Theatre and Society (2012)
“Theatre and Society” is meant to investigate the ways in which theatre and performance speak into their cultural and historical moments. We’ll look at self-avowed political drama or performance in various historical moments in American theatre; at plays or performances that caused controversy in various communities in which they were performed; and at community-based performance produced for specific reasons within its locale. We’ll also discuss, frequently and intently, the role of the artist in society. What is the artist’s responsibility to his or her nation? To his or her local community? How does the artist (or should the artist) represent his or her identity community? How does an artist participate as a citizen of a democratic nation? We’ll also explore the notion of the “artist/scholar/citizen” as a useful position from which to speak. Our readings will engage a variety of plays and performances live, as written texts, or on DVD. Visits from and workshops with guest artists will help frame our discussions and will provide a practical component to the course.