Vantage Point – Arts & Letters Radio Show




You may notice more radio shows popping up on the schedule. For those of you not familiar, each radio show features Notre Dame faculty members tackling pressing topics of the day. Recent shows have dealt with diverse issues such as the state of marriage, conflicts in the Middle East, and even the rise of student plagiarism in an internet society. The programs are being aired Sunday’s at 12:00 PM on satellite radio channel WVPE HD2.

For more info please go to:

Click on “Listen Here!” to hear some recent shows.

Some ushers who have attended the radio shows have found them entertaining, informative, and thought provoking. If you have the opportunity, please sign up and check one out. 


Coming Soon! FTT Presents: Six Characters in Search of an Author

The FTT department just wrapped up a very emotionally driven run of plays; Out of Orbit and Beneath My Skin, both plays were written, directed, cast, etc. by Notre Dame Students. It was a very successful run and our FTT students should be very proud of their hard work.

Coming soon, in November, the Decio Theatre will have the fun of hosting Six Characters in Search of an Author. This production was originally written in 1921 by Luigi Pirandelllo, with its premiere show in Rome, Italy. This play is considered a precursor to “Absurdism” and is essentially a play within a play or “mirror theatre”…a play that turns a mirror onto the theatre itself. In Six Characters In Search of an Author, an acting company prepares to rehearse the play The Rules of the Game by Luigi Pirandello. As the rehearsal is about to begin, they are unexpectedly interrupted by the arrival of six strange people. The Director of the play, furious at the interruption, demands an explanation. The Father explains that they are unfinished characters in search of an author to finish their story. Humor, confusion, sadness and anger follow…

The play is being directed by visiting director, Patrick Vassel. A brief introduction by the man himself; “I am honored and thrilled to be back on campus this fall adapting and directing Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author.  I was fortunate enough to perform as an actor in student and FTT department productions while I was a student here, and it was on campus that I discovered my love for directing.  I assistant directed Professor Siiri Scott’s production of Charles Mee’s Big Love and directed several plays for The St. Edward’s Hall Players.  After graduating in 2007, I moved to New York City where I completed my Master’s degree in Teaching at Pace University.  I’ve taught at nearly every grade level K-12, most recently teaching 7th grade writing at Explore Charter School in Brooklyn.  My directing and assistant directing work has taken me everywhere from Broadway to Off-Broadway, regional theatres and even a national tour.  As a writer, I’ve been developing a play with fellow alum Adel Hanash (’04) about the Arab Spring.  The Public Theater in New York presented a reading of the play last fall and we traveled to Tunisia this past summer for research.  I’m also a producing associate of Ten Bones Theatre Company, where I’m developing a new, original movement piece about modern communication and social media.  My next project is as the assistant director of HAMILTON, a new musical written by and starring Tony Award Winner Lin-Manuel Miranda and directed by Tony Award nominee Tommy Kail (In The Heights).”

Because of the unique way FTT will be staging this play, there will be more information to come on the inventive and abstract way they have staged the play. More to come!

Here comes Henry!

HenryIV_graphicLARGE  As we prepare for the changing of the leaves, the crisp-touch of fall in the air, it is time to prepare for the annual performance given to us by Shakespeare at Notre Dame. This year, Henry IV entertains all of us during the celebration of his return to the University of Notre Dame…150 years ago, at Washington Hall, King Henry IV was masterfully produced.

This magnificent play was chosen not only for its timely return but also its subject matter. The play is about young people’s choice of path in life, and not only rebellion against the state, but rebellion ultimately against one’s self and against God.  Perfect for a University setting, particularly a Catholic one.  When I realized that those early faculty may have selected the play for similar reasons, it became clear we had to stage Henry IV.(Grant Mudge, Shakespeare at Notre Dame)


Some fun facts regarding this production of Henry IV…

Twins! This year’s company includes a pair of identical twins.  Here is a copy of their blog post describing the experience of being cast together for the first time.  Sisters Zada and Zuri Eshun. (Zuri is a ’14 FTT graduate.)

