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Ellen W. Kaplan
Professor of Theatre
Director of Jewish Studies, 2009-2010

email Send E–mail office Office: Mendenhall CPA 202
Hours: T/TH 1:00-2:00, and by appointment
phone Phone: 585–3207

Ellen W. Kaplan is Chair of Theatre, Professor of acting and directing at Smith College, a Fulbright Scholar in Costa Rica and twice a Fulbright Artist in Residence in Hong Kong at Hong Kong University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Ellen has performed and directed internationally, in China at Shenyang Normal University; Israel at the Khan, Sherover and Jerusalem Theatres and Hebrew University; and directed work in Spanish in Costa Rica and in Puerto Rico. During a year in Jerusalem, she taught at Tel Aviv University and worked with intercultural theatre companies around the country. Directing credits include a tour of Gathering the Waters by Teresa Whitaker; The Sisters Rosensweig at New Century Theatre, Bellow on Stage at The Egg, Albany, NY, and With Dream Awakened Eyes, a one woman show based on the work of Charlotte Salomon. She has published one book, Images of Mental Illness in Text and Performance, and is working on a new book, The Ties Don't Bind, about Jewish American identity in contemporary theatre. Her publications include essays in Our Voices: An Anthology of Jewish Women's Writing; poetry in The Deronda Review and WordMyth; scholarly journals in Jewish History, Theatre Topics, Studies in Theatre and Performance, and a book chapter (in Spanish) on the work of Argentinian playwright Nora Glickman.

Ellen's plays have been performed at Theatre Matrix, LA; Cleveland Public Theatre; Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, and internationally, in Ireland, Israel, and at the Jewish State Theater of Bucharest, Romania. Her play about living in Israel during the 2nd intifada, Pulling Apart, a finalist for the O'Neill Playwrights Conference, was produced in New Haven and received a Moss Hart Award. She translated stories from Cuentos de Eva Luna by Isabel Allende and adapted them for the stage. Media work includes "Mixed Blessings," a documentary about Jews and Gypsies in Eastern Europe; radio dramas, and a CD ROM on writer Juan Rulfo.

Ellen is active in theatre outreach; recent projects include theatre work with incarcerated mothers, adolescents in Holyoke, MA, and a project with adjudicated teens to create spoken word drama for radio. In the Summer of 2008 she participated in an NEH Institute on Performing Shakespeare, and attended the Inside Out Training Program for teaching in prisons; she will teach a course at the Chicopee Women's Correctional facility in Fall, 2011.