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Theatre graduate student presents paper in Spain

By Alec Jennings
University News Service
May 8, 2009

Teresa Stankiewicz

Texas State University-San Marcos graduate student in playwriting Teresa Stankiewicz earned a trip to the Universidad de Huelva, Spain May 6, where she presented a scholarly research paper.

Her paper, "Straight-jacket or Freedom: Transgender in the Life and Works of Rachilde," is a study of transgender in the female, French playwright's influential work. Furthermore, Stankiewicz earned second place at the Texas Educational Theatre Association's scholar debut competition Jan. 23 for a similar paper on the subject.

"As a playwriting student I want to study as many plays and playwrights as possible.  I'm also interested in voices of gender and color.  I was introduced to Rachilde's works by Dr. Sandra Mayo in our Backgrounds in Modern Drama class," Stankiewicz said.  "I was fascinated by Rachilde's macabre plays and wanted to study her further.  When I discovered that she cross-dressed in the late 1890s I knew I had to study her life and her work to discover how a woman could present herself as a man and become a celebrated author during those times."

Stankiewicz earned a BLS from St. Edward's University and an MFA in Dance from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She said she was drawn to Texas State due to quality faculty and visible professionalism in its on-stage productions.

"I attended theatre productions and was so impressed with the professional level of quality that I knew I had to study theatre here," she said.

It was her broad interests in a variety of subjects, her research in respect to Rachilde and encouragement from Texas State teaching staff that led her to apply to present at the conference in Spain.

"Our theatre graduate advisor, Dr. Debra Charlton, encourages all of us to send our research papers to conferences for presentation," Stankiewicz said.  "My interest in interdisciplinary studies and my research on Rachilde made this conference a perfect fit.  I was notified via email, and was surprised and thrilled that I would be considered for such an honor."

She will graduate with a master's in playwriting from Texas State in May 2010. She plans to continue interdisciplinary study, and to ultimately earn a Ph.D. to teach at the collegiate level. She also intends to continue writing plays.