Graduate Student to Present Paper at the American Drama Conference

Meghan Kurta to present paper on American playwright Arthur Miller’s four Holocaust-centered plays

Photo: Mike Peters

Meghan Kurta

A paper by second-year Montclair State graduate student Meghan Kurta has been chosen to be presented at the American Drama Conference, to be held at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, New York from November 7 through November 9, 2008. Featuring noted educators, scholars, drama critics and performers, the American Drama Conference is an annual event which focuses on all aspects of American drama, playwrights and theatre.

Originally written for the “Holocaust in American Fiction” class taught by Professor Rita Jacobs, Kurta’s paper concerns Arthur Miller’s four Holocaust-centered plays, After the Fall, Incident at Vichy, Playing for Time, and Broken Glass. Through these plays she explores the various degrees to which Miller includes the Holocaust in the story, the reasons for its inclusion, and other aspects of the role that the Holocaust plays in the works.

“Initially I had just planned on researching Holocaust theatre in general,” says Kurta. “But upon finding there was not a large amount, I discovered that Miller himself had written four separate plays dealing with this subject matter. The discovery that a single playwright had produced such a significant number of plays piqued my curiosity.”

Professor Jacobs, who will be presenting a paper on Tony Kushner at the same conference, encouraged Kurta to submit her paper for consideration and is pleased with the outcome. “It’s truly exciting that she will be presenting at the conference where a number of noted American drama scholars will be speaking,” remarked Jacobs.

Although Kurta is working toward an M.A. in English with a concentration in American Literature, she has always been interested in drama. “Drama, particularly 20th century and contemporary American Drama, is one of my primary areas of interest,” says Kurta. “My other interests range from Shakespeare to Postmodernism to Children's Literature. Lately I have become particularly interested in the works of Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project,” she adds.

A Summa Cum Laude graduate of Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania (B.A. in English with a concentration in Theatre), Kurta is not only a full-time graduate student but has been a Graduate Assistant for the Film Studies Program for the past two years. Once she earns an M.A. from Montclair State, she plans to continue her education by pursuing a Ph.D., with the ultimate goal of working in higher education.