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Jessica Reed
Department of Theatre and Drama

Last modified: Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Actor Phillip Zarrilli to present 2011 Ralph L. Collins Memorial Lecture

WHAT: "An Evening with Phillip Zarrilli," the 2011 Ralph L. Collins Memorial Lecture.
WHEN: Wednesday, February 16, 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Wells-Metz Theatre in the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.
TICKETS: Admission is free of charge, but seating is limited.

February 16, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama announces the 2011 Ralph L. Collins Memorial Lecture. Internationally celebrated actor, director and theater scholar Phillip Zarrilli will present a public lecture on Wednesday, February 16 in the Wells-Metz Theatre at the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center.

Admission is free of charge, but the general admission seating is limited.

Zarrilli is a professor of drama at the University of Exeter in Devon, United Kingdom. Before joining the faculty at Exeter in 2000, he had posts as professor of theater, folklore, and South Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has also taught at UCLA, Northwestern, NYU and the University of Surrey.

He is well-know worldwide for his comprehensive actor-training methods, using a psychophysical process that combines yoga and martial arts. His recent productions of Samuel Beckett's plays in Los Angeles and Austria that employ these techniques have won considerable critical acclaim.

Zarrilli is also the first Westerner to have undergone full-time, long-term training in kalarippayattu, one of the oldest fighting systems in existence. He began his training in 1976 at the C.V.N. Kalari, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, South India under Gurukkal Govindankutty Nayar and lived in Kerala for seven years. In 1988 he received the traditional pitham (stool representing past masters) from Govindankutty Nayar.

Zarrilli now also runs a private studio, the Tyn-y-parc CVN Kalari/Studio in Wales, where he mentors actors interested in learning and applying kalarippayattu strategies. Inaugurated in 2000, the studio is the first traditional earthen-floor kalari operating outside of Kerala. In addition to his work in the UK, Zarrilli conducts teaching sessions throughout the world—including workshops or long-term residencies at many institutions including the Grotowski Institute and the Gardzienice Theatre Association in Poland, as part of the BEYOND project with Emio Greco/PC in Amsterdam, at the Helsinki Academy of the Arts, Seoul International Theatre Festival, National Theatre of Greece, Tainan-Jen Theatre Company in Taiwan and many university actor training programs.

Zarrilli will remain in residence for two weeks of intensive workshops with the graduate students in the Department of Theatre and Drama's MFA acting program. He is focusing on teaching psychophysiological exercises and techniques, particulary in their application to Beckett's plays.

Zarrilli's talk on Wednesday is titled "'…presence…' as a question and emergent possibility: a case-study from the performer's perspective." He plans to contextualize his lifelong study of the actor's psychophysical processes of embodiment as well as present a case-study of his practice-based performance research. Using phenomenology and audience reception, Zarrilli will interrogate the notion of the "presence" of the performer from his own perspective during his role "inside" a recent production of Kaite O'Reilly's Told by the Wind, a performance event staged by the Llanarth Group, the Wales-based collective of theatre artists for which Zarrilli currently serves as artistic director.

Ralph L. Collins (1907-1963)

Ralph L. Collins was born in Eclectic, Alabama and educated at the University of the South, where he earned a B.A. in 1928, and at Yale University, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1933. Before joining the Department of English at Indiana University in 1935, he did editorial work for Atlantic Monthly and taught one year at the University of Tennessee. At Indiana, he served as varsity tennis coach from 1940 to 1945 and as Director of the Writers' Conference from 1941 to 1948. He was named Assistant Dean of Faculties in 1948 and Vice President and Dean of Faculties in 1959.

As teacher and scholar, Dean Collins was principally interested in the area of theater and drama. He published articles in the area of theater and drama in Modern Language Notes, Philosophical Quarterly, Theatre Annual and University of Kansas Review. For many years he taught undergraduate courses in modern drama and in Shakespeare and a graduate seminar on George Bernard Shaw.

Even after assuming his many administrative duties, Dean Collins maintained his interest in theater. For him, drama was more than a form of entertainment. It was an intense presentation of behavior, a projection of gestures of mind and heart and a searching analysis of motives and moral foundation. No static memorial could honor the memory of Ralph L. Collins as do the present lectures.