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Saturday U in Jackson Weaves Together the Nai, Obama and Shakespeare

June 2, 2010
Man smiling
Department of English Head Peter Parolin will explore questions about politics, power and theater in Shaepeare's "Henry IV."

How do leaders use theatrics to acquire and protect their power? Who plays the Nai? How is Obama doing on the world stage?

Three University of Wyoming professors tackle these questions Saturday, June 12, during Saturday U: The Free One-Day College Education in the Cook Auditorium at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson. The free program has no homework or tests -- the only requirement is a love of learning.

Since last fall, UW professors have participated in Saturday U in Jackson, presented by the university, UW Foundation, Wyoming Humanities Council, Teton County Library and Foundation, Central Wyoming College and National Museum of Wildlife Art.

Participants may attend one, two or all three lectures, plus a final roundtable wrap-up. No registration is required. The program is free and open to the public. For more details on Saturday U, contact Teton County Library Adult Humanities Coordinator, Oona Doherty, (307) 733-2164 ext. 135 or

Saturday U Spring Term at the National Museum of Wildlife Art:

9-10:15 a.m. -- Obama Review: Pondering the President, presented by Jean Garrison, associate professor of political science and director of International Studies. President Barack Obama took office at a time of unprecedented challenges to U.S. security. He inherited two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan), a financial crisis, terrorist threats and challenges with China and Russia, among others. This administration needed to hit the ground running. How is Obama doing so far?

10:30-11:45 a.m. -- Playing the Nai: A Window into Moldova, presented by Rod Garnett, professor of music and ethnomusicologist. Virtuoso performers in Moldova play the nai (Romanian style pan flute) at jazz, classical and contemporary pop music concerts and for family gatherings including rural weddings in villages without electricity. Seeing and hearing this fascinating instrument opens a window into the complex world of everyday life in the post-socialist milieu of Moldova. Lecture includes a live nai performance.

11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. -- Lunch break and gallery walk.

1-2:15 p.m. -- The Role of a King: Leadership and Theatrics in Shakespeare's "Henry IV," presented by Peter Parolin, associate professor and chair of the Department of English.
In Shakespeare's "Henry IV," the famous central scene presents the prince and his rowdy companion parodying the king. The scene shows disrespect toward royal authority and yet plays a crucial role in the prince's political development. Looking at this scene and having some fun acting it, participants explore questions about politics, power and theater.

2:30-3:15 p.m. Roundtable Wrap-Up -- The Nai, Obama, Shakespeare: Led by Paul Flesher, director of Religious Studies. Audience questions will guide this impromptu, interdisciplinary conversation.

Participants may earn half a college credit (in-state tuition is $44.50) or half a PTSB credit free from Central Wyoming College. To register for college credit or PTSB credit, call Susan Thulin, CWC outreach coordinator, (307) 733-7425.


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