Myths of the Middle Ages
Although the Middles Ages are sometimes referred to as The Dark Ages and believed to be a time of intellectual and cultural stagnation, the reality is far different. Dissenting and revolutionary ideas abounded in political, cultural, and religious arenas. Abu l-Hassan‘Ali Ibn Nafi or Ziryab revolutionized the lifestyle of Al-Andalus (present-day Spain) in the fields of music, cuisine, architecture and fashion. The progressive culture of Occitania (southern France) was politically ahead of many contemporary societies, and the troubadours produced the first lyric poetry in the vernacular in the Western World. Chrétien de Troyes explored archetypes of the unconscious mind centuries before Jung, and the Knights Templar started the modern system of banking. Francis of Assisi transformed the concept of monasticism, and Abelard revolutionized intellectual thought. We’ll explore the era through a variety of methods – sampling life music and medieval cuisine, reading, discussions, and who knows!
Mondays, April 24 and May 8, 15, 22, 3:30- 5:30
Norman Williams Public Library
Rai d’Honoré has been on the faculty at numerous colleges and universities in the US and overseas, including The American University, the University of Maryland, the National University of Lesotho. Most recently at East Carolina University, she designed and directed the Language Academy, lectured at the Fletcher School of Music, organized medieval colloquia, took students on study abroad trips, and coordinated a Medieval & Renaissance Festival. Rai received her Ph.D. in Modern Languages from the Catholic University of America, with a specialization in political, sociological, and sexual heresy in medieval French literature. She also composes and performs troubadour-style songs and has also led horse trails though the mountains of Lesotho and been an archaeological guide for jeep safaris in Turkey.
Learning to Love Wagner
Some opera lovers love Wagner’s music. Some listeners would like to know more about his music and ideas. And, those not partial to Wagner and his music may think it important to learn about the genius whose ideas and music changed the entire course of western classical music. To not know Wagner leaves a great gap in understanding what came after him, even Puccini and Debussy, to cite only two composers who reacted for and against him. Five two-hour sessions will introduce all the operas Wagner considered his mature works. Each week will address a group of operas that express a particular theme: “women’s love,” “the damn curse,” “salvation through love,” “tragic and comic love,” and “redemption of the poor fool.”
Thursdays, May 4, 11, 18, 25, June 1 2:00 – 4:00 (except 3:00 to 5:00 on May 11)
St. James Church Parish Hall
Peter Fox Smith came from a family of singers and wrote his Ph.D. thesis on Richard Wagner at Harvard University. He has taught opera courses at Harvard, Dartmouth, and elsewhere. In addition to cultivating his “passion” for opera, Peter writes poetry and gives readings of his work at colleges here and abroad. He has published three books of poems. He lives in North Pomfret, Vermont, with his wife, Joanne.
Backstage at Northern Stage: Mamma Mia!
Northern Stage Staff members and artists
Have you ever wondered what goes into producing professional theater? Join Northern Stage Leadership Team members plus special guests and artists to experience first-hand the journey from play selection to full production. This workshop runs in conjunction with our spring musical, Mamma Mia! and features invitations to Insider Events as well as discussions with the cast and production team for this joy-filled musical extravaganza.
Producing Artistic Director Carol Dunne calls Mamma Mia, “a joyous, infectious adventure in love.” Carol will introduce you to Mamma Mia from the choice of the play in our season selection process, through developing her vision for the production, and into the casting process. You’ll be invited on a walk-through of casting with an audition demonstration with a professional actor from our company.
Mondays, March 27- April 17, 2:00 – 4:00 and special events on Sunday, April 2,
12:00 – 2:30, Sunday April 16, 3:00 -4:00, Saturday, May 20, 9:30 p.m.
Classes and events take place in Northern Stage’s facilities in White River Junction. The Learning Lab can coordinate a van for transportation if there is enough interest; indicate on registration form.
Performance (participant’s choice): Participants are also encouraged to purchase tickets to Northern Stage’s production of Mamma Mia! Dates and ticket information can be found at https://northernstage.org/2016/10/13/mamma-mia/.
Carol Dunne, Artistic Director of Northern Stage, brings a wealth of experience from her former position as Producing Artistic Director of the New London Barn Playhouse and as an award winning Senior Lecturer at Dartmouth College. She has directed many productions and initiated programs including Summer Musical Theater Intensive at Northern Stage and the ongoing Youth Ensemble Studio, both of which train theater lovers and practitioners of tomorrow. She also successfully launched Shakespeare in the Schools: Class Act, which brings professional teachers of Shakespeare into local schools for a month long residency.
Eric Bunge, Managing Director of Northern Stage since March 2013, is responsible for day to day operations. In addition, Eric is sometimes seen on stage. Northern Stage performance credits include roles in Twelve Angry Men (2013), Clybourne Park (2014), and Mary Poppins (2015). Eric received his MFA from the National Theatre Conservatory – Denver, CO. He founded the Commonweal Theatre of Lanesboro, MN in 1988 – served as Managing Director until 2010 and as Project Manager/Owner’s Representative during the 2006/07 construction of Commonweal’s new home. In 2011, he joined the Great River Shakespeare Festival of Winona, MN as their first Managing Director and led a successful reorganization process. Eric and Gayle; daughters Kelley(20), and Jayne(16), are pleased to call the Upper Valley home.
