[Theaterfacultystaff] Tantrum Theater?

Dennis, Daniel dennisd at ohio.edu
Fri Jun 5 14:07:21 EDT 2015

Re: Tantrum Theater

I agree that the name should contain or invoke a particular image or idea, and that we want it to project the "right" image. The question is: What is the right image? I think the right image is one that should interest and entice a local, regional, and, eventually, national audience.

I think we want our name to be autonomous. It should allow us the flexibility to create any kind of work we want to make. At the same time, I think it should refer, however obliquely, to our roots. In my mind, months ago, the theater was called Ohio Rep; it was an easy shorthand for me. But the repertory model is not what we are trying to re-create. (For one thing, we can't afford it!) And the name Ohio Repertory Theater is, like many mission statements, both generic and stuffy. Fortunately, I feel our current mission is specific to our special circumstances and still leaves us open to that which we cannot yet foresee. Here it is, in its latest iteration:

Our mission is to create and propel forward a resident professional theater company and training conservatory in Dublin, Ohio in a partnership between the City of Dublin, the Dublin Arts Council, and the Ohio University College of Fine Arts and Theater Division. We seek 1) to connect and impact the Dublin and Athens communities through educational outreach and culturally diverse innovative programming that encompasses multiple theatrical disciplines, 2) to develop new work and offer new points of view on classic stories that have contemporary relevance, and 3) to offer opportunities for intercultural exchange.

The mission mentions the two communities of Athens and Dublin by name and focuses us on both the profession and education. Further, it centers on connection, emergence, and exchange. Each of these words implies movement and energy. For me, energy is the right image. We are making something new, something exciting, creating opportunity, partnership, and community.

To return to the name, "tantrum" includes a veiled reference to our roots as bobcats. We are that rare group of solitary, independent creatures that are choosing to work together. The word "tantrum" definitely contains all those ideas that some of you are bristling at: youth, passion, disagreement, argument. Perhaps those are the ideas you are not wanting to be associated with? I have to say that those are exactly the ideas I do want to be associated with. I am especially thinking of our many different notions of theater, the way we might disagree about what exactly we should put on our stages.

I had a meeting with my Dubliner friend Michael McCabe this morning. He was speaking to me over Skype from the other Dublin, not the one we're trying to work with. He is a theater maker and teacher, who has a small group called Icarus Theater Company. I told him what we were trying to do, and I shared with him the name Tantrum Theater to ask his opinion. The words he reflected back to me were: energy, volatility, excitement, disagreement. He noted that he thought it left space for the audience. And he said he really liked to say the name Tantrum Theater, that it rolled out of his mouth in an enjoyable way.

I too like to say the name Tantrum Theater, and I really think that speaks volumes (pun intended). I think the name leaves room for possibility. I don't think it implies a specific genre or kind of theater; on the contrary, it implies a feeling. I like that it is not geographically specific—we are, after all, making a deal to reside in an area that is not quite our own. (Will our company be there always? We don't know.) And still, even though the name doesn't hammer you over the head with it, there is the connection to Ohio University for those who will enjoy seeing the expanding possibilities of being a bobcat. I'm sure OU Advancement could make much of this connection.

So, there's my argument for the name. You all should know that the list of names that have been considered is a long one. But I think this is the best of the lot.

Daniel C. Dennis, MFA PhD
Visiting Assistant Professor of Voice and Movement
School of Dance, Film, and Theater
Ohio University
Athens, OH 45701

From: Laura Parotti <lauraparrotti at gmail.com<mailto:lauraparrotti at gmail.com>>
Date: Friday, June 5, 2015 10:12 AM
To: Erik Ramsey <playwriting at gmail.com<mailto:playwriting at gmail.com>>
Cc: Theater List Serv <theaterfacultystaff at listserv.ohio.edu<mailto:theaterfacultystaff at listserv.ohio.edu>>
Subject: Re: [Theaterfacultystaff] Tantrum Theater?

My thoughts as well.

On Jun 4, 2015, at 4:47 PM, Erik Ramsey wrote:

I'm going a bit against the grain here, but I do not like "tantrum" as a name for  this professional theater. While fun and ironic when informally applied to a group of very generous people like the recent MFA class, I don't feel like "tantrum" by itself (or modified with the word Dublin) projects the right image for this particular theater as it starts life. The context for the potential irony in using the word "tantrum" is not as available to those who don't know us or our artistic intent.

Erik Ramsey
Associate Professor of Playwriting
Ohio University Division of Theater
MFA Playwriting Program: http://ohioplaywriting.org<http://ohioplaywriting.org/>

On Wed, Jun 3, 2015 at 8:48 PM, VerNooy, Rebecca <vernooy at ohio.edu<mailto:vernooy at ohio.edu>> wrote:

I like it lots!! We'll have to live up to the name, and that idea excites me.



or, Tantra Theatre ? (although isn't there a sexual association with this?) (that could be fun) why are there no smiley faces on outlook?

Tantra is that Asian body of beliefs and practices which, working from the principle that the universe we experience is nothing other than the concrete manifestation of the divine energy of the godhead<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divinity> that creates and maintains that universe, seeks to ritually appropriate and channel that energy, within the human microcosm, in creative and emancipatory ways.[6]<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tantra#cite_note-8>


Rebecca VerNooy
Ohio University
School of Theater
Assistant Professor
009 Kantner Hall
From:theaterfacultystaff-bounces at listserv.ohio.edu<mailto:theaterfacultystaff-bounces at listserv.ohio.edu> <theaterfacultystaff-bounces at listserv.ohio.edu<mailto:theaterfacultystaff-bounces at listserv.ohio.edu>> on behalf of Lincoln, Michael <lincolnm at ohio.edu<mailto:lincolnm at ohio.edu>>
Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2015 5:56 PM
To: Theater List Serv
Subject: [Theaterfacultystaff] Tantrum Theater?

Dear Theater Faculty,

The 2015 Class of MFA Actors called themselves Tantrum because they discovered that the collective noun for Bobcats is a Tantrum. It has been suggested that we name the Theater Company in Dublin Tantrum Theater. The Dean, Rachel Cornish, Dan Dennis and I have discussed this and like the idea and we wanted to bring it to you all and see if there are any objections or alternate suggestions. In addition to being an veiled reference to OHIO University, it is a fitting reference to the last class to appear at Monomoy. And it’s not The Bobcats, god forbid! We need to decide on a name this summer in order for Advancement to start working on donors for the theater.


This is a website that references a Tantrum of Bobcats.


I hope your summers are going well. We finally have air conditioning back in Kantner!


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