Shonni Enelow, assistant professor of English at Fordham University, has been chosen as the winner of the 2015-2016 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for her book “Method Acting and Its Discontents” (Northwestern University Press, 2015).
The Nathan Award committee comprises the heads of the English departments of Cornell, Princeton and Yale universities and the award is administered by Cornell’s Department of English. According to the committee, in “Method Acting” Enelow offers a “forceful and timely rethinking of the American theater’s dominant acting theory. In chapters ranging across Broadway and Off Broadway plays, Hollywood and experimental films, and classroom sessions at the Actors Studio, she probes the Method’s assumptions, identifies its blindspots, and tests it against the tumultuous politics of the 1950s and 1960s.”
Enelow specializes in modern and contemporary drama and performance studies, comparative literature, and literary and cultural theory. She is the co-author, with Una Chaudhuri, of “Research Theatre, Climate Change, and the Ecocide Project” (2014), which includes her original play “Carla and Lewis.” Her play “The Power of Emotion” was part of The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival in 2015.
The Nathan Award was endowed by George Jean Nathan (1882-1958), a prominent theater critic who published 34 books on the theater and co-edited (with H.L. Mencken) two influential magazines, The Smart Set and The American Mercury. Nathan graduated from Cornell in 1904; as a student, he served as editor of The Cornell Daily Sun and the humor magazine The Cornell Widow.
Previous winners include Jill Dolan, Randy Gener, Alisa Solomon, Charles Isherwood, Elinor Fuchs, Hilton Als, Cornell professor H. Scott McMillin, and last year’s joint winners, Brian Eugenio Herrera and Chris Jones. For more information about the Nathan Award, visit www.arts.cornell.edu/english/awards/nathan.