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Marissa Fenley

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MARISSA FENLEY is a Harper Schmidt Fellow in Theater and Performance Studies at the University of Chicago. Her current book project, Puppet Theory: the Mechanical Infrastructure of Personhood, argues that puppetry in the 20th and 21st-century Western context is uniquely concerned with the limits of what it takes to qualify as a person. Her work traces the material backstories of four puppetry traditions—ventriloquism, marionetting, protest puppetry, and Muppetry—alongside the historical assumptions around personhood that such traditions either reify or renegotiate. As a dramaturg, she is invested not only in exploring the historical and structural aspects of a text, but of the materials, choreographies, and techniques we use on stage.

Bio as of 2/2024

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