FALL2015: Course Superlatives

Course superlatives

The time of year has come again to ignore your current classes and focus on future endeavors, like Spring Weekend next semester’s classes. While we can’t guarantee the enjoyability, ease, or practicality of these following courses, their titles have a lot to say. Presenting, the 2015 fall semester course superlatives:

Most…

  • …Alliterative HIST0522 Reason, Revolution and Reaction in Europe
  • …Pessimistic AMST1250 Gravestones and Burying Grounds
  • …Optimistic LATN1110 Comedy
  • …Realistic PLCY1700 Crisis Management
  • …Ambitious PHIL0450 The Meaning of Life
  • …Meta COLT2650 What is Critique?
  • …Likely to Czech Your Privilege CZCH0410 Czech View of Self and Others
  • …Likely to Induce Paranoia PHP0100 Statistics is Everywhere
  • …Likely to Induce a God Complex ENGN1520 Cardiovascular Engineering
  • …Likely to Be Nominated at the 2015 Academy Awards ENGL1050 True Stories
  • …Anachronistic ENGL0310 Shakespeare: The Screenplays
  • …Specific HIST0658 Walden + Woodstock: The American Lives of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Bob Dylan
  • …Comfortable ENGN2912 Soft Matter
  • …Confusing Description of “Event-Appropriate Attire” CHIN0920 Business Chinese
  • …Risky Topic for a Lecture Course COLT1812 On Being Bored
  • …Risky Topic for a Seminar GNSS2010 Pembroke Research Seminar in Feminist Theory: Fatigue
  • …Self-Aware Meninist HIST1965 “Furies from Hell” to “Femi-Nazis”: A History of Modern Anti-Feminism
  • …Artistic STEM Course MATH1530 Abstract Algebra
  • …SO Last Week POLS1120 Campaigns and Elections
  • …Likely to Find Love at Whole Foods CHEM0360 Organic Chemistry
  • …Blunt ETHN1890 Johnny, Are You Queer: Narratives of Race and Sexuality

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Sock and Buskin Presents: 410[Gone]

Trigger Warning: This play discusses and depicts issues of mental illness, as well as suicidal thoughts and action. A list of mental health resources is available here.

"As you note the fire exits and turn off your cell phones, please recall the face of a loved one you are soon about to forget."

“As you note the fire exits and turn off your cell phones, please recall the face of a loved one you are soon about to forget.”

Written by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig ’05 and directed by TAPS Department Chair Erik Ehn, 410[Gone] is a theatrical powerhouse. Set in an arcade located under a mountain in the Shandong Province of China (yes, you read that right), the play whimsically and effectively blends the modern experience of two Chinese-American young adults with ancient lore concerning the Chinese Land of the Dead.

The semi-autobiographical play follows Twenty-One (Kathy Ng ’17) as she pieces together the details surrounding the suicide of her younger brother, Seventeen (Bee Vang ’15). Seventeen’s suicide is rooted in reality for Ya-Chu Cowhig, who lost her own brother to suicide.

Despite a basis in real-life events, much of the play takes place in a fantasy land. Traversing the road from life to afterlife, the siblings encounter the Chinese Land of the Dead, which is stylized in the play as an arcade. This is a land where souls are transformed from life to death through following their footsteps in life as a game of Dance Dance Revolution.

The Land is inhabited by the mischievous Monkey King (Pei Ling Chia ’15), who has been condemned to labor beneath the mountain, and the Goddess of Mercy (Ziyi Yang ’16), who has chosen to live on earth until all beings have been freed from the cycle of rebirth. Ox-Head (Lizzy Callas ’15) is a non-speaking presence who looms onstage for the duration of the show, emerging at the climax of the play to fulfill the role as the bearer of the Soup of Forgetting.

The play’s connection to last week’s events is not lost on the cast and crew. Director Erik Ehn noted: “There is a cloud on campus; we mourn the loss of Hyoun Ju Sohn. Our play concerns issues so close to recent events. We go forward with the play because we believe that the act of making theater can be light that filters through the clouds.”

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Trinity Repertory Company presents: The Glass Menagerie

The Glass Menagerie, arguably Tennessee Williams’s most famous work, comes to Providence, RI, later this month in a new conception of the scripted drama. Produced twice before at Trinity Rep, in 1965 and 1991, this rendition of Williams’ play, directed by Brian Mertes, takes the classic memory play and transforms it into a piece which could more accurately be categorized a “dream play,” and at times, a nightmare—purposefully, of course.

