) to redesign and bring life to this noteworthy interpretation of Woolf’s work.
In early May, Hamilton brought the production to the Center for the Art of Performance at the University of California, Los Angeles. Working with the vocabulary of the theater — lights, ascending and descending curtains, video, pipe organ, and directional sound — Hamilton and SITI Company created an atmosphere of spaciousness related to the experience of reading itself.
Strips of white cloth created a separation within the performance space; shredded book paper blanketed the stage floor to create a tactile experience for the audience. The Virginia Woolf narrative, a continuous audible accompaniment, was read aloud by a reader. The book transformed and printed as a single line was pulled from a floor-mounted film reel to pool on the floor as it left the reader's hands.
Hamilton said that the format of the performance was developed as an exploration of the conditions and experiences of reading and the theater.
“Anne [Bogart] and I started a conversation … to discuss how to share the privacy and intimacy that is reading or being read to in a theatrical setting, and how to make a project that responds to and uses the vocabularies of each of those experiential conditions,” Hamilton said.
The audience plays an active role in the show, at times reading silently and aloud from a handprinted and annotated copy of “To the Lighthouse.” Audience members also move through the space as they move through the production of "The Theater is a Blank Page," beginning in the nosebleed seats of the theatre and moving to seats on the stage.
Hamilton said that, aside from the production being an immersive experience, the performance is unique because the audience size is limited to no more than 100 individuals, while occupying an auditorium with hundreds of seats.
“Normally, you have to sell a house to support a show,” Hamilton said.
But the whole space of the theater is part of the project, and the project’s just not what happens on stage.”
Hamilton hoped that the one-of-a-kind portrayal of Woolf’s novel would encourage audience members to take a step away from the fast pace of life and slow down.
“We were interested in the condition of slowness and reflection,” Hamilton said. “It’s also a really large imaginative space because when you read, you’re in the space where you’re sitting or standing and all the contingencies of everything going on around you are happening, but at the same time you’re in that really far away space of the world the book is making, and you hold those two simultaneous spaces together. I think that part structures the theater piece.”
“The Theater Is a Blank Page” was also covered in the Los Angeles Times. A review of the production can be found here.
Volunteer Q&A: Linda Thomas Brooks
Linda Thomas Brooks (BA, journalism, 1985) has years of diverse experience in the fields of media, advertising and consumer behavior. She is currently the president and CEO of MPA – The Association of Magazine Media. Headquartered in New York City, the industry association represents 175 domestic magazine media companies with more than 900 titles.
Before joining MPA in January 2016, Brooks was co-founder and president of GearDigital, a data-driven integrated agency. Throughout her career, Brooks has developed media and marketing strategies for well-known brands and companies such as General Motors, GEICO, Johnson & Johnson and the American Cancer Society. She is still involved with Ohio State through serving in advisory roles for the Buckeye Leadership Fellows Program and the College of Arts and Sciences. Brooks discusses her experience at Ohio State and how it impacted her career.
Where are you from and how did you end up at Ohio State?
I’m originally from Chicago. I went to high school in Northwest Ohio. I ended up at Ohio State because Ohio State has great, active alumni who stay involved with the university and act as recruiters. I was looking at schools elsewhere, and there was a very active alum in my area who said, “You should look at Ohio State,” and then told me about some scholarship programs. That’s what eventually turned my head and it’s also what made me stay involved when I became an alum because I saw firsthand what it does to have that kind of involvement and personal attention.
How did your time at Ohio State prepare you for your career?
Ohio State really prepared me in a couple of ways. One of the things I like to say is it’s not actually Ohio State’s job to get you your first job as a student — it’s to prepare you for a lifetime of jobs.
What Ohio State did was prepare me to not only be useful when I got out of school, but to be able to use my basic knowledge to look at the future to see what’s happening, to make sense of all this new information and to absorb information in different ways.
And on a very specific basis, what Ohio State did for me was it taught me to be a killer good proofreader and copy editor. My employees and my children don’t often appreciate my skills in that area, but I can spot a typo at 50 yards. I swear I can. That was from my J-school professors.
Tell me about your current position as President and CEO of MPA - The Association of Magazine Media?
It’s a really interesting evolution for me because I spent most of my career around the advertising business. This position came up about two years ago, and frankly, kind of as a surprise. I didn’t necessarily have my eyes on it, but what it allowed me to do is have the synthesis of areas that are interesting to me. I get to spend my days thinking about professionally researched, written, edited, produced, curated content, so what differentiates professional content from everything else out there in the ecosystem.
I help media companies create business models that support that because we’re not going to have good journalism if people aren’t paid to be journalists. So that’s a big part of what I get to do, and that makes it really, really exciting for me to put my feet on the floor every morning and think about how do I operate in the ecosystem and support good journalism.
What do you love the most about the communication and media industry? Did you always know you wanted to work in this field?
I was absolutely, positively, 100 percent sure that I was going to be a newspaper journalist. That’s what I trained to do and what I thought about doing, but what happened, and again what Ohio State does for you, is it opens your eyes to other things. What I saw were a lot of different ways that people use their writing skills, research skills, and ability to synthesize information in other ways.
