The Marlboro Record

Aron Grant Weaves Narrative with Spiderwoman Theater

In May, senior Rainbow Stakiwicz and theater professor Brenda Foley, her Plan sponsor, traveled to Eugene, Oregon, to participate in a Spiderwoman Theater Residency with renowned artist Muriel Miguel. A playwright, actress, elder, and founding member of Spiderwoman Theatre Company, Miguel led a series of workshops on storyweaving and narrative in collaboration with Marlboro theater professor Jean O’Hara. 

“My sponsor Brenda and I are currently working on projects that each have to do with theater portraying the fragile, frightening, and enigmatic nature of the human condition,” said Rainbow (pictured, right). “It was an incredible opportunity to work with Marlboro's own Jean O’Hara and the incomparable Muriel Miguel during their fun and radical workshop at University of Oregon.”

Brenda added, “Muriel Miguel’s process of storyweaving as a collaborative endeavor is directly applicable to teaching constructions of narrative, but also speaks to a larger pedagogy of inclusiveness and diversity that is deeply relevant for our classes at Marlboro.”

Rainbow and Brenda’s research trip was supported by the Jerome I. Aron Fund, an endowment created in 2004 in memory of Marlboro’s dear friend and trustee, Jerry Aron. The fund was established to promote collaboration between students and faculty, and Rainbow’s work with her Plan sponsor, sharing a focus on personal agency, pathways, and modes of communication, is an excellent example of this.

Both Brenda and Rainbow will spend the rest of the summer building on the Spiderwoman workshops, weaving narratives that explore personal lives responding to societal mores and restrictions. Brenda is investigating the historical treatment of women in asylums and the fragments that remain of their lives, while Rainbow is conducting oral histories across the country to explore empathy as a productive theory of acting.

“I feel so fortunate to have this time to work with Rainbow in a way that differs from the usual campus relationship and daily rhythm of classes and tutorials,” said Brenda. “The Aron grant has afforded us an opportunity to share our research and strategies with each other, the parallels and points of departure, creating time and space to work and reminding us both of the merits in process.”

“Brenda’s been researching closer to home while I explore the country, both of us looking to strangers for deep, personal narratives to translate onto the stage,” said Rainbow. “I’ve met all sorts of people, from El Paso to Chicago to Memphis, and I’m keeping in mind the advice Muriel gave me: Don't make it theatrical. Make it real.”