Professor becomes an ambassador for theater movement

Theater Professor J’aime Morrison, will share her expertise of movement overseas starting in Fall 2010.

Morrison, a recipient of a Fulbright award, which gives participants “the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns,” according to the Council for International Exchange of Scholars website

Morrison has received the traditional Fulbright award for scholars and academics, and was awarded one of the only awards offered for theater movement.

“I feel very honored and excited,” Morrison said. “I think there were 11 or 12 Fulbright Awards this year in theatre for the whole U.S., so I am thrilled to have been selected.”

Morrison said she will be leaving for Leiria, Portugal in September and will work at the Polytechnic Institute for three months.

“Professor J’aime Morrison joins a stellar group of theater faculty (which includes Dr. H.R. Falk and professor Annie Cleveland) in recently being awarded a Fulbright Grant to work and teach in Portugal,” said Peter Grego, the theater department chair.

“We are very proud of her accomplishment and will miss her while she is working abroad. We look forward to her return when she will be sharing her experiences and research with her CSUN students,” Grego said.

There are two parts to the program: teaching and researching. The teaching portion will be a course in the theater department called “Performance and the Body.”

She also will be creating a piece on the writer Fernando Pessoa. Morrison said that the director of the theater program in Leiria is an expert on Pessoa and was interested in collaborating on a theater piece about him.

“The selection of the Pessoa work was very prescient,” Morrison said. “Pessoa wrote his books using many authorial identities which he called heteronyms. I became interested in the notion of artistic identity and how artists develop many selves.”

Morrison’s previous research focused on the Irish writer Samuel Beckett, known most famously for the play, “Waiting for Godot.”

“(Beckett) was an experimental writer and dramatist,” Morrison said. “His work is often seen as very dark or dealing with the unstable nature of being and knowing.”

“Pessoa is not such a leap from Beckett,” Morrison said. “They are both poets that regard silence as important aspects of their work.”

Morrison said that the process to receive a Fulbright is not through nomination.

“One applies and first makes it through the first round of the competition and then the documents go to the host country, in my case Portugal, and the final decision is made there,” she said. “I received a note of congratulations from Barbara Boxer – so it is just a reminder that I’ll be a cultural ambassador of sorts for the U.S. while I’m there.”