I always knew I wanted to be in the business somewhere, I just didn’t know where that somewhere was. To tell you the truth, if you had told me when I got out of Ohio State that at some point I was going to be the president and CEO of this media trade association, I would’ve said you’re crazy. But this series of opportunities has presented itself. I love taking the skills I have and doing something new and applying them in different ways.
Recently you hosted students from Ohio State’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter at MPA in New York City. Why was this something you wanted to do?
Because it’s exactly the kind of stuff I wanted to do when I was a student. Again, I didn’t know that I wanted to go to a media association. I just wanted to absorb everything I could and see what else was out there and what people did for a living. I hope it’s interesting just to see different ways that people have applied this information and skills.
This article originally appeared in the School of Communication's spring 2018 newsletter.
Giving Back to the Bownocker Fund
Recently, he contributed a significant gift to the John A. Bownocker Fund, one of the oldest funds in the college. The fund was established in 1938 with a bequest from Dr. John A. Bownocker, an Ohio State University alumnus and former state geologist of Ohio.
The fund now primarily supports an annual lecture by a luminary Earth scientist; years ago, however, the fund supported graduate student fellowships, of which McGookey (pictured left, with his wife, Doris) was the recipient. McGookey attended Ohio State from fall 1956 until he completed his doctorate in geology in December 1958. He had the opportunity to serve as a graduate assistant to renowned geologists Dr. Edmund Spieker, creator of Ohio State’s Field Camp program and Dr. Dick Goldthwait, founder of Ohio State’s Institute of Polar Studies, now the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center.
In 1957-58, McGookey received the Bownocker Fellowship, which, according to him, “provided [me] complete freedom to concentrate on — and expedite — my studies and dissertation. It wasn't much money, but it was enough to help support three small children and a wife.”
Since then, McGookey’s life as a geologist has been “a continuous learning experience.” He spent the first part of his career with Texaco, first doing fieldwork throughout the Rocky Mountains, and then in an office on the 27th floor of the Chrysler Building in New York City managing projects across the world. Eventually, after many years of moving, he settled in Midland, Texas, where he still lectures and contributes the occasional scientific paper.
“Looking back, the Bownocker Fellowship was an enormous honor and an expediter to my career.”
Congratulations on your graduation! We are so proud to have you join the ranks of our alumni, and we can't wait to see where your journey takes you.
In these past few weeks following commencement, you've heard about all of the resources and opportunities available to you through your alma mater from The Ohio State University Alumni Association. If you haven't already updated your information, please make sure to do so, so that we can stay in touch with you! You'll hear from us with college updates, college alumni events and other information to keep you connected.
We wish you the best and hope to see or hear from you in the future!
With Buckeye Love,
College of Arts and Sciences
ASC Center for Career and Professional Success
The Arts and Sciences Center for Career and Professional Success offers a variety of services and resources to help with your job search. This is a benefit to you as a recent graduate of our college, so take advantage of our assistance!
In addition, you may wish to schedule an appointment with Career Counseling and Support Services to discuss how to efficiently and effectively execute your job search. The service is available to alumni for two sessions up to one semester past graduation. If you are seeking assistance with your job search after this you can contact the Lhota Office of Alumni Career Management.
Now that you’ve graduated, the center can also assist you in your efforts to pay forward. If you would like to learn more about how alumni can work with the center to provide knowledge and expertise to current students, please contact Randy Dineen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Save the Date: 2018 Homecoming Tailgate
Saturday, October 6, 2018
OHIO STATE vs. INDIANA
University Hall Plaza
Registration for the 2018 Homecoming Tailgate will open the week of June 11, 2018. A registration link and instructions will be sent via email. Football tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Limit of four tickets per household.
Additional details are available here.
TBDBITL Biggest Fan Contest: And the winner is…
We are excited to announce that Rebecca Whatley brought in more than 100 gifts toward scholarships for our hardworking Marching Band members. Today, we’re crowning her TBDBITL's biggest fan.
Thank you to everyone who participated in this fun, important challenge. And this fall, when you watch TBDBITL’s members play their hearts out on the field, take pride in knowing that you help make their performances possible.
Maximize the power of your gift with appreciated stock
Gifts of appreciated stock are one of the most tax-efficient ways to make a donation to the College of Arts and Sciences. You pay no capital gains tax on the transfer, and because the university is a tax-exempt organization, 100 percent of your gift will support your area of choice. Learn more.
Join us at the Memorial Tournament!
Muirfield Village Golf Club, 5750 Memorial Drive, Dublin, OH
HireOhio Alumni Career Fair
Archie Griffin Grand Ballroom, Ohio Union, 1739 North High Street
Women’s Leadership Symposium
The Ohio Union, 1739 North High Street
Ohio State Day at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 4850 West Powell Road, Powell, OH
Ohio State Day with the Columbus Clippers
Huntington Park, 330 Huntington Park Lane, Columbus, OH