THE 103 Seminars in Theater |
Twentieth Century Political Theater and Performance in America
Throughout the years, Americans have turned to theater to express their political beliefs. Theater has served ass a way to educate audiences about pressing issues, express dissatisfaction with governmental policies, and to extol political ideologies. In this course, we will read the works of playwrights like Susan Glaspell, Clifford Odets, Arthur Miller, and Amiri Baraka. We will examine the performance histories of groups like the Federal Theatre Project, Bread and Puppet Theater, El Teatro Campesino, and the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Finally we will look at the performance conventions of the contemporary American political scene, from the staging of national party conventions to the performance actions at the grassroots (Hell Houses, Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping, Billionaires for Bush/Kommunist for Kerry). In sum, we will explore how performance in its many forms helps shape American political values and worldviews. This course is offered the first half of the semester.