Robert Wilson, the Texas-born director and playwright who is considered among the world’s foremost theater and visual artists, will headline Rice University’s Campbell Lecture Series March 26-28.
The lectures, which are free and open to the public, will begin at 6 each night and will be in the Rice Media Center auditorium. Each lecture will be approximately 45 minutes, followed by a Q-and-A with the audience.
The New York Times has described Wilson as “a towering figure in the world of experimental theater and an explorer in the uses of time and space on stage.” The Waco native unconventionally integrates a wide variety of artistic media, including dance, movement, lighting, sculpture, music and text, into his work, according to the series’ host, the School of Humanities. “His images are aesthetically striking and emotionally charged, and his productions have earned the acclaim of audiences and critics worldwide,” said Dean of Humanities Nicolas Shumway.
After studying at the University of Texas and Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute, Wilson founded the New York-based performance collective The Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds in the mid-1960s and developed his first signature works, including “Deafman Glance” (1970) and “A Letter for Queen Victoria” (1974-1975). With Philip Glass he wrote the seminal opera “Einstein on the Beach” (1976).
Wilson’s artistic collaborators include many writers and musicians, such as Heiner Müller, Tom Waits, Susan Sontag, Laurie Anderson, William Burroughs, Lou Reed and Jessye Norman. He has also left his imprint on masterworks such as Beckett’s “Krapp’s Last Tape,” Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly,” Debussy’s “Pelléas et Melisande,” Brecht/Weill’s “Threepenny Opera,” Büchner’s “Woyzeck,” Jean de la Fontaine’s “Fables” and Homer’s “Odyssey.”
The Campbell Lecture Series was made possible by a $1 million contribution from Rice alumnus T.C. Campbell ’34, who wanted to further the study of literature and the humanities with a 20-year annual series of public lectures. Through special arrangements with the University of Chicago Press, each lecture series is later published as a book. Previous Campbell lecturers include Robert Pinsky (2005), Ha Jin (2006), Alix Ohlin (2007), Stephen Greenblatt (2008), James Cuno (2009), Zadie Smith (2010), Stanley Fish (2012) and Patrick Summers (2013).