Wednesday, March 14, 2007

  • Theatre sees new version of classic
  • Book club: 'such a personal thing'
  • Hot news on a balmy morning
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

Pi Day and events at UW

When and where

Credit union seminar: Paul O'Reilly, "Mortgages," 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302, sponsored by Education Credit Union.

Free noon concert: "Choral Masterworks from the Golden Age and the European Renaissance", 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

Career workshop: "Successfully Negotiating Job offers" 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

Philosophy conference sponsored by UW Philosophy Graduate Students Association, Thursday-Friday, keynote speaker Imogen Dickie, University of Toronto, details online.

Travel slideshow series: Andrew Smith, environmental studies, Isles de la Madeleine and Prince Edward Island, Thursday 12:10, Environmental Studies I room 221.

Faculty of Arts presents Alice Kuzniar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, "Whose Melancholy? On the Muteness of Humans and Animals", Thursday 3 p.m., Tatham Centre room 2218.

Faculty of Science 50th Anniversary Special Lecture: Philip J. Currie, University of Alberta, "Cretaceous Park: The Dinosaurs of Alberta", Thursday 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies by author Sandra Birdsell, "The Confession of a Reluctant Mennonite", Thursday-Friday 7:30 p.m., great Hall, Conrad Grebel University College.

Jewish studies program presents James Kugel, Harvard and Bar Ilan Universities, "The God of Old: The Divine-Human Encounter in the Hebrew Bible", Thursday 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University.

Wilfrid Laurier University March break open house for potential students, Friday 9:30 to 3 p.m.

Luncheon buffet marking St. Patrick's Day with Irish stew, cabbage and potato bake and other emerald dishes, Friday 11:30 to 2:00, University Club, $16 per person, reservations ext. 3-3801.

Women in Mathematics Committee and department of applied mathematics present Hongmei Zhu, York University, "Time-Frequency Representations: Useful Views of a Signal", Friday 3 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304, talk aimed at graduate and upper-year undergrad students.

Business and technology conference organized by Science and Business Students Association, Saturday, Davis Centre, details and registration online.

Class enrolment appointments on Quest for undergraduate courses: for spring term March 19-31; for fall term June 11-23.

Senate finance committee begins work on UW's 2007-08 budget, meeting Monday, March 19, 9;30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Safety office open house: meet Joint Health and Safety Committee members, see displays, try out safety gear, Monday, March 19, 11:30 to 1:00, Commissary building.

Gardening expert Marjorie Harris speakers on her new book, How to Make a Garden, Tuesday, March 20, 12 noon, Laurel Room, South Campus Hall, tickets $11.95 from UW bookstore.

'Preparing Your Finances' seminar for newer faculty members, March 20, 12:30 to 4:30, sponsored by WatPort: financial planner speaking on tax returns, key financial statements, investments, risk tolerance, retirement planning; registration online.

'Be a Ring Road Runner' spring workshop and release of Running Mates' Guide to Physical and Mental Health, March 21, 12 noon, Rod Coutts Hall room 112, registration ext. 3-5418.

Orchestra@UWaterloo end-of-term concert March 22, 8:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets free from Humanities box office. Program: Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D (Wallace Wu, violin), Mendelssohn, Hebrides Overture, Brahms, Symphony No. 2 in D.

Accountancy building ground-breaking ceremony March 27, 11:00 a.m., northeast corner of Hagey Hall.

Positions available

On this week’s list from the human resources department:

• Groundsperson, plant operations
• Purchasing/financial assistant, biology, USG 4
• Coordinator, research experiences group, psychology, USG 7
• Director, network services, information systems and technology, USG 16

Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

Theatre sees new version of classic

A by-invitation audience of arts alumni and UW donors will get the first look tonight at the drama department's big production for this term, an entirely new version of "The Caucasian Chalk Circle" by Bertolt Brecht, considered one of the classics of modern drama. Public performances of the show start tomorrow.

