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Allen Kuharski

Professor and Chair, Stephen Lang Professor of the Performing Arts

Theater

Contact

  1. Email:akuhars1@swarthmore.edu
  2. Phone: (610) 328-7794
  3. Fax: (610) 957-6179
  4. LPAC 015
Allen Kuharski

See more of Allen Kuharski's work: Faculty Bibliography

Listen to Allen Kuharski's faculty lecture:
"Pig Iron Theatre Company and the Re-Imagination of American Theater: 1995-2010"

Professor Allen Kuharski has taught at Swarthmore College since 1990, and has also taught at the University of California at Berkeley and in the graduate program in theatre at Villanova University. 

His articles, translations, and reviews have been widely published in the United States, Great Britain, Poland, France, Austria, and the Netherlands.  Plays that he has translated or productions for which he has served as dramaturge have been widely performed nationally and internationally.

Kuharski has worked as an editor for Theatre Journal, Slavic and East European Performance, and Periphery: Journal of Polish Affairs.  He is a co-editor of the ongoing sixteen-volume Polish edition of the complete works of playwright Witold Gombrowicz, as well as for the official website on the writer's work launched in France by his widow Rita Gombrowicz in 2010 (with all material available in five languages, including English).

In recent years, Kuharski has given lectures at Yale University, Harvard University, UCLA, the University of Virginia, Colgate University, Muhlenberg College, and UC-Santa Cruz.  He has also lectured internationally at Oxford University, Université Paris IV-Sorbonne, Université Charles de Gaulle (Lille), Jagiellonian University (Cracow), and the University of Toronto. 

In 2002, he received the Order of Merit in Polish Culture; in 2006 he was given the Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz Award by the Polish chapter of the International Theatre Institute/UNESCO.

Professor Kuharski has organized guest artist residencies and performances at Swarthmore by director/actor/playwright Joseph Chaikin (1991; 2001); the San Francisco Mime Troupe (1993); Peggy Shaw (1994); the Qi Shu Fang Peking Opera Company (1994); Sotigui Kouyaté Company of Burkina Faso (1998); the Silesian Dance Theatre of Bytom, Poland (1999, 2001); Teatr Provisorium & Kompania Teatr of Lublin, Poland (2000; 2001); the Pig Iron Theatre Company (2001); Teatr Slava of Stockholm, Sweden (2006); playwright Adriano Shaplin and the Riot Group (2007); and French actor and master voice teacher Jean-René Toussaint (2008).

He also organized two major symposiums on the Swarthmore campus: "Dancing History: Poland and Contemporary Dance Theatre" (November 2001; dedicated to contextualizing the work of choreographer Jacek Luminski and the Silesian Dance Theatre) and "The Invisible Art: Dramaturgy in American Theater" (February 2003; in honor of the retirement of Prof. Lee Devin).  In 2009, he organized international panels on campus and in Philadelphia devoted to the work of Polish playwright Witold Gombrowicz and director Michal Zadara '99, in conjunction with a touring production by Zadara of Gombrowicz's Operetta in the 2009 Philadelphia LiveArts Festival.

Kuharski nominated the distinguished feminist/queer theorist Sue-Ellen Case as the Lang Visiting Professor of Social Change in Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender Studies, Theater, and English Literature in 1993-94. He similarly nominated Polish choreographer Jacek Luminski of the Silesian Dance Theatre in Bytom as Lang Visiting Professor of Social Change in Theater and Dance in the Fall semester of 2001.

In addition to chairing the Department of Theater since 1997, he has chaired the William J. Cooper Foundation on campus, the Sager Fund Committee for LBGT Studies, and the Swarthmore College Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.  Off-campus, Kuharski serves on the boards of the Pig Iron Theatre Company in Philadelphia and the Riot Group in New York City.

Prof. Kuharski also co-founded the Swarthmore College's semester-abroad programs in Theater, Dance, and Environmental Studies in 1999, and co-directed the programs in Theater and Dance there through 2009.

Professional / Production Experience

Literary Advisor, Teatr Provisorium & Kompania Teatr, Lublin, Poland (2000-present).

Translator (with Helena M. White) for Tadeusz Rozewicz's Bite the Dust  (Do Piachu) for performance in English by Teatr Provisorium & Kompania Teatr of Lublin, Poland.  English-language version first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008.  Subsequently performed in Lublin (2008) and Trondheim (Norway, 2008).

Set Designer, Euripides's Bacchai.  Department of Theater, Swarthmore College (2007).

Dramaturgical Consultant for Witold Gombrowicz's Operetta, Eugene Lang College/La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club (New York City, 2006).

Dramaturge for Pig Iron Theatre Company's production of Adriano Shaplin's Hell Meets Henry Halfway, freely based on Witold Gombrowicz's novel Possessed.  Performed at Swarthmore College (2004); Philadelphia LiveArts Festival (Plays and Players Theatre, 2004); Princeton University (2004); Kaunas (Lithuania, 2004); Warsaw and Lublin (Poland, 2004); New York City (Ohio Theater, 2004); Harvard University (2005); Philadelphia (Drexel University, 2006); Wesleyan University (2006); L'viv (Ukraine, 2006); University of Virginia (2007); Washington, DC (Woolly Mammoth Theatre, 2009); Mamroneck, NY (Emelin Theatre, 2010).  Hell Meets Henry Halfway received an OBIE Award (Special Citation) in 2005.   

