Alisa Ballard Lin

Alisa Ballard Lin

Alisa Ballard Lin

Assistant Professor

418 Hagerty Hall (office) & 400 Hagerty Hall (mailing)
1775 College Rd.
Columbus, OH

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Office Hours

Spring 2020: Fridays 2:30PM-4:30PM

Areas of Expertise

  • Theater and performance studies
  • Russian literature and philosophy
  • Modernism
  • Performance philosophy
  • Translation studies
  • Vladimir Nabokov


  • Ph.D., Princeton University, 2016, Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • M.A., Princeton University, 2013, Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • A.B., Brown University, 2009, Slavic Studies and Comparative Literature

Alisa Ballard Lin’s research is on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian and East European theater, literature, film, and culture, with particular focus on the theory and philosophy of performance. Her research interests include theater’s intersections with philosophy and psychology, history of acting, religious performance, constructions of identity and the self, and the material history of textiles and fashion in the cultures of Russia and Eastern Europe. At OSU she teaches courses on Russian and Czech literature, film, and culture from the 19th through 21st centuries, as well as on the theory and practice of translation.

Lin’s current book project, Theatrical Consciousness: Actor and Self in Russian Modernism, argues that the radical reinvention of acting technique in early-20th century Russia engaged with the latest developments in philosophy and psychology to formulate a new theory of the self. Key figures in the book include Konstantin Stanislavsky, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Alexander Tairov, Nikolai Evreinov, Michael Chekhov, Gustav Shpet, Lev Vygotsky, and Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky.

Lin is the editor and translator of Krzhizhanovsky’s play That Third Guy and essays on theater (University of Wisconsin Press, 2018) and has presented at numerous conferences, including ASEEES, AATSEEL, ASTR, and the Mid-America Theatre Conference. Her research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Fulbright Program.


That Third Guy by Dr. Alisa Ballard Lin

That Third Guy: A Comedy from the Stalinist 1930s with Essays on Theater, translated and edited by Alisa Ballard Lin, foreword by Caryl Emerson (University of Wisconsin Press, 2018)

This collection of theater writings by the Russian modernist Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky brings his powerful, wildly imaginative vision of theater to an English-language audience for the first time. The centerpiece is his play That Third Guy (1937), a farce written at the onset of the Stalinist Terror and never performed. Its plot builds on Alexander Pushkin’s poem “Cleopatra,” while parodying the themes of Eros and empire in the Cleopatra tales of two writers Krzhizhanovsky adored: Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw. In a chilling echo of the Soviet 1930s, Rome here is a police state, and the Third Guy (a very bad poet) finds himself in its dragnet. As he scrambles to escape his fate, the end of the Roman Republic thunders on offstage.

The volume also features selections from Krzhizhanovsky’s compelling and idiosyncratic essays on Shakespeare, Pushkin, Shaw, and the philosophy of theater. Professionally, he worked with director Alexander Tairov at the Moscow Kamerny Theater, and his original philosophy of the stage bears comparison with the great theater theorists of the twentieth century. In these writings, he reflects on the space and time of the theater, the resonance of language onstage, the experience of the actor, and the relationship between theater and the everyday. Commentary by Alisa Ballard Lin and Caryl Emerson contextualizes Krzhizhanovsky’s writings.