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One-woman show on environmentalist comes to Dalton

by Mark Schwerin

Oct. 30, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of Claudia Stevens.
Stevens as Miriam Rothschild
KALAMAZOO--A one-woman theatrical production about famed scientist, environmentalist and animal rights champion Dame Miriam Rothschild will come to life at Western Michigan University.

"Pigeon" is Claudia Stevens' new monologue play and will be performed at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. The performance is open to the public free of charge.

Set in 1984, the play depicts Rothschild, the famed British naturalist, chemist, inventor and environmental activist, with a group of visiting American students, sharing ideas with them as she prepares to give an important lecture, "Animals and Man," at Oxford. Rothschild agonizes over the use of animals in research, while also confronting her past. Early in her career, and to assist with the war effort, she occasionally and sometimes needlessly put lab animals to death.

"Pigeon" celebrates the precious nature of all life, using drama, music and audience interaction to explore the problem of suffering and human indifference.

Claudia Stevens

Stevens is a pianist, singer, musicologist and composer and holds degrees from Vassar College, the University of California at Berkley and Boston University. She has held academic positions at Williams College and the College of William and Mary.

Among her many honors as a creative and performing artist are 12 consecutive touring grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and numerous residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Gitameit Art Center in Rangoon, Burma, the RS9 Studio Theatre in Budapest and Brandeis University. She has created some 15 solo plays for her own performance as a musician and monologue artist, often presented at the national level. Stevens also is a librettist. The chamber opera, "The Dawn Makers," by Allen Shearer with libretto by Stevens, premiered at Herbst Theater in San Francisco in 2009 to critical acclaim.

"Pigeon" by Claudia Stevens is sponsored by the WMU Center for the Humanities, and by the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, College of Arts and Sciences and College of Fine Arts.

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