Senior and English major, Jessica Paiz, and Professor Al Coppola in the English Department have published a theater review of a production of Aphra Behn's The Rover in the scholarly journal Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Theatre Research (vol 27, no 1) summer 2012. After attending the Hudson Warehouse Theater’s production in Riverside Park with her summer class last August, she and Professor Coppola wrote the review together.
Coppola explains that the class was intended to immerse students in a crucially important genre of literature in the 18th century. Theater, Coppola explains, functioned in this period much like TV does today; it was a privileged site for the negotiation of cultural and political ideologies, a place where “people worked out their fears and fantasies” about the rapidly-changing society of the English Restoration period.
The Rover is a significant play for many reasons: Behn is the first professional female playwright in England, and in this play she rethinks and subverts the traditional roles that men and woman were expected to play in their society. The play asks many questions we grapple with today such as, “what is expected of me as a daughter, a father, a lover, a citizen?” “How do I satisfy my own desires while making my way in the world?”
Coppola said this collaboration was a gratifying experiment in the incorporation of undergraduates in scholarly research.
“I have genuine admiration for Jessica,” said Coppola. “She is a gifted writer and thinker, and it was really rewarding to see this talented undergraduate make her own contribution to the scholarly conversation about this play. I can’t say enough good things about her.”