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Dr. John Gentile

Dr. John Gentile To Receive NCA’s Heston Award

By Keaton Lamle

Dr. John Gentile, Professor of Performance Studies in Kennesaw State’s Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, will receive the National Communication Association’s Lilla A. Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies. NCA will present Gentile with the award during its 103rd annual convention in Dallas, Texas this November.

The Heston award, which recognizes excellence in published research and creative scholarship, comes on the basis of Gentile’s essay, “Shape-Shifter in the Green: Performing Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” (published in Storytelling, Self, Society: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Storytelling Studies). “Shape-Shifter in the Green…” builds on Gentile’s three decades of scholarship in arguing an inextricable link between the seemingly disparate tasks of performance and scholarship. To hear Gentile explain it, his goal is to illuminate the work of what he calls, the ‘scholar-artist,’ thereby, “show[ing] the work in scholarship that inevitably takes place behind the scenes in preparing a performance of a canonical text like Sir Gawain.”

Gentile has always been attracted to what he refers to as, “masterworks,” those canonical texts that are ultimately handed down and rediscovered across the distance of centuries. As a result, much of his work as a scholar and artist has centered on the concept of adapting and staging canonical works like Sir Gawain, Moby-Dick, and The Scarlet Letter for contemporary audiences. “I often wonder about the future of great works,” Gentile explains. “If they are not embedded in our education experience, when will people come upon them? And so I almost have a quest to ‘salvage’ works from a sense of loss, whereby a work of true power and significance is reduced— to contemporary students— to only a title they may have heard of.” According to Gentile, it is this task of cultural curation that ultimately necessitates a link between scholarship and performance. “Assuming the artist creating the adaptation of a major literary text for the stage has done his or her work in analysis and in research,” the professor explains, “and brings to it an effective vision, and makes it vital in the theatrical experience, then that performance can lead audiences back to the original text itself -- as readers, and that to me is the real benefit of doing the work I do.”

Given Gentile’s track record of both penning and staging engaging performances of famous texts, and his impeccable ability to articulate the theory behind this process in his work, it’s no surprise that Emerson College’s John Dennis Anderson called him, “the preeminent exemplar… of the scholar artist [in the field of performance studies]” in a nomination letter for the 2017 Lilla A. Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies.

Gentile’s celebrated scholarship and artistry will be on display on November 11, at the Jung Society of Atlanta’s, “The Green Knight and Other Stories of Magic and Transformation: A Storytelling Program with Music

Archived News

7 Winter Arts Events at KSU

Get out of the house and join us for these events that will warm your heart and engage your senses. Many of them are free! 

1. Visions’ 34th Annual Juried Student Exhibition, January 19-February 19, 2017. Open Tuesday - Thursday, 10 to 5 in the Fine Arts Gallery in the Wilson Building on the Kennesaw campus. FREE. Reception January 18, 5 to 7 p.m. 

2. Trey Wright - Some of my Best Friends are Saxophonists. Jan 23, 2017, 8 p.m. FREE; no tickets required. Bailey Performance Center, Morgan Hall. 

3. Wind Ensemble, Tuesday, Jan 24, 2017, 8 p.m. FREE; no tickets required. Bailey Performance Center, Morgan Hall. 

4. Charae Krueger, cello and Robert Henry, piano. Monday, Jan 30, 2017, 8 p.m. FREE; no tickets required. Bailey Performance Center, Morgan Hall.

5. 2017 Collage Concert, Saturday, February 4, 2017, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. An exciting highlight each season, the Collage Concert is the signature production of the School of Music. The fundraising event features soloists, chamber groups and ensembles totaling almost 300 student and faculty performances. A truly memorable experience. Buy tickets.

6. Stories for a Winter Night: c.c. collins, Animal Rites. January 26-28, 8 p.m., Stillwell Theater. Animal Rites is a one-man show that puts relations between human and nonhuman animals front and center. Artist and scholar c.c. collins performs as the Animal Parade Krewe, who’s gathered to celebrate and question the future of animal life on the planet. Buy tickets.

7. Peter and the Starcatcher, Feb. 7-12. Tues-Sat 8 p.m., Sat-Sun 2 p.m.  Orphan boys and pirates at sea, a flying cat, an exotic island, two trunks, and stardust. This charming and rambunctious prequel to Peter Pan will capture your hearts and imagination. Buy tickets.