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“You live in a dream; you manufacture illusions!”

The set, a far cry from Williams’s heavily stage-directed concept, is a barren square of carpet, surrounded by two pianos, a few chairs, and a bed suspended from the rafters of the Chace Theater. The curtains, specifically designed for this production, entail a veil that appears only during intermission, a sheer white cloth that billows behind a free-standing fan, and a set of vertical vinyl blinds reminiscent of a car wash. As the play unfolds, the set is flooded with detail: Tom Wingfield (Brian McEleney) spreads loofahs across the upstage area, Laura (Mia Ellis) pulls her glass playthings and moves them about the space, while Amanda (Anne Scurria) retrieves costume pieces from a free-hanging clothes rack behind the stage.  Continue Reading


Trinity Rep/Brown MFA Presents: Pericles, Prince of Tyre

If your appetite for Shakespeare hasn’t yet been sated by Sock and Buskin’s Twelfth Night, worry not: the Trinity Rep/Brown MFA Class of 2015 production of the Bard’s Pericles, Prince of Tyre continues for one more night.

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One of Shakespeare’s last plays, Pericles tells the tale of the titular prince, who flees from the bloodthirsty Antiochus of Antioch after discovering the King is sleeping with his daughter has a secret. Pericles flees to Tarsus, meeting King Cleon and Queen Dionyza, before being washed ashore at Pantapolis, where he wins the hand of the King’s daughter, Thaisa, in marriage. Their daughter, Marina, is born at sea as another storm kills Thaisa, who is thrown overboard and is carried to Ephesus. Pericles leaves Marina at Tarsus before returning home alone.

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If the libraries were pop singers, who would they be?

The age-old question of which dining hall matches up with which rapper has at last been settled. Recently, a new comparison arose in my mind: what about the Brown libraries and pop singers? See below for the final ten pairings. [Ed’s note: We have ten libraries?!]

The Rock = Taylor Swift

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“I’ve got a blank space, baby, and I’ll write an essay in absolute quiet.”

The Rock is always there: dependable, eclectic, the “America’s sweetheart” of libraries. It could only possibly be paired with the adorably inane TSwift. Sure, it’s about as easy to complain that you’re spending way too much time at the Rock as you do listening to Taylor. Yes, after a while it begins to seem like they’re both just the same thing over and over, but stay away from either one and you’ll return to find something new and interesting, whether it’s a bloodthirsty new music video or a shelf entirely filled with strange sexual practices across history. In fact, the Rock might even be a bit more predictable than Swift, since you can generally count on the Rock to not have bangs, and to not suddenly remove all of its songs from Spotify. (Side note: They both, permanently or temporarily, reside in Rhode Island.)

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Brrrrrown: Natural ice

Snowpocalpyse, snowmaggedon, whatever you want to call it: it’s easy enough to be completely done with the snow around campus. Other than frostbite, salt sand-stained boots, and one yet-to-be-lost glove, the snow has left us with at least some sort of benefit: really cool ice.

Now, if you’re like me, you love a good icicle: translucent, sleek, and aesthetically-pleasing all around. And Brown has been #blessed with plenty of snow and ice formations recently.

They range from the quaint:

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Look, it’s like a little hat.

To the intense:

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Actual depiction of the Cold Miser’s sneeze.

To small, snow-covered portions of campus:

Well, anything to keep me out of the SciLi.

Well, anything to keep me out of the SciLi.

To vast stretches of campus:

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Main Green, white, at Brown.

Not to mention that the snow and ice hit up some off-campus spots and decked them out pretty well too:

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Waterfire, tonight at 9pm.

Like the RISD Museum entrance:

"I.C.E.": the ephemeral and (hopefully) temporary art installation now on display in the outer gallery.

“I.C.E.”: the ephemeral and (hopefully) temporary art installation now on display in the outer gallery.

The weather’s even caught the attention of those living way down the hill:

A cause we can all get behind.

A cause we can all get behind.

It especially looks sweet at night:

Something at Jo's to look at intently while eating a spicy with.

Something at Jo’s to look at intently while eating a spicy with.

And, lastly, my everyone’s favorite campus icicles:

Smitty B, or Santa's Workshop?

Smitty B or Santa’s Workshop?

So, if your parents, friends, and clingy high school acquaintances keep asking, “How’s the weather up there?” just direct them to these beautiful pictures. Nothing will make that ex who goes to Stanford more jealous.

Images via Kenji Endo, Edith Young, Julia Elia, and Caitlin Dorman.