Sample Abstracts

Sample Abstracts

Fine Arts:

Theatre Uninhibited by Language

ABSTRACT: My theory is that theatre can portray emotion and convey a story without verbal communication. As an actor, I struggled to portray emotion while using a memorized script. As I worked through my theatrical training, I was introduced to exercises that took away language. I found artistic freedom in these exercises and formulated a research project to understand what would happen if actors were given freedom from language completely. This research is founded in the works of artists such as mime John Weaver and absurdist Samuel Beckett. One of the most prominent movement artists of our time is Anne Bogart. Her movement technique, called Viewpoints, focuses on the physical aspects of portraying emotion and kinesthetic response. This is where my physical research started. In rehearsal, actors experiment with Bogart’s viewpoints, while responding to different styles of music. Then I begin to move away from Bogart’s research. While allowing them to maintain their own organic choices, I give my actors more specific acting objectives with which to work. For example, “Imagine that your character wants to purpose.” Once completed, the actors talk to me about how the exercise expanded their physical toolbox. One comment from an actor symbolizes the heart of this research. “When the music starts, you think of an emotion, and then you start responding to that emotion. That’s when the character starts to form. And the next thing you know, you have a little story around it.” Repetition of this process will culminate in a narrative movement piece. PREPARED BY BROOK OWEN

Humanities:

World War in the Wasatch Mountains

ABSTRACT: In 1967, director Andrew V. McLaglen came to Utah to shoot a World War II adventure film with actors William Holden, Vince Edwards and Cliff Robertson. Titled The Devil’s Brigade, the film chronicles the efforts of American and Canadian troops as they struggle to drive Nazi forces out of the Italian Alps. For the picture’s climactic sequence, McLaglen and the film’s producer David Wolper set up their cameras in and around the Wasatch Front, exploiting the area’s soaring cliffs and sweeping views of nearby valleys. This paper traces the history of The Devil’s Brigade, providing information about the producers’ reasons for choosing the Wasatch region as a production location and the challenges they experienced making their movie in this rugged section of our state. PREPARED BY STEPHEN B. ARMSTRONG

The Misuse of Force: John Frankenheimer’s Police Films

ABSTRACT: Over the course of a career that spanned six decades, director John Frankenheimer often used his films and television features to criticize public servants who abuse the power of their positions, most famously, perhaps, in his two political thrillers from the early-1960s, The Manchurian Candidate and Seven Days in May. This distaste for corruption also surfaces prominently in four pictures Frankenheimer made about police and law enforcement officials: I Walk the Line, French Connection II, Dead Bang and Ronin. The paper I would like to present will explore how the protagonists in these films, although charged with preventing crimes and subduing criminals, cannot themselves abide by the laws they are expected to enforce. I will make the case that while other examples of “rogue cop” films like Fritz Lang’s The Big Heat and Don Siegel’s Dirty Harry infer that sometimes this behavior is necessary and perhaps even commendable, Frankenheimer’s police pictures, in contrast, focus emphatically on the problems that police misconduct can generate. The strength of democratic society, these films ultimately suggest, rests upon the rule of law, and whenever its protectors set personal objectives before duty, the potential for anarchy and human suffering escalates. PREPARED BY STEPHEN B. ARMSTRONG

Definitions of Scientific Terminology in Popular Science Bestsellers

ABSTRACT: My research focuses on definitions of scientific terminology in popular science bestsellers by Brian Greene, Michio Kaku, and Marcus du Sautoy. I discuss definitions from a communicative point of view and argue that definitions in popular science do not always follow the genus/differentia model and include figurative language, express the authors’ attitudes, and describe the processes in which a definiendum is involved. Such adjustments, I propose, do not diminish the role of the definition but make the information more accessible for a lay reader. In some instances, definitions are split—that is the information is divided between several definitions, and the full picture emerges when a reader considers these definitions as a whole. I call this sequence of definitions a definitional string and analyze its functions and role in the communicative process between the reader and the writer. PREPARED BY OLGA A. PILKINGTON

Sir Dinadan and Sir John Falstaff: Voices of Reason amid the Chaos of Chivalry

ABSTRACT: Chivalric codes of love and honor might seem fascinating and desirable until one looks at them up close. Shakespeare’s Henry IV parts I and II and Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur offer this close look. Alongside the traditional picture of chivalry both authors also present critical commentary. Malory and Shakespeare use Sir Dinadan and Falstaff to give their readers and audiences a fresh (for their times) perspective on love and honor. While these two characters are usually regarded as comic relief, this paper suggests that their roles are much more complex. Sir Dinadan and Sir John become the voices of reason. They are the ones to whose worldview modern readers and audiences relate most. Shakespeare and Malory use similar narrative structures to incorporate their commentators into the stories. Both Sir Dinadan and Falstaff are paired with the more socially acceptable heroes—Sir Tristram and Prince Hal, both have the opportunity to experience the battlefield, and both openly reject romantic love as prescribed by the code of chivalry. PREPARED BY OLGA A. PILKINGTON

For abstracts in other disciplines, please visit UCUR.org