Current Doctoral Students

Denise "Deni" Li (MFA, PhD Student, Deni holds an MFA in Writing from the California Institute of the Arts. She is exploring how theatre and performance art can be "psychedelic" - that is, consciousness-expanding in its aesthetic, sensibility, or way of thinking. Deni is curious about how "psychedelic feelings" such as wonder, love, desire, anxiety, and grief can inspire us to approach ordinary and non-ordinary experiences differently, influence discourses of knowledge and power, and construct new intersectional feminist narratives. Deni's research interests include neurodiversity, intersubjectivity, critical theory, queerness, nonbinary/genderqueer feminism, immersive theatre, intermedia, Burning Man, practice-based research in the arts, mask work, and Asian American mental health. As a cross-genre writer, Deni is also drawn to intersections between performance-making, writing, and scholarship (in hybrid texts, critical autoethnography, and experimental criticism).
Chee-Hann Wu (MA, PhD Student, Chee-Hann Wu holds an MA in Drama from University of Alberta, Canada, and a BA in Foreign Language and Literature from National Taiwan University. Her current research interests include postcolonial performance, theatre of Taiwan and postwar Japan, contemporary dance and physical theatre, and the studies of space and body in performance. She is also interested in both traditional and contemporary performance of puppet arts. She had worked as a producer, dramaturg, director, and backstage manager in theatre productions. 
Stephanie Lim (MA, PhD student, Stephanie holds her BA and MA in English from California State University, Northridge and teaches undergrad classes at CSUN and AMDA College & Conservatory. Her research focuses broadly on contemporary American musical theatre, with specific interests in Deaf Studies and Disability Studies, the representation and inclusion of minorities on stage, and adaptations. Her work appears in the anthologies Plants and Literature: Essays in Critical Plant Studies, Singing and Dancing to The Book of Mormon: Critical Essays on the Broadway Musical, and Hero or Villain? Essays on Dark Protagonists of Television, with recent work appearing in Theatre Survey, Everything Sondheim, and Studies in Musical Theatre. Stephanie serves as an incoming Grad Student Rep for ATHE’s Music Theatre/Dance Focus Group.
Shane Wood (MA, PhD Student, Shane Wood holds MAs in English and Theatre from La Sierra University and San Diego State University. Throughout his career, he has striven to balance his academic endeavors as a theatre scholar with his artistic ambitions as an award-winning director, dramaturg, designer, and actor. He believes this continued work in both spheres makes him a better artist and scholar. His scholarly work examines Medieval and Early Modern representations of Women, specifically exploring the performativity of the female 14th and 15th century mystics of Italy and England and the depictions of women in the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. He continues to enjoy his works as an educator for high school and college students of English and drama and looks forward to continue building connections in his research. 
Amy Shine (MA, PhD Student, Amy is obsessed with intersections of text and performance in which women of England's Long 17th Century brought to the stage the beginning representations of the female voices of what would become Western, popular, mass media. She approaches the work with MAs in Theatre Arts (SDSU) and in English (La Sierra University), a passion for solving mysteries, a deep love of libraries and aged texts, a willingness to (continue to) travel wherever research (and funding) require (allow), and a thorough appreciation for the support and comradery of her peers and colleagues.  Her recent accomplishments include serving on the Planning Team of the International & Campuswide Orientations (2016), presiding over the standing session, "British Literature and Culture: To 1700" and presenting a paper in the "Drama and Society" session at the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA, 2016) conference. Amy is excited to continue her dramaturgical career with work on Avenue Q, her first show at UCI and to teach the Development of Drama series for the Claire Trevor School of Drama. 
Ricardo Rocha (MA, PhD Student, Colombian-American theatre educator, practitioner, and scholar, 2016-2017 UCI Faculty Mentor Program Fellow, he holds a BA from UC Berkeley and an MA from The University of Wisconsin. Scholarly and practice interests include bilingual adaptations, Spanish-speaking theatre, performance labor, and Latino/a representations in nineteenth and early twentieth century America.  Directing credits include Philip Kan Gotanda’s I Dream of Chang and Eng (UCI’s mainstage 2017 season, “Them”), ¡Diversi…Qué?  (Dramatic Transformations project, 2015), Hello Out There, A Streetcar Named Desire, bilingual adaptations of Twelfth Night and The Double Infidelity, and his first original work, Props 38s. Spanish-speaking lead roles include Hugo Rascón Banda’s La Malinche directed by Ruben Amavisca and Yerma (Bilingual Foundation of the Arts). Favorite English-speaking lead roles include The Eight at Theatre X, It Happened in Havana at BFA, and The Impostor directed by Luis Avalos. 
