Middlebury College Graduate Michael P. Doyle Awarded

Watson Fellowship

Middlebury College graduate Michael P. Doyle, son

of Patricia and Brendan J. Doyle of Westfield, N.J., has been

awarded the 1998 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. Two of Doyle’s classmates

at the Vermont liberal arts college have also gained distinction-Watson

Fellowships were awarded to graduate Timothy P. Bartlett of Ridgefield,

Conn., and graduate Shruthi Mahalingaiah of Southbury, Conn.

Watson Fellows are chosen in a two-step process that

requires nomination from one of the participating 51 top liberal

arts colleges in America, followed by a national competition.

After more than 1,000 students applied to the first round of selection,

60 Watson Fellows were chosen from 193 candidates, the largest

nominee pool in six years. Each student will receive $19,000 to

travel outside the United States and explore a topic of his or

her own choosing.

A Theatre major who graduated in May, Doyle will

leave in August to spend a full year traveling in Poland, Romania,

and Lithuania studying eastern European theatre in post-communistic

societies. “The Fellowship,” said Doyle, “gives

me the opportunity to study and record the effects of post-communism

on modern theatre style that originated under communism.”

“The timing couldn’t be better,” he said,

“because acting styles are getting westernized so quickly.

Under communism, another form of acting was needed that was more

physical because language was highly censored. Actors expressed

themselves through their movements, rather than words.”

Doyle’s goal is to document this form of theatrical

performance and consider how it might be applied to American theatre.

He plans to conduct interviews and record acting techniques. His

preparation includes studying Romanian language and contacting

theatre companies about seeing productions and observing rehearsals.

Doyle’s interest in the subject developed through

his theatre studies at Middlebury in modern theatre in Eastern

Europe, and were further stimulated by a visit to Eastern Europe

in 1997.

The Watson Fellowship Program was begun in 1968 by

the children of Thomas J. Watson, Jr., the founder of IBM, and

his wife, Jeannette K. Watson, to honor their parents’ long-standing

interest in education and world affairs. The Thomas J. Watson

Foundation selects students based upon each nominee’s character,

leadership potential, willingness to delve into another culture,

and the personal significance of the proposed project. “When

we speak to prospective applicants for Watson Fellowships,”

said Noreen Tuross, the foundation’s executive director, “we

ask, ‘What would you do if you could do anything for a year?’

Watson Fellows respond with serious, creative proposals.”