Mellon Forum: Lilla Brody and Sam Gurwitt
Davenport seniors Sam Gurwitt and Lilla Brody presented their research at the fifth Mellon Forum of the year. They both discussed how they use their other academic interests to inform and inspire their performances.
Sam, a History major, is also a very talented clown, who had to decide between coming to Yale and joining a circus conservatory. He is very interested in the role of memory in history. Sam performed an original clown act that he wrote a couple summers ago, inspired by a tennis racket. He portrayed both players in a tennis match rivalry. Then, Sam presented on different clowning theories, the role of emotion in clowning, and his own clowning theory. He hopes to use clowning to inspire discussion of the social issues that he is passionate about.
Lilla, a Theater Studies and Cognitive Science double major, presented on her senior Theater Studies project, playing the lead in Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire. Good People follows Margie, a South Boston resident, and centers on themes of class, choices, and who are the “good people.” To combine theater with her cognitive science interest of empathy, Lilla left questionnaires in the programs asking audience members to respond to a series of questions after the play about who the audience was rooting for, who the audience most identified with, and which character was a “good person.” Lilla was able to predict correctly the audience’s responses. In addition to discussing her experience of inhabiting her character, she discussed how playing Margie widened her perspective on who she considered a “good person.” Lilla hoped that performing this show at Yale would inspire difficult conversations about class.
STM Soup Kitchen
Our new HOC has started a new tradition in leading a group of students and faculty to volunteer at the St. Thomas More soup kitchen on the last Wednesday of every month. This week, Sonia Helen Pascale ’18, Pauli Xu ’18, Sophia Gatzionis (Mellon Fellow), Adam Van Doren (Davenport fellow), and Linc Caplan (Davenport writing tutor) joined him. St. Thomas More organizes a soup kitchen on every Wednesday, but the last Wednesday of the month is the busiest since that is when pay checks are running out. At the end of the month, they serve ~500 people in 2 hours. If you haven’t been able to participate yet, feel free to join us next semester or go on your own! Volunteers are there on Wednesday 9:30am-1:30pm, and they welcome help for any amount of time.