Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts presents “Mythic Method,” the next in the 2021-2022 Atelier at Large series of conversations that bring guest artists to campus to discuss what they face in making art in the modern world. For this conversation, Princeton’s Howard G.B. Clark ’21 University Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Princeton Atelier Paul Muldoon will be joined by award-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl, Tony Award-winning composer Stew, and classicist Emily Wilson, the first woman to publish a translation of Homer’s The Odyssey into English, to discuss the role myth plays in modern art. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1, in Richardson Auditorium on Princeton’s campus. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required through University Ticketing. All guests are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to the maximum extent, which now includes a COVID booster shot for all eligible to receive it, and to wear a mask when indoors. Panelists may be unmasked while presenting on stage.
The Princeton Atelier, currently directed by Muldoon, was founded in 1994 by Toni Morrison, Nobel laureate and Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, at Princeton University. The Atelier brings professional artists from different disciplines together with Princeton faculty and students to create new work in the context of a semester-long course, and each course culminates in the public presentation of the new work. Previous artists have included the choreographer Jacques d’Amboise, the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and the novelists Gabriel García Márquez, Rick Moody, and Meg Wolitzer, among many others. The Atelier at Large series is an extension of the Princeton Atelier that brings guest artists to campus to speak on themes, questions, and possibilities of art’s role in the modern world.
Sarah Ruhl is an award-winning American playwright, author, essayist, and professor. Her plays include In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2010; The Clean House, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005 and winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in 2004; Passion Play, winner of the PEN America Award, and the Fourth Freedom Forum Playwrighting Award from the Kennedy Center; Dead Man’s Cell Phone, which won the Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play; and Demeter in the City, which was nominated for nine NAACP Image Awards, among many others. She received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2006. Ruhl’s plays have been produced on Broadway and across the United States as well as internationally and translated into fourteen languages. She is the recipient of a Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award, a Whiting Writer’s Award, a PEN Center Award for mid-career playwrights, a Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, and a Lilly Award. She is a member of 13 Playwrights (13P) and New Dramatists. Ruhl served on the executive council of the Dramatist’s Guild for three years, and currently teaches at the Yale School of Drama. She was named a Roger S. Berlind ’52 Playwrights-in-Residence at Princeton in 2016.
Stew is a Tony Award and two-time Obie Award-winning playwright/performer, critically acclaimed singer/songwriter, and veteran of multiple dive-bar stages. His works include the rock musical Passing Strange, winner of a Tony for Best Book of a Musical in 2008, two Obies for Best New Theater Piece and Best Ensemble, and three Drama Desk Awards for Best Musical, Best Lyrics, and Best Music; as well as 12 critically acclaimed albums written between 1999 and the present by Stew & The Negro Problem and music for Spike Lee’s TV show She’s Gotta Have It. Currently a visiting lecturer at Harvard University, Stew’s classes are recognized as hothouses of multi-disciplinary, self-challenging experimentation which encourage celebratory transformation via myth-making. His courses are equally informed by the spontaneous immediacy of rock-club survival tactics and the human grandeur of theater. As an instructor, Stew strives to demystify the creative process for students, while simultaneously inviting them to create myths out of their truths, so that those truths might go deeper and shine brighter. He is currently co-teaching Athens, Georgia, a Princeton Atelier course with Muldoon centered on a new work the two are collaborating on commissioned by the Public Theater, providing students an opportunity to engage in the process of creating a new musical.
Emily Wilson is the first woman to publish a translation of Homer’s The Odyssey (W.W. Norton 2017) into English. The New York Times Magazine hailed her translation as a “radically contemporary voice,” and The Los Angeles Review of Books agreed that Wilson’s translation “breathed life into an ancient text that made it perfectly suitable to our contemporary moment.” Currently, Wilson is the College for Women Class of 1963 Term Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Classical Studies, and Graduate Chair of the Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2006, she was named a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome in Renaissance and Early Modern scholarship. Wilson is a 2019 MacArthur Fellow and a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow.
Paul Muldoon is the Howard G.B. Clark ’21 University Professor in the Humanities at Princeton, as well as Professor of Creative Writing, Director of the Princeton Atelier, and the founding chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts. As an internationally renowned Irish poet, Muldoon has been described by The Times Literary Supplement as “the most significant English-language poet born since the second World War.” Muldoon won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for his ninth collection of poems, Poems 1968-1998 (2001). Additionally, Muldoon has won the 1994 T.S. Eliot Prize, the 2003 Griffin International Prize for Excellence in Poetry, the 2004 Shakespeare Prize, and the 2006 European Prize for Poetry, among others. His fourteenth volume of poems, Howdie-Skelp, was just released last month by Farrar Straus & Giroux. Muldoon is editor of the recently released Paul McCartney boxed, two-volume set, The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, illuminating the stories behind 154 of McCartney’s song lyrics.
The next Atelier at Large event in the 2021-2022 series will be “Freedom to Write” on March 15, featuring the United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, the CEO of PEN America Suzanne Nossel, and the playwright Lynn Nottage. The series will conclude later this spring with a final event.