Nic Barilar

  • PhD Student

PhD Candidate Nic Barilar is a teacher, director, actor, and scholar. He is an Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellow for 2020-21. Nic’s research focuses on mid-twentieth century Irish theatre and drama, censorship, and transnational performance histories. His dissertation analyzes transnational performances of banned Irish plays in order to rethink censorship as a mobile phenomenon that impacts identities, histories, and political discourses beyond Ireland’s borders.  He additionally writes and presents work on representations, histories, and dramaturgies of violence across multiple periods, geographies, and performance forms. Indebted to archival research, Nic’s work has been supported by the European Studies Center’s Klinzing Dissertation Grant and Pre-Dissertation Grant, as well as two Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Summer Fellowships. Nic is also working towards a Graduate Certificate in Western European Studies. His other interests include decolonization and imperialism, queer theory, musical theatre, and video games as performance.

Nic counts himself as a scholar/practitioner and considers practice vital to his theoretical and historical scholarship. Most recently, he produced and directed the North American premiere of Máiréad Ní Ghráda’s 1964 Irish classic, On Trial for the University of Pittsburgh Stages. A prescient drama about the history and invisibility of single mothers in Ireland, Nic produced On Trial thanks to generous grants from the Provost’s Year of Pitt Global and the European Studies Center’s Year of Global Europe. At Pitt, he also directed Samuel Beckett’s plays Footfalls and Catastrophe and served as the assistant director for Hair. Nic is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and appeared most recently as “Father” in Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center’s Ragtime. Nic was a Resident Artist with the Pittsburgh Festival Opera for their 2017 season, where he worked as assistant director for the original Rodgers and Hammerstein revue If I Loved You… and sang in their productions of The Marriage of Figaro and Xerxes. Additionally, he has worked as a scenic painter for over two dozen productions. Nic also provided dramaturgical support to several productions, including Pitt’s Hair, 42nd Street at the Barn Theatre in Michigan, and the University of Alabama’s Merrily We Roll Along.

At the University of Pittsburgh, Nic teaches courses in theatre history, drama literature, contemporary global performance and imperialism, performance studies, acting, and musical theatre performance. Nic previously taught courses in American and British literature and rhetoric/composition at the University of Alabama. He has also led workshops on stage dialects, performing non-musical theatre songs for cabarets and auditions, and using Shakespeare’s First Folio as an acting tool. Nic is also extremely proud to have founded the drama club at his high school which now presents a play every year in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

Representative Publications

Book Chapters:

“Beckett’s Queer Time of Défaillance: Ritual and Resistance in Happy Days,” in Beckett Beyond ‘the Normal’, edited by Seán Kennedy. Forthcoming from Edinburgh University Press, 2020.

Conference Presentations:

“Irish and Hoosier Memories in the World Premiere of Seán O’Casey’s The Drums of Father Ned.” Transnational Performance: Bridging Disjunctive Publics Working Group. American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR). Arlington, VA. 7-10 Nov. 2019.

“Bringing James Joyce Back to Dublin: From Performance to Censorship.” Panel Coordinator, Moderator, and Presenter: Reconsidering Translation. Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE). Orlando, FL. 7-11 Aug. 2019.

“A Mime in the Desert: Samuel Beckett’s Act Without Words I, the Algerian War, and the Invention of Decolonization.” Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC). Cleveland, OH. 7-10 Mar. 2019.

“Censoring Arousal, Arousing Censorship: Tennessee Williams’ The Rose Tattoo in Dublin, 1957.” Impotent Performance Working Group. American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR). San Diego, CA: 16-17 Nov. 2018.

“The Scenography of Memory: The Maxo Vanka Murals, Space, and Moving Through Cultural Memories.” Cultural Studies Association (CSA). Pittsburgh, PA: 31 May-2 June 2018.

“Never Forget, Never Forgive: Violence and Audience Complicity in the 2005 Revival of Sweeney Todd.” Co-convened: Violent Bodies, Violent Acts Working Group. ASTR. Atlanta, GA: 16-19 Nov. 2017.

“‘Just genuine pure filth!’: Sex, Censorship, and the Queer Politics of Failure in Happy Days.” Samuel Beckett Society Conference. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada: 27-29 July 2017.

“Negotiating Local and Transnational Performance in the World Premiere of Sean O’Casey’s The Drums of Father Ned.” Amateur Acts Working Group. American Society for Theatre Research. Minneapolis, MN: 3-6 Nov. 2016.

“Theatre of Terror: Re-Thinking Foucault’s ‘Spectacle of the Scaffold’ in Yussef El-Guindi’s Back of the Throat.” Comparative Drama Conference. Baltimore, MD: 31 Mar.-2 April 2016.

“Beckett and Censorship; or ‘It must mean something or they wouldn’t keep it.’” Samuel Beckett Society Panel. South-Atlantic Modern Language Association. Atlanta, GA: 7-9 Nov. 2014.

Invited Talks and Public Humanities:

“The Politics of Theatre, and the Theatre of Politics: Early U.S. American Theatre and William Dunlap’s André.” Pre-show Talk for André at Throughline Theatre Company, 18 May 2019.

Coordinator and Moderator, On Trial Post-Show Discussion Panels, 19-21 Apr. 2019.

“Samuel Beckett.” Interview with The History of Literature Podcast. Mar. 2019.

“Irish Theatre in the Diaspora: The Curious Case of the 1958 Dublin Theatre Festival and Sean O’Casey’s The Drums of Father Ned.” Lecture for the Pittsburgh Irish Festival.

Research Interests

20th Century Irish Theatre and Drama
Transnational History
Decolonization and Imperialism
Queer Theory
Musical Theatre

Education & Training

  • MA, English Literature, The University of Alabama, 2015
  • BFA, English: Acting, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, 2013
  • BA, English: Clarion University of Pennsylvania, 2013