This course delves into a collaborative, ethnographic approach to making theater. We will read, watch and discuss the work of subculture theorists, theater-makers and other artists and thinkers, all of whom use staged conversations as the basis for characters, scenes and entire works. We will hash out ethics and responsibilities for those of us who engage communities outside our own.What does it mean to take responsibility for someone else’s words, write them down, and give them back? What is it like to put the words of a stranger in your mouth? Finally, we will make theatrical material using this approach for an end of semester showing.
Readings, fieldwork, independent writing and collaborative work on student projects.
The course welcomes playwrights and other literary artists, as well as students in Sociology, American Studies and Anthropology. I have used this kind of engagement with monks, politicians, young people who live on the street, school kids, tech employees, and tourist board chairpeople. I think we find our voices through other voices, and do our best research by cultivating curiosity, patience, graciousness and perspective.