[Woman points at woman, man watches]"The Caucasian Chalk Circle", first produced in 1948, is "one of Brecht’s finest works and acknowledged as being one of the great plays of the 20th century," a drama department news release says. "The play is a unique blend of high theatricality, folk storytelling, music and even dialectical inquiry. This production will be the first full production of a new Canadian translation of the play by the award-winning Ross Manson, and has original music by John Millard. The play is directed by guest director Alex Fallis."

Pictured is a scene from a rehearsal of the UW production, featuring student actors Sarah Widmeyer, Peter Mabrucco, and Whitney Allen.

The play tells the story of a young woman, Grusha, who finds a helpless child and gradually becomes the child’s ‘mother’. "Brecht asks us to examine our ideas of motherhood, usefulness, and morality through this brilliantly constructed series of episodes, guided by a group of singers who narrate and comment on the story. We meet many memorable characters during Grusha’s journey — among them her questioning fiancé Simon, the imperious Natella Abashwili, and the extremely idiosyncratic judge, Azdak."

The production, which runs this week and next in the Theatre of the Arts, offers "a wonderful opportunity to be a part of an extremely important event", the release promises. UW is hosting "the introduction of a new Canadian version of one of great works of world theatre. Ross Manson’s translation is straightforward, muscular and Canadian, while maintaining the sly wit and love of ambiguity that is an important part of Brecht’s greatness. John Millard’s music is a witty mix of musical languages, with folk, country, jazz, German cabaret and even the Oktoberfest bands of his Kitchener childhood coming together to make a totally individual and wonderful whole."

After tonight's 7:00 show for more than 300 invited guests, public performances are set for 8:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday this week and next. Tickets are $12 (students and seniors $10) from the Humanities box office, 519-888-4908.

The production will provide an opportunity for a "Brecht-Fest" on March 23, hosted by UW's Waterloo Centre for German Studies. The evening will feature a lecture by Sid Hoefert, retired faculty member in Germanic and Slavic studies: "Brecht während der Kriegs- und Nachkriegszeit". He'll speak at 4:00 at St. Paul's College, "ein deutsches Büffet" will follow, and then participants will cross the campus to the theatre for the 8 p.m. performance. Ticket information is at ext. 3-2260.

Back to top

Book club: 'such a personal thing'

by Susan Parsons, UW retail services

The BookStore and UW Recreation Committee have launched a book club that invites readers to meet monthly and discuss the latest BookClub pick. Guided by a member volunteer, readers are encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions, exploring each novel through the perspective of other BookClub members over the course of the lunch hour.

All members of the UW community are welcome to attend the meetings. Not only do attendees enjoy time away from a computer, desk, or homework assignment while they eat lunch, but their minds are also enriched with stimulating discussion about a multi-genre of novels. The books are selected by members themselves, providing each with the opportunity to broaden their literary experiences and discover new authors and writing styles.

After the completion of her arts degree, Ann Reed missed the stimulation of class discussion and decided to join the UW BookClub to "engage once more in lively discussion. There's always an interesting exchange of viewpoints. How a reader interprets, and is affected by, literature is such a personal thing. As a result, lively discussion usually ensues and this, for me, is what the group is all about."

[Sri Lanka]The next meeting will take place on Thursday, April 5, in the BookStore, South Campus Hall, at 12:00 noon. The novel for discussion will be Michael Ondaatje's Running in the Family, an "inspired travel narrative and family memoir by an exceptional writer," as described by the publisher. Ondaatje illustrates his return to his native island of Sri Lanka in this engrossing biography. "As he records his journey through the drug-like heat and intoxicating fragrances of that 'pendant off the ear of India,' Ondaatje simultaneously retraces the baroque mythology of his Dutch-Ceylonese family."

Bring your lunch, your thoughts, and an open mind!