Stage! Our scenic designer, Marcus Stephens (who also teaches in FTT), was inspired by the Great Barn at Harmondsworth, just northwest of London near Heathrow.  The towering structure predates Shakespeare to the time of King Henry IV.

Interested in seeing the set design, click here to see…

Click here to see the video about this stage set…

The Musicians are Coming!

fishBeginning May 9th, the Performing Arts Center will welcome musicians from around the world for the annual Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.  Here are a few fun facts to guide our ushers through this exciting experience…

  • All competition performances are FREE, open to the public, and don’t require a ticket.  However, the Awards and Grand Prize Concert on Sunday, May 11th, is a paid, ticketed event.
  • Using the website patrons can enjoy live streaming of the Saturday and Sunday rounds.
  • Our ushers serve an important role to protect the competition from any disruptions by only opening doors between groups, telling patrons to silence their cell phones, and managing any noise inside the venues.

April shifts at a glance…

Because several of the shifts in April may be new to ushers, here is a quick glance at a few that might interest you…

Sacred Music – Joan of Arc:  I Was Born for This – April 4th

joanTaken from one of her most famous quotes, “I am not afraid; I was born to do this,” the Sacred Music Joan of Arc performance in the Leighton Concert Hall will be like none other.  In 1928 the film The Passion of Joan of Arc was made and is considered one of the greatest films of all time.  Much later in 1994, composer Richard Einhorn wrote the cantata Voices of Light to underscore the silent film.  Both works will merge on the Leighton stage with full orchestra and choir (with our own Sean Martin in the ensemble!).

FTT Symposium:  Fascism, War, and Historical Schisms in Contemporary Europe – April 9th & 10th

symposium_poster10Preceding two performances of FTT’s Blood Wedding will be two symposiums in the Philbin discussing themes relevant to the play:

  • April 9th – Panelists Dr. Carlos Jerez-Farran and Dr. Teresa Phelps will discuss Fascism and War:  Garcia Lorca and the Spanish Truth.
  • April 10th – Panelists Caridad Svich, Yiannis Lymtsioulis, and Dr. Diana Jorza will discuss Historical Schisms:  Europe, Spain, and Garcia Lorca

Screening:  Lenny Cooke – April 12th

lennyProfessional sports is known as a true meritocracy, a field in which the cream really does rise to the top, as there’s simply too much money at stake to operate in any other fashion. In uncommon instances, however, inefficiencies can occur and gifted players may fall through the cracks. Such is the story of Lenny Cooke. In 2001, Cooke was the number-one ranked high school basketball player in America, with future NBA greats LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony listed beneath him. Yet after declaring himself eligible for the 2002 NBA draft, Cooke, shockingly, ended up going undrafted, and became a journeyman playing in little-known leagues across the world. Today he lives in southern Virginia, a should-have-been-great who simply did not quite make it. The first documentary feature from American independent film scene fixtures Josh & Benny Safdie, LENNY COOKE explores the fascinating question of how, exactly, Cooke’s seemingly assured future could go so awry.


FTT’s Blood Wedding

blood_wedding_still_from_trailerClose your eyes and transport yourself to Spain circa 1930’s during a time of great unrest and political turmoil. This is when Blood Wedding, written by Spanish dramatist Frederico Garcia Lorca, takes place.  Lorca is famous for his contributions to poetry and the world of theatre…but he is also remembered for his involvement in the twisted world of politics in Spain during pre and Revolutionary times.

Blood Wedding is considered a romantic tragedy, based on a true story, which follows the intertwining lives of two families who are going to be joined in marriage…until tragedy strikes. Throughout the story we are constantly reminded of the cycle of life, the consequences of our decisions, and how sneaky fate can be.

Director, Anton Juan, and his team of FTT students have worked very hard to bring this intriguing story to life. Not only is the play noteworthy, but the combination of visiting scholars and a well-known Flamenco dancer are sure to make this a memorable experience. On stage we will see an interesting combination of nature-based themes, artistically strong staging, and deep emotional theme that reaches our very core.

We’re all looking forward to this production.  The team working on it is sure to give us quite the Spanish treat!