From Foragers to Farmers:
A Cultural Evolution that Changed the Globe
14,000 years ago, a major global warming trend changed climates around the world. During the 30,000 years of intermittent ice ages that preceded this climate change, all humans were food foragers. Their capacity for adaptive flexibility through cultural evolution had led them to develop diverse methods for obtaining food resources in a myriad of environments. The climate change of 14,000 years ago offered new opportunities as well as new challenges, that, in turn, set off a revolution in the human condition – technological, economic, social, political, and philosophical – that remains our legacy today. Not only was the human way of life transformed, but so too were the fates of the flora and fauna co-existing with us. This course plans to address the who, what, when where, why questions about the domestication of plants and animals and attendant cultural transformations globally, using the latest research on what is often called the “Neolithic” revolution. The material will be covered in class using Powerpoint Presentations that allow for lively discussion, and weekly supplemental reading of an article or chapter.
Wednesdays, April 19 – May 17, 2:00 – 4:00
Norman Williams Public Library
Dr. Barbara Butler grew up in Durham, New Hampshire and now lives in Woodstock. A retired professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, her professional research focused on indigenous Andean peoples. Although archaeology and cultural evolution was not her field of expertise within anthropology, she taught that subject as part of her regular duties as college professor. A study leader in the OSHER (previously ILEAD) program at Dartmouth since 2009, with 4 different courses in rotation, Barbara will be teaching From Foragers to Farmers to an adult audience for the first time at Woodstock’s Learning Lab.
Jane Lee Wolfe
This six-session course covers three essential dimensions to living that each of us should address in order to contribute to a sustainable peace on this planet. The first two classes address Personal Peace: what is each of our definitions of peace, and what are the disciplines necessary to live and maintain it. The second two classes discuss Community Peace: what is “community” to each of us, and how do we contribute peace within that community. The third two classes cover World Peace: what is “world peace,” how is my peace a part of that, what disciplines are necessary for me to have a part of creating and maintaining sustainable peace globally, communally and personally.
Tuesdays, April 11-May 16 10:00 – Noon
Held at a home on River St. in Woodstock
Jane Lee Wolfe is Director of Bog Chapel, Inc. an educational not-for-profit that focuses on personal, communal and global spiritual health and fitness. She writes a daily internet piece called “Meds,” and has written several books, the most recent two being Swingin’ Loose and Weather in Heaven. She is the former President of the World YWCA, Director of a think tank called World-Peace, Center for Religious Studies and Practice, plus many other jobs in the field of human rights, justice and peace. She currently works with people who want to get their spiritual lives in some kind of order, is writing a book on Forgiveness, and is, with this curriculum, starting to help people who want to understand, live, and contribute to world peace. She lives in Woodstock Vermont.
International Politics Made Easy
Join Rushad Thomas for an in-depth exploration of political systems across the western world. This course will explore the structure, history, political parties, and current affairs in a number of American ally nations: Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan. Have you ever wondered just how health care works in Canada? Are you mystified by France’s presidential election system? What about Germany’s place in the European Union? This course will deepen your understanding of all of these issues, and more. Particular focus will be given to contemporary political, cultural, and economic issues, and each country will receive treatment in two class sessions.
Wednesdays, April 5 through May 24, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Held at a home on River St. in Woodstock
Rushad Thomas is the program and editorial associate at the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation. A native of central Florida, he holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Florida A&M University and a Master’s degree in Government from Regent University. He has taught courses in the past on the history of the British monarchy for the Woodstock Learning Lab and Dartmouth’s OSHER Adult Learning Institute. A keen observer of international affairs, he resides in West Lebanon, New Hampshire.
Introduction to Memoir Writing
This introductory course is the “gateway” to all that might follow. People who have taken this course often will keep on writing, working on their own memoirs or on family histories, or attending “Memoir Reunion Workshops.” To begin a memoir is not an act of egotism, it’s an act of generosity. You will leave behind for your family members (and for students of history) an account of your particular era, as well as a narrative of your personal life. What lessons you’ve learned, what difficulties you’ve overcome, what good fortune you feel you should celebrate—all of this is valuable and interesting. A class will give you the discipline to sit down and actually write, as well as an audience for your output. Fear you can’t get started? This class (and its facilitator) will get you going—it’s guaranteed.
Tuesdays, May 2 -30, 10:15 – 12:15 (and 2 – 4 on May 2)
Norman Williams Public Library
Margaret Edwards spent 30 years as a professor of English at the University of Vermont. Her specialty was Modern & Contemporary American Poetry. She also taught writing seminars, including one entitled “Expository Writing: the Personal Voice.” On her retirement in 2001, she moved from Burlington to Barnard, Vermont, where she and her husband now live. She earned her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.