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Mount Holyoke College News and Events Vista The College Street Journal Archives

April 12, 2002

Don't Miss the 2002 Faculty Show

Photo: Andrea Burns

The organizers of this year's faculty show prefer to remain anonymous. Show coordinators Dawn Larder, senior administrative assistant for economics and Latin American studies, and economics professor Michael Robinson did agree to show their faces.

It will be about as far "off Broadway" as you can get, but don't miss MHC's 2002 Faculty Show, set for April 17 and 18, at 7 pm in Chapin Auditorium. Show coordinators Dawn Larder, senior administrative assistant for economics and Latin American studies, and Michael Robinson, professor of economics, are holding to tradition by keeping show details secret, but they promise plenty of laughs. Developed by eight anonymous writers, the show will involve up to fifty faculty and staff, including Acting President Beverly Daniel Tatum, Dean of Faculty Donal O'Shea, and other members of the College's senior staff. Faculty and staff are invited to attend the dress rehearsal April 17. Students are invited to the April 18 performance.

This year's presentation of skits, music, and dance by members of the faculty and administration continues a quadrennial tradition that began with Seven Princesses in 1903, according to the College archives and special collections. One article suggests that the show originated to raise funds to build Mary Woolley Hall. The event was repeated every four years thereafter, with proceeds from ticket sales benefiting a range of campus projects, such as furnishings and equipment for the new health center in 1960 and scholarships in 1972. Faculty who hammed it up for the 1956 show, titled Ham's Tales from Shakespeare, for example, raised more than $1,500. Their skits parodied both Shakespeare's plays and Roswell G. Ham, MHC president and Shakespeare scholar, and lampooned integrated (interdisciplinary) courses, the then-current trend in education.

The 1984 X Libris or, Out of Print! had fun with books, "great and otherwise," from Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter to Jane Fonda's Workout Book. Its skits included "Scarlet Letters or, The Wages of Syntax: A Grim Allegory," "The Thyming of the Stew: A Spicy Rehash of Shakespeare," and "Jane's Fighting Hips (of which Jane are we Fonda?)."

Records show that in 1988, faculty agreed to stop the show, which had become difficult to arrange and rehearse due to time constraints of dual-career families and increasing numbers of faculty and staff living far from campus. Disappointment voiced by the senior class prompted a 1988 science faculty talent show, followed by a 1989 Faculty Know Show. In 1993, the campus enjoyed Faculty Show for Seniors, which was repeated, with some new material, in 1994. These improvisations reestablished the faculty show tradition, although recent productions have been much less extravagant than early ones, which included elaborate costumes, makeup, sets, props, printed tickets, and original compositions of choral and instrumental music.

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