My name is Morgana, and this blog was initially dedicated to my final college project for Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.  It will now chronicle the further work I do in the realm of compiling my family’s history and creating various artworks from it.

Below is my first “About” page description, which I’ve decided to keep for posterity:

My name is Morgana, and I am a fourth-year, Division III student at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.  This blog is dedicated to my Division III project:  a design-driven circus show that takes place in South-Central Italy during the Fascist era.  This is where I will post my thoughts and ideas about my process, as well as links to songs/videos/images online that have inspired my work this year.

Why design?

One of my main concentrations over the last few years has been mask-making and costume design.  The so-called “studio arts” are my outlet for getting out thoughts and helping me to understand my process.  For my project, I will be utilizing the assistance of other designers so that I can concentrate on all the areas I have laid out for it.  It is very important to me that my design sense and aesthetic be a part of the experience of my show.

Why circus?

When I got to Hampshire, I thought that I was going to study creative writing.  Shortly thereafter, I joined the school’s circus collective, Circus Folk Unite!, and realized that this was a place where I could study just about anything I wanted.  I had to confront the need to explore my passion for clowning, comedy, and the “lower” art forms, of which circus is one.  I have been an active participant in CFU!, and I believe that circus and clowning can put across a very poignant message if done properly.

Why Italy?

I suspect that I’ll actually make a lot of posts about this, so I won’t go too in-depth here.   Suffice to say, my maternal grandparents are from two different small towns in the province of Abruzzo.  I grew up with these grandparents, and being Italian has always been a point of pride for them, and more recently for me.  As a child, I took Italian folklore classes where I learned some very basic Italian language, songs, poems, and dances.  From perhaps pre-teenagehood until I started college, I was more or less ambivalent about my heritage; indeed, sometimes I resented it because of the ever-prevalent stereotypes that Italians are given in this country – and the fourth- and fifth-generation Italian-Americans who insisted on perpetuating those stereotypes.

In college, however, as a part of my discovery of clowning, I began to delve into the commedia dell’arte – an ancient Italian improvisational masked theatre form.  During the fall of 2010, I was lucky enough to go to the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Tuscany, in order to pursue this interest and begin to understand how important my roots really are to me.  Tuscany is a far cry from the South-Central Italian roots of my family, and I hope to be able to go back some day and round out my understanding of the people and culture which populate my family tree.


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