This class will examine the nature of performance and how performance reflects and reveals the culture in which it exists. The course will examine a range of theatrical traditions, practices, texts and design and performance styles with particular emphasis given to the theatrical culture of the countries we visit and their relationship to, and influence on, Western Theatre. We will analyze the historical and political context of these particular theatrical forms and performance styles and consider the ways in which theatre reflects a society’s history, aesthetics and values.
We will study both traditional theatrical forms and the work of contemporary playwrights and reflect on cross cultural currents and the notion of cultural appropriation. Class discussion and readings will be supplemented with films, attendance at live performances and meetings with theatre practitioners in port.
Field WorkCountry: Myanmar (Burma)
Date: November 8, 2018
The Burmese marionette tradition traces its roots back long before the earliest records of performances in the 1400s. By the 1700s, this tradition became an important part of Burmese royal court life. With British colonization in the 1800s, however, the form went into decline. Burmese marionettes require a great deal of dexterity from the puppeteer as they employ 18 or 19 wires, and each puppet is controlled by only one puppeteer. Yoke thé is usually performed within an opera and accompanied by live music. As a reflection of a culture reaching to share its roots, traditional Burmese puppetry is a rare opportunity to witness a style of performance universal in its storytelling desires. Students will learn about the history, creation and performance of traditional Burmese puppetry from a master puppeteer. They will have the opportunity to learn and practice puppeteering skills and will attend a performance. Learning Objectives:
- Students will learn about the history, creation and performance of traditional Burmese puppetry from a master puppeteer
- Students will have the opportunity to learn and practice puppeteering skills
- Students will attend a performance and analyze storytelling, music, structure and theatrical form.