Martha B Johnson

Professor Emerita

CB 58

Areas of Special Interest and Training:

Directing and acting; traditional Asian theater and performance; Asian American theater; ancient Greek performance; contemporary women’s theater.

Recent Shows Directed at Augsburg:

Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl

Life is a Dream (La vida es sueño) by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, translated and adapted by Nilo Cruz (area premiere)

Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen, translated by Rolf Fjelde

Illusion by Pierre Corneille, freely adapted by Tony Kushner

Blood Wedding, by Federico Garcia Lorca, a new version by Ted Hughes

Artistic Work Outside Augsburg (selected):

Co-founder and Core Group Member, Mu Performing Arts

Playwright, Dipped in Love, produced by Mu Performing Arts at the Mixed Blood Theater, New Directions Festival, 2007; and the Minnesota Fringe Festival, 2008

Associate Director, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Rick Shiomi, Mu Performing Arts, at the Southern Theater, 2006

Co-creator and performer, Floating Mothers, at the Playwrights’ Center, 2002

Co-creator and director, The Hand that Holds the String, produced by Mu Performing Arts, Southern Theater, 1997

Director, choreographer, co-creator, Triangles, Out-There Series, produced by Walker Art Center and the Southern Theater, 1993

Vice-President, Association for Asian Performance, 1990 – 1993


“Reflections of Inner Life: Masks and Masked Acting in Ancient Greek Tragedy and Japanese Noh Drama,” Modern Drama, 35, May, 1992 (Special East-West Issue)

Co-editor, Association for Asian Performance (AAP) Newsletter, 1987 – 1993

Department Activities:

Chair, Theatre Arts Department, 2004 – 2005

Chair of Speech/Communication and Theatre Arts Department and Theatre Arts Program Director, 1997 – 2004

Degree Area and Thesis/Dissertation Title:

Theater and Drama with a Minor in Art History and Classics

Dissertation title: The Mask in Ancient Greek Tragedy: A Reexamination Based on the Principles and Practices of the Noh Theatre of Japan

Current Research Interests:

Stage direction and dramaturgy; the creation and performance of new theatre works; playwriting; cross-cultural explorations of the traditional theatres of Asia; Asian American theatre; reexaminations of ancient Greek plays and performance; women’s theatre.


  • B.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • M.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Areas of Teaching

  • Stage Direction
  • Theatre History and Criticism I and II
  • Introduction to Asian and Asian American Theater
  • Creative Drama: Acting and
  • Improvisation