In the 20th century, as world-travel has become more accessible, theatre has experienced an explosion of cross-influences. Artists have shared stories, techniques, and especially aesthetics. This phenomenon of artistic development and sharing is not new – but recently it carries baggage of colonialism, tourism, and differences in economic and political power between “first” and “third” world nations. “Tradition” or “traditional performance” carries a certain value within local and global contexts.
Dr. Jennifer Goodlander’s class, THTR T583: Theatre East/West, examines both Western and Nonwestern performance, and how these performances, and categories of performance, have shaped the practice and teaching of theatre in the 21st century. The categories of Asian performance, intercultural theatre, and tradition each embody a considerable scope of work—it is not the intention of this class to give a comprehensive or complete overview of any of these topics. Rather this class seeks to introduce the student to a variety of performance genres, practices, and debates so that each student will have the tools to do further research and practice. Goals include attempts to:
- Develop an understanding and appreciation of traditional theatre genres in Asia. Our study will focus on aesthetics and story but we will also explore the role that performance plays in Asian cultures.
- Workshop some of the physical and vocal styles used in traditional Asian theatre.
- Examine a variety of theatre artists that are forging companies/productions/systems of training with international aesthetics.
- Understand some of the theoretical models for discussing intercultural theatre practices.
- Investigate the notion of “tradition” and how it relates to performance in contemporary global societies.
- Participate in the debate concerning ethics surrounding intercultural performance.
- Apply our understanding of methods, aesthetics, and theory in papers and creative projects exploring possibilities that emerge when you combine performance traditions from the East and West.