Michael Moshe Dahan (MFA, Michael is a scholar, filmmaker and artist who earned his MFA in Studio Art with a Critical Theory Emphasis from UC Irvine in 2012. His current work interrogates the intersection of psychoanalysis, political economy, post-colonial theory and aesthetic production emerging from Israel/Palestine. Specifically, his research deploys performative economic theories, psychoanalysis, and epigenetic approaches to historical trauma to examining disproportionate prisoner exchanges between Israel and Palestine. By assessing the performative capacity of exchange, his work proposes that these prisoner-swaps emerge as a form of differential judgment—a political valuation and overall depreciation of human life—that unleash a leakage of the unconscious, a drive towards what Bataille names an ‘expenditure without reserve,’ and one that turns the subject of the Israeli-Palestinian state out on itself, ejecting it outside the frame of its own ethical inside.  His experimental film, Two Points of Failure, was screened at the Rotterdam, Edinburgh, Jihlava, Bucharest, and Melbourne International Film Festivals, as well as the Tribeca Film Festival and the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles.  Before receiving his MFA, he spent nearly a decade working as a film executive.  
Wind Woods (MFA, PhD Student, Wind Dell Woods is a playwright, scholar, and educator. He holds a MFA in Playwriting from Arizona State University. As a theatre artist his work explores the topics of race, gender, identity, community, and memory. He is influenced by Hip Hop music/culture, as well as ancient and modern mythology. Woods's research interests are in the fields of Hip Hop Theatre, Hip Hop aesthetics, narratology, blackness and performance, as well as the themes of death and rebirth, identity, gender, and slang.
Sam Kolodezh (PhD Student, His research interests lie at the intersection of Shakespeare Studies, Performance Philosophy, identity, techne, and touch. In his research, he seeks to articulate the relationship between formulations of identity and advances in technology in Early Modern England through examining the representations, performances, and technical developments of the Early Modern stage as they relate to theorizations of the human. He approaches his research through three affective frames: wonder, laughter, and laziness in order to explore and argue for non-anthropocentric relationships with technology and techne.    
Anna Renée Winget (MFA, PhD student, Anna Renée Winget holds an MFA in Playwriting from Boston University. She has taught at Boston University, Suffolk University, and currently teaches at UC Irvine and Loyola Marymount University. Her research interests are engaged with queer theory, diasporic studies, yogic philosophy, and their intersections. Grounded in texts of ancient India such as The Natyasastra (India’s treatise on drama) and Yoga Sutras (Patanjali’s 8-fold path of yoga), she is currently examining theories of utopia and how they manifest in performance practice on sociocultural levels as well as levels of consciousness for audience members and performers.  
Leticia C. Garcia (MA, PhD Student, Leticia received her MA in Shakespeare Studies from the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, UK. Her research critically examines the implications of cultural, artistic exchange between Mexico and Shakespeare. Leticia’s dissertation strongly entails an engagement with the question of what Shakespeare does in Mexican culture and a Mexican theatrical history and tradition and whether or not it has a limit. The figure of Shakespeare is more than just an aggregate, but an aggregation folding into an affective and real presence—and the ways in which these exchanges have overreached themselves as cultural differences to form a sociopolitical consciousness and norm which presents Shakespeare as the unifying universal icon. The project looks at how Shakespearean systems derive from “foundational” genres such as the cultural politics of nation-making in Mexico. And as such, using Shakespeare as a diagnostic of power and struggle.
Sonia Desai (PhD Student, Sonia Desai’s research interests include the interactions between gender studies and Early Modern drama. Her research project looks at the phenomenology of gender on the Early Modern stage through the plays of dramatists such as William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson. Looking at theatre as a vehicle for cultural change and creation, she is conducting research in the way that gender was constructed and performed during the Early Modern period, particularly through a phenomenological lens. She is interested in the way that gender was, and continues to be, experienced in the worlds of the play and the theatre.