Dramaturge for Theatre Exile of Philadelphia's production of the East Coast professional premiere of Witold Gombrowicz's Ivona, Princess of Burgundia in 2002.

Translator/Dramaturge, Ferdydurke, stage adaptation of the novel by Witold Gombrowicz by Teatr Provisorium & Kompania Teatr. English-language version performed at Swarthmore College (2000, 2001); Philadelphia (The Arts Bank; 2000); New York City (Raw Space, 2000; La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, 2001); Los Angeles (City Garage, 2000; Odyssey Theatre, 2004); Pomona College (2000); University of California at Los Angeles (2000); Chicago (Chopin Theater, 2002; Chicago Humanities Festival, 2004); Princeton University (2001); University of Utah (2001); Indiana University (2002); Indianapolis (American Caberet Theater, 2002); Cairo International Theatre Festival (2001); Theatre Confrontations Festival (Lublin, Poland, 2002, 2004); Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2001); Warsaw (Teatr MaLy, 2002); Stockholm and Falun (Sweden, 2003); Yale School of Drama (2004); Trondheim (Norway, 2006); London (Bloomsbury Theatre, 2007).

The English-language version of Ferdydurke was awarded a Fringe First at the 2001 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and was nominated for the "Passport" Award for theater in Poland in 2001. The text together with Kuharski's introduction was published in PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art in 2002.

Translator (with George Moskos), Rhinoceros, by Eugène Ionesco. Originally commissioned by the Studio Theatre (Washington, DC, 1995). Also produced in Greenboro, NC (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1998); Philadelphia (Theatre Exile, 2000); Salt Lake City (University of Utah, 2000); Fresno, CA (American College Theatre Festival-West Coast Regional, 2000); Berkeley, CA (Berkeley Repertory Theatre; 2002); Boston (Boston College, 2002; TheatreWorks, 2004; Boston University, 2006).

Translator (with Dariusz Bukowski), History, by Witold Gombrowicz. Published in PAJ (1998) with Kuharski's introduction.

Director, Details/Cannot/Body/Wants, by Chin Woon Ping, Urban Stages, New York City (1997). Performed by Chin Woon Ping, and featuring Qi Shu Fang and Ding Mei Kwei of the Qi Shu Fang Peking Opera Company.

Dramaturge, Ivona, Princess of Burgundia, by Witold Gombrowicz. Directed by Gail Lerner. Columbia University (1996).

Company Dramaturge, Stalhouderij Theatre Company, Amsterdam. 1991-94.

Director, The War In Heaven (by Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin), Struck Dumb (by Jean-Claude van Itallie and Joseph Chaikin), and What Is The Word (by Samuel Beckett). Performed by Joseph Chaikin. Swarthmore College (1991).

Director, The Swarthmore Impromptu II: An Evening of New Student Playwriting. Swarthmore College, 1991.

Director, The Swarthmore Impromptu: An Evening of New Student Playwriting . Swarthmore College, 1990.

Set Designer, The Glass Menagerie (by Tennessee Williams), University of California at Berkeley/SignRise Theatre for the Deaf. Statewide California tour (1987)

Director, The War In Heaven (by Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin), The Victims of Duty (by Eugène Ionesco). Performed by Joseph Chaikin. International Theatre Festival and Conference, Gardzienice Theatre Association, Lublin, Poland (1987).

Set Designer, Benefactors, by Michael Frayn (West Coast premiere). Addison Stage Company, Berkeley, CA (1987).

Set Designer, Hurlyburly, by David Rabe (West Coast premiere). Addison Stage Company, Berkeley, CA (1987).

Set Designer, Talley's Folly, by Lanford Wilson. Addison Stage Company, Berkeley, CA (1986).

Director, Set Designer, White Marriage, by Tadeusz Rozewicz. University of California at Berkeley (1986).

Director for seven productions at the University of California at Berkeley (1982-85).

Set designer for 20 productions at the University of California at Berkeley (1982-87).

Set designer for productions at San Francisco Opera (1983), California Coast Opera (1984-85), Foothill College (Los Altos, CA, 1984), the University of Wisconsin at Madison (1979-80). (indent to match above)

Education

Ph.D. in Dramatic Art (Director-Scholar Program), University of California at Berkeley, 1991. M.A. in Dramatic Art (Director-Scholar Program), University of California at Berkeley, 1986. Fulbright Scholar in Scenography, Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, 1981. B.A. in Theatre & Drama (emphasis in set design -- graduated with honors and distinction), University of Wisconsin at Madison, 1981. Phi Beta Kappa, inducted 1980.

Publications

Please see Profesor Kuharski's entries in the Swarthmore College Faculty Bibliography.