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David J. McDonald
In Memoriam

David J. McDonald

Professor of Drama, Emeritus

UC Irvine

Professor David J. McDonald, who was born on July 1, 1939, passed away on October 29, 2017, at the age of 78. David had a long career as a Professor in the Department of Drama at UC Irvine, joining it in 1973 to teach playwriting and dramatic literature, which followed his achieving a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, an M.F.A. at the Yale School of Drama, where he focused on playwriting, and a Ph.D at Stanford University, where he focused on the study of drama in its newest academic form, bringing Jacques Derrida’s Theory of Deconstruction to the United States.  Soon he was publishing essays, giving off-campus lectures, and collaborating with famous scholars, including Murray Krieger, Robert Weimann, and Derrida himself, who were all working at one time or another in UCI’s  Drama and English Departments.

McDonald’s activities in the early 1980’s included his becoming the Editor of the International Theatre Journal, and in 1987 he was appointed the Founding Director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute. In that period he also taught and often directed plays on the campus, and was instrumental in bringing the famous director, Jerzy Grotowski, to UCI, who taught in the “barn” and “yurt” here for three full years. And in 2000, McDonald became the leader of combining two programs - the University’s Departments of both UC Irvine’s and UC San Diego’s theatre platforms, which continue to this day (2018).

Robert Cohen
Professor Emeritus, Drama