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2013
Friday, April 12th
4:00 PM

A Study of Stock Scenery and What the Future Holds

Zackery Aschim, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 333

4:00 PM - 4:20 PM

Over the last several decades the scenic element of theatre has had its struggles in regard to building stock scenery. Through research and working in the industry I am reexamining what is the “norm” with stock scenery and looking to improve what my predecessors have done. The theatre is an ever evolving world always looking for the next step. To strive for the future I want to take a step back and try to reexamine scenery in hopes of actively bringing about the next generation of thinking. For example stock platforms are an age old tradition in theatre however through varying degrees of research and hands on experience I find there is room for improvement. This semester I have been shadowing my mentor in a class that deals entirely with stock scenery and looking at why we build the way we do. The problem is that as the world around us changes so too must scenic construction.

There is an old idiom the dictates the construction field – “Cost vs. Weight vs. Strength.” This constant struggle helps guide us into the decisions we make when building. Research has shown that some of the strongest materials are becoming too expensive due to deforestation. In the same sense inferior materials can be weaker and weigh outrageous amounts. However we must struggle to find a balance in this ever changing world. Stock scenery is a cost saver but only if it lasts. As with anything the current way of building has limitations. The platforms here are built well but due to poor storage and just constant wear and tear tend to break. There is such a strong foundation for stock scenic elements however there is room for improvement and in theatre we are always looking to the future.

4:20 PM

Elephant Symbolism in Thailand

Jenna Lyons, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 333

4:20 PM - 4:40 PM

Recently, I traveled to Thailand to work at an elephant sanctuary. I had many questions about Thailand, religious climate, and the exploitation of elephants there. I wondered how such a majestic animal could be mistreated on such a conjoint level in a Buddhist nation that considers elephants so sacred. Based on my observations, I determined that this developing nation has been forced to exploit its own natural resources in order to meet the demands of a global economy.

In the Theravada Buddhist tradition, the Asian elephant is a profound symbol of steadfastness and mental perseverance. The uncontrolled mind in the beginning of one's practice of Buddhist meditation is represented by a gray elephant who runs wild. After studying the dharma, the psyche is represented as a pure white elephant. The elephant also appears as a guardian of the temples and of Buddha himself. I was able to witness the sacred nature and reverence with which the Buddhist monks regard the elephants, as they would occasionally stroll through the refuge and admire the elephants. However, I was also able to witness tragedy; each day, thousands of elephants are forced to haul tourists up and down mountains on tourist treks. Prior to 1989, Asian elephants were used for logging purposes; forced to drag heavy loads up and down plots of land, many of them now endure wounds that will never heal.

As a culture highly focused on communication, we subvert silence. And, although beings such as the sun and moon make no noise, we understand their movement as symbols of transience and cyclical existence. Similarly, in the words of a contemporary Thai monk, the entire cosmos is a cooperative, and the key to understanding non-human species lies within the human-animal connection—a bridging of human nature and animality.

4:40 PM

Jacobite/Hanoverian Factionalism, the Russian Monarchy, and the 1734 Anglo-Russian Commercial Treaty

Kyeann Sayer, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 333

4:40 PM - 5:00 PM

The 1734 Anglo-Russian Commercial Treaty is significant in that it granted England Most Favored Nation status for the first time since the assassination of Charles I prompted its revocation in 1649. Further, Russia extended this privilege at time when empire's newly acquired Baltic ports provided the potential to control Europe's access to raw naval store materials and it did so without requiring any reciprocal political conditions. The treaty's primary authority remains Doulgas K. Reading, who examined its economic, diplomatic and practical aspects in a 1938 monograph. Describing its diplomatic context, Reading minimizes the role of the Jacobite resistance within Russia, as well as its influence on the Russian monarchy and aristocracy.* In contrast, Rebecca Wills' 2002 work, The Jacobites and Russia – 1715 – 1750, reveals through subsequently disclosed sources that both the nobility and the English expatriates in Russia were divided into Hanoverian and Jacobite-Holstein factions through the 1720s. With Catherine I's death in 1727, the Jacobites lost the support of Russia's sovereign, creating the opportunity for renewed relations with England and its new Hanoverian sovereign, George II. This paper relies primarily on diplomatic correspondence regarding the conditions for a trade treaty during Peter the Great's reign, as well as Wills' explication of the decline of Jacobite influence in the Russian court, to place the 1734 treaty in the context of Hanoverian predominance and the decline of Jacobite-Holstein influence. As part of a larger project on the relation of trade politics, diplomacy and religion to the treaty, this work contributes to a contemporary, comprehensive understanding of the factors influencing Russo-English relations in the first half of the eighteenth century.

*See note 28 in Douglas K. Reading, The Anglo-Russian Commercial Treaty of 1734 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1938), 72.