Tomorrow night at 7:00 pm a group of wildly famous, uber-talented authors will be hanging out at Bend's Tin Pan Theater. And, get this, they're all dead
. Writers such as Oscar Wilde, Gerturde Stein, and Dorothy Parker will be brought to life again by students of the OSU Cascades Low Residency Creative Writing MFA Program
—and hopefully a few non-student lit-geeks—as part of their "Dearly Departed" tribute to authors of yesteryear. The cost is a mere $5 suggested donation and if you act fast
, you might still be able to join the roster.
I interviewed Irene Cooper, Creative Writing MFA student who will be making her impostor debut as American satirist and poet Dorothy Parker
Source Weekly: How does "Dearly Departed" support the MFA Program's philosophy— to "teach ourselves to play outside our comfort zones" and "celebrate our own and each others' adventures in self-expression"?
Irene Cooper: "Dearly Departed"
is a whimsical way to tap into some of our literary lineage. I say whimsy, but costumes are a funny thing. Some people feel liberated by costumes, some feel protected by them and others feel entirely exposed by dress-up. "Dearly Departed" is a fabulous opportunity to explore our literary icons
as people to whom we have a connection, without worrying about egos, because, you know, they're dead.
SW: Who will you be channeling and how will you prepare for the event?
I am almost completely certain I will come to play as Dorothy Parker
. I have selected a few poems that may be read under the allotted time (I sense that Mrs. Parker was punctual, among her other celebrated qualities). I screened Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle
a while back and I watched Anne Hathaway read one of Parker's essays
(no help at all). I have a wig.
What kind of creative and artistic license does this kind of literary event afford participants and audience members that a more traditional reading does not?
There is a certain protocol to a so-called traditional reading that is hard to put aside without some major shift. If the reading is of someone else's work, I think the reader aims to honor the writer in a sincere manner. So, someone stands at the front of the room, others sit and listen respectfully. One might shake it up by changing the space or in some way re-drawing the boundaries.The costume
, here, is the shift. It provides a chance to embody the artist, to run some blood and oxygen through the material, and to perhaps take a little liberty with one's interpretation. We love them, we respect them, but again, they're dead, and we're not, and most of this stuff is now public domain
Irene Cooper is a Creative Writing graduate student at the OSU-Cascades Low Residency MFA Program.