THEA 301
Performing Archives: From Research to Adaptation Spring 2023
Division I Difference, Power, and Equity

Class Details

This course introduces students to methods of historical research and creative adaptation in the global archives of performance and theatre. What is an archive? What is a repertoire? How does embodied knowledge get acquired, stored, and transferred over time? Who owns, or curates, the artistic remnants and shared traditions of the past? Practicing the skills of a dramaturg and performance historian, students will engage with the archives and repertoires of global theatre and performance, learning how to access, research, interpret, and gain deeper understandings of the artistic past. Then, examining how select historical sources and materials been taken up–adapted, appropriated, recycled, or re-appropriated–by contemporary artists, students will themselves work towards the creation, development, and performance of their own artistic approaches to the historical archive. While attending to theatre’s formal aspects, we will at the same time focus on the relationship of performance to politics, as well as to the enduring legacies of empire, state power, colonialism, and private capital in which they are historically embedded and by which they have been shaped. If and when possible, we will encounter archival sources housed in College Archives and WCMA. This course is required for Theatre majors and is a prerequisite for THEA 401.
The Class: Format: studio; This class is a combined studio/seminar. Students will be required to present and share their creative responses to the material studied in the course.
Limit: 14
Expected: 14
Class#: 3746
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active participation in class; a midterm creative adaptation project and accompanying "dramaturgy casebook"; participation as discussion leader for one class; a final creative adaptation or performance project and accompanying "dramaturgy casebook."
Prerequisites: Theatre 101 or 201, or by written permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: Theatre majors
Distributions: Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: This course works to dismantle the ongoing bias in theatre studies that positions textual and literary forms of theatre in the globalized north as the dominant sites of knowledge transfer, status, and value in our field. Instead, theatre and performance are approached as diverse forms of repertoire and embodied knowledge that must be analyzed in relation to the structures of social inequity and power in which they historically arise.

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