Catherine Andre

English, Class of 2017

I am a member of the Class of 2017 with a concentration in English and certificates in Humanistic Studies and Theater.

As a director of both theater and film, I have always employed academic, interdisciplinary inquiry to find inspiration for my work. My favorite humanities courses at Princeton that have directly influenced my artistic work have been the Humanities Sequence, HUM 216-219, a multidisciplinary series of courses that covers literature, art, philosophy, history and religion from Homer through Nietzsche in the span of a year, and COM 401, entitled “Pornography, Gender and the Rise of the Novel in Europe“ with Professor Alliston.

It was HUM 216-219, the English department’s excellent faculty and its interdisciplinary nature that affirmed my choice of major, specializing in poetry throughout the ages because of its inherent orality and subsequent performativity. My first JP focused on the central passage of T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland, which is related through the blind prophet Tiresias and has become fodder for critics through the poem’s diverse critical discourse. Though this passage is widely discussed, it is not acknowledged for what it is: a rape. Using contemporary rape discourse, I systematically proved that under all contemporary definitions, this episode presents a rape that is further problematized by the strange masculinity of its narrator. I plan to continue exploring representations of the female mind, body and voice throughout my independent work, within both the English and Theater departments.

I gravitated to the Theater program rather than the other artistic curriculums on this campus because it, too, encourages interdisciplinary work. I am currently enrolled in THR 365, called Re: Staging the Greeks, in which we meld the academic and the artistic in exploring the foundations of Western drama. This program, in combination with my humanistic studies certificate, enabled me to conduct international research about Macbeth in preparation for an independent production I mounted in Chancellor Green Rotunda last fall. That summer, the support of these programs enabled me to watch theater and do archival research at the Globe Theater, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Globe Theatre Roma, the British Library and the Scottish Highlands as I adapted the script and created my vision for the show. They also provided the funds to make the production itself possible and enabled my access to the historic library we used.

I am currently assistant directing Sophocles’ tragedy Elektra, a dark, bloody tale of familial vengeance from ancient Greece, explored anew by senior Evelyn Giovine in the title role with direction by Alexandru Mihail. Performances are February 5, 6, 11, 12 & 13 at 8:00 p.m. in the Marie & Edward Matthews ’53 Acting Studio at 185 Nassau Street.