Alisa Ballard Lin
418 Hagerty Hall (office) & 400 Hagerty Hall (mailing)
1775 College Rd.
Spring 2022: Wednesdays 3:00-4:00PM
Areas of Expertise
- Theater and performance studies
- Russian literature and philosophy
- Film studies
- Translation studies
- 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, the culture of Soviet espionage and policing practices, gender and celebrity studies, the medical humanities, and the material history of textiles and fashion in Russia and Eastern Europe.
Lin’s complete book manuscript, Theatrical Consciousness: Russian Theorists of the Actor’s Mind, argues that Russian theatrical thought and practice contributed to a wider pre- and post-revolutionary discourse on the mind, including concepts of consciousness, perception, identity, and the constitution of the subject. The book examines efforts in the Russian theater from around 1900 through the mid-1930s to stimulate, train, imagine, and ultimately understand the actor’s, as well as the spectator’s mind. Lin identifies in this material an underappreciated dimension of humanism within Russian modernism, a humanism that resisted the pressures of an increasingly technologized, industrialized, and politicized modernity that challenged the place of the human within it. Key figures in the book include Liubov Gurevich, Nikolai Evreinov, Konstantin Stanislavsky, Lev Vygotsky, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Gustav Shpet, Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, Alexander Tairov, and Pavel Iakobson.
Lin is also developing a new comparative project, “I Don’t Believe You!”: Christianity, Performance, and Belief in Russia and Eastern Europe. This monograph is on concepts of belief in intersections of religious and theatrical practices across Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and Czechia, focusing on a set of case studies that illuminate the larger questions of how Christianity in these regions has both appropriated performativity and has influenced theatrical practice.
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.
- Masterpieces of Russian Literature (Russian 2250/2250H)
- Modern Russian Experience through Film (Russian 3460)
- The Russian Spy: Cultures of Surveillance, Secret Agents, and Hacking from the Cold War through Today (Russian 3480)
- The Russian Writer: Vladimir Nabokov (Russian 5250.04)
- Russian Translation: Theory, Practice, and the Profession (Russian 5630)
- Introduction to Slavic and East European Literature and Culture (Slavic 2345)
- Film Theory, Gender, and National Identity in Slavic Cinema (Slavic 6457)
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.