USF University of South Florida College of The Arts
School of Theatre & Dance

Denis Calandra

Denis Calandra is a writer and teacher.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Denis Calandra earned a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska. For 7 years, he taught drama and theatre in Germany (University of Regensburg) and in London, England (Middlesex University). In 1978 he came to the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa. He chaired the Department of Theatre from 1992 to 2001. As chair he was instrumental in establishing the $2 million endowed British International guest artist program (BRIT).

Calandra's publications include two books, New German Dramatists, Macmillan; London and New York, 1983; and Rainer Werner Fassbinder: Plays, PAJ, New York, 1985; reissued by Johns Hopkins Press, 1992. The Fassbinder remains in print in 2006. The translations are regularly produced professionally throughout the anglophone world. In 2005 his Petra von Kant translation served as the libretto for Gerald Barry's opera of the same name: premiere in London at English National Opera. A two CD recording of the opera with the Irish National Orchestra is also in print.

Calandra has written for numerous professional and academic journals. His chapter on 'reception theory and audiences' appears in New Directions in Theatre, Macmillan, London, 1993. His article on Bertolt Brecht and the popular Bavarian comedian Karl Valentin appears as a chapter in Popular Theatre, Routledge; New York and London, 2003.

In 1991, with a grant from the Florida Humanities Council, Calandra conceived, produced and directed the Florida Chautauqua, an interactive chronicle which toured the state.

In 1993 Calandra and Jose Yglesias wrote and produced a stage version of Studs Terkel's Race (how blacks and whites think and feel about the American obsession).

Calandra's research in 1990/91 with Dr. Nicholas Hall (psychoneuroimmunology, USF) on actors' immune system responses in rehearsal and performance, led to a pilot study during a residency at the Arizona State University Institute for Studies in the Arts. The study was filmed for Healing and the Mind with Bill Moyers (PBS). An article on the project by Hall, Calandra and others appears in Advances, the Journal of Mind-Body Health, Vol 10, # 4, 1994.
In 2005 Calandra’s original play with music, Cuban Bread, premiered in Tampa as part of the city wide ARTE 2005 festival.

In 2008 Calandra and Matthew Francis’s adaptation of Carl Hiaasen’s novel LUCKY YOU premiered professionally at the Assembly Rooms at THE EDINBURGH FESTIVAL. It subsequently played the Oxford Playhouse in England. (The play had a developmental production at the Waterfront Theater in Key West in 2006.)

The chief innovation in Calandra's teaching career has been the establishment of the undergraduate research Theatre Honors Program at USF. For the past 20 years this program - noted as 'exemplary' by the National Association of Schools of Theatre -has attracted motivated students to intensive research in performance and in academic fields under the guidance of top faculty and international artists.

Francis and Calandra's LUCKY YOU in Key West, 2006-07

:: Lucky You

 :: Cuban Bread

Rainer Werner Fassbinder Book
Edited and translated by Denis Calandra

ENO (English National Opera) at the London Coliseum.
Opera by Gerald Barry, libretto by Fassbinder in Denis Calandra's translation. Fall, 2005.