Back to top

Hot news on a balmy morning

“Spring is just around the corner,” says the March issue of the UW residences’ online newsletter, “and if you’re planning to be on campus this spring term, we have good news! Rooms are still available,” mostly at UW Place and Village I. Applications are online. The news is not so bright for upper-year students who suddenly realize they’ll need a place to live in the fall term: “All available residence spaces for fall 2007 have been offered.” The newsletter adds that the web site does offer “more information and some suggested next steps. . . . Please check our website in late June for updates on any available fall vacancies.” And more: “If you’re going on co-op next term and wondering where you’re going to live, be sure to check out for listings not only within Kitchener-Waterloo, but in other major cities across Ontario as well. There are also residence spaces available in Columbia Lake Village for co-op students working locally. Apply online.”

Speaking of residences, the population there is more diverse than you might think, especially in Columbia Lake Village North, which consists of townhouses rented by the month to families and individuals, including many international students and some former students. The CLV administration recently sent out a survey to gauge the interest in “residence life programming” aimed at adults over age 55, such as “activities, events, trips”, perhaps including swimming or fitness, computer classes, arts and crafts, or card games. “It is really hard to give a specific number of people,” says Amy Endert of CLV, but “we definitely have over 25 people aged 25-plus . . . there could be more. These people are considered dependants and are the responsibility of the primary resident, just as a child would be.”

A new student-organized group “that seeks to promote the well-being of students coping with mental health issues” has already received an award for its work: the Ron Ellis Mental Health Award for New Innovative Group, given last week at a dinner organized by local agencies. “Our goal is to heighten awareness of mental health,” writes Meghan Eller, a psychology student who is the coordinator of Moods Assistance Through Educational Support, or MATES. It works closely with counselling services and other agencies, she indicates; “MATES volunteers are UW students with good listening and interpersonal skills . . . dedicated, enthusiastic and committed. . . . Volunteers will receive extensive training on communication, mental health issues, peer helping and community mental health resources.” The group is recruiting new volunteers; applications are available at Health Services. The group also has an office at St. Jerome’s University (room 3013, open Wednesday afternoons and Fridays most of the day) and can be reached by e-mail (

International students, who typically rely on UHIP — the University Health Insurance Plan — to provide the coverage they don’t get from the provincial government’s OHIP, faced a 33 per cent increase in their premiums last fall, following “a thorough study of historic and emerging claim trends”. That’s one of the topics addressed in a brief online newsletter which students would do well to read, according to Darlene Ryan of the UW international student office. The newsletter also summarizes other changes to the plan, including the way premiums rates were “realigned . . . because claims being made by primary plan members were proportionately smaller compared to claims made by their spouses and children. As a result, couple and family rates are now more reflective of the claims incurred.” UHIP may still not be covering its costs, the newsletter notes, but it’s moving in that direction. International students at UW who haven’t yet picked up their UHIP cards for the winter term can get them at the student accounts office in Needles Hall, Ryan notes.

Organizers are looking for several more volunteers to help with the First Robotics event planned for late next week, an event that provides some of the most exciting and touching spectacles of the year at Waterloo. Crowds fill the Physical Activities Complex — literally — to watch teams of high school students send their lovingly created robots into competition. "There is no need to be in robotics to enjoy the competition," says Maud Gorbet, who's coordinating volunteers for the event, promising "rewards" not just in enjoyment but also by way of T-shirts and meals. She's looking for people to work in crowd control, as practice field attendants, and in "pit administration support". Information is available online, or from Not surprisingly, spectators are also enthusiastically invited to First Robotics, which runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 22-24.

The UW Apprentice competition, which seems to have been pretty low-key this year, is scheduled to wind up today. • Teams in the world championships of the ACM Programming Competition, including UW's three-person squad, are a few hours away from the biggest five hours of their lives at the Hilton Tokyo Bay Hotel. • The turnkey desk in the Student Life Centre is making appointments now for the blood donor clinic that's scheduled for the SLC all next week (March 19-23).


Back to top

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin