Introduction to Theatre (Section 1) [CRN 27411]

Discipline: Theatre
Instructor: Harris
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1530
End: 1650
Field Work: Day 1 | February 28, 2019 | India
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

Theatre as an art and one of the humanities, its impact upon society, and its relationship to other art forms.

Arguably, theatre is the most collaborative of the arts, requiring not only the collaboration of at least two people (even for a one-person show), but also the uniting of multiple forms of artistic expression. Additionally, theatre commonly incorporates other humanities, for examples philosophy, literature, religion, art, music, history, and language. This course uses the world stage to examine these complex, interconnected, esoteric components of theatre, as well as more concrete elements like performers, audiences, designers, writers, and venues. Theorizing that all societies share the ritual origins of theatre, this course examines the theatre traditions of the countries visited in order to discover common roots across cultures. At the same time, the course celebrates each culture’s uniqueness. Students examine the impact of theatre on each society, and each society’s impact on its theatre. The course facilitates the understanding of theatre as a potentially universal art form, but one with multiple fundamental differences across four continents. The course employs reading and discussing dramatic literature, and attending and analyzing a variety of theatrical performances in each port.

Field Work

Country: India
Day: 1
Date: February 28, 2019

Combining, drama, dance, music, costumes, make-up, and devotion into a divine experience, Kathakali Dance retells epic stories from India’s past. According to legend, the form originated centuries ago in the very state we will be visiting. In the morning, the class will participate in a workshop focusing primarily on Kathakali dance techniques, and the meanings of a variety of hand, facial, and foot gestures and positions. In the afternoon, the class will visit Greenix Village Cultural Museum to see a small, but informative exhibit of Indian dance costumes, as well as illustrations explaining the hand and facial gestures that are the foundation of the tradition. After lunch, the class will return to the Centre for a make-up demonstration and performance. Learning Objectives:  

  1. Students will experience first-hand (and “first-face,” and “first-foot”) the in depth discipline required to perform Kathakali Dance, thereby gaining a deeper understanding of, and appreciation for the genre.
  2. Students will learn the meaning of gestures that form the basis of Kathakali Dance, both by performing them themselves, and by studying exhibits close-up.
  3. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the experience by a reflective paper, project, presentation, or performance. Typed artists statements must accompany projects, presentations, or performance reflective responses.