I thought I would write a post giving everyone a little background on just exactly what the Applied Theatre Theories course is all about. This course is team taught by the entire full time theatre faculty. We spent the first four days of class introducing the students to various ways of looking at theatre, in text format as well as in performance.
Since I am the theatre history and playwrighting professor, I spent my day acquainting the students with Aristotelean criticism, plot structures and genre studies. We then spent some time analysing Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as a group.
Haidee Heaton spent her day introducing the students to theatre theory and how they might compare the various theories to different lenses they might use in examining theatre. The students had all read a couple of articles on feminist theory as a beginning point for our disussions. We examined various strains of feminist theory and then began to apply them to David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly.
Kent Miller, our design professor, used his day to discuss aesthetics and design theory with the students. He drew on the the work of Robert Edmund Jones in The Dramatic Imagination and on the laws of visual thinking and perception that were identified through the gestalt movement in psychology.
Each of the students in the class will choose one of the approaches we presented to them and apply it to one or more of the plays they will see on our trip to Minnesota. Each of us as faculty will serve as mentors and help guide the students in formulating original research questions, guiding them toward appropriate theorists and thinkers to draw on in their arguments, and provide feedback on their writing as they develop their work. The final two days of class are reserved for panel presentations of the papers the students have written. We hope to provide the students with an experience similar to what they might expect at a scholarly conference or meeting of a "learned society".
Now that you have an idea what the course objectives are the FUN part can begin. We will be seeing ten shows over the next five days!
Posted at 10:50 PM by Jeff Kellogg