Documentary Performance: Theater and Social Justice (FYS)|
Fall 2021 not offered
This course will introduce students to theater as a medium for exploring issues related to social justice and political activism. We will examine techniques used by documentary theater artists such as Emily Mann, Doug Wright, Moises Kaufman, Anna Deavere Smith, and Jessica Blank, who create plays based on interviews, newspaper articles, memoirs, and other documents related to controversial social issues. The course will begin with an investigation of the issue of mass incarceration and will include visits from formerly incarcerated individuals who have agreed to recount their experiences in prison. These prison stories will be the primary sources for the course's initial writing assignments, which will consist of short performance scripts and analytical papers. Subsequent weekly assignments will include performance scripts and analytical papers based on issues that will range from gay rights and racism to sexual violence and the stereotyping of Muslim women.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: |
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (THEA)
Kaufman, LARAMIE PROJECT
Wright, I AM MY OWN WIFE
Smith, FIRES IN THE MIRROR
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Weekly writing assignments will include short performance scripts based on documentary sources ranging from memoirs, letters, and autobiographies to newspaper articles, television interviews, blogs, and documentary films.
Each script will be accompanied by a short paper analyzing the theatrical techniques used in the script. The final writing project will include a total of twenty pages of script and analysis.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
Students are encouraged to bring their own ideas for social and political issues they want to explore in the course, which may include causes to which they are already committed and want to express in theatrical form.
The Theater Department organizes a variety of performances for students enrolled in its courses. Field trips to see performances off campus are integrated into course syllabi. Instructors will notify students of all dates at the beginning of the semester and costs for all course field trips are covered (specifically, transportation to and from the performance and tickets). Any potential scheduling conflicts for field trips should be discussed with faculty members. Once students indicate that they are going and tickets are purchased, it is assumed they will attend. (Students backing out of field trips they had said they would attend will be asked to cover the cost of their ticket.) Performances of visitors to Wesleyan's Center for the Arts are integrated into course syllabi and students are required to attend these performances unless otherwise negotiated with instructors. Tickets for performances are available to students at the Box Office in Usdan at the reduced price of $6.00.
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