Contemporary Western Theatre: Drama, Physical Theatre, Readers Theatre, and Digital Performance
Following World War II, the ongoing decolonization of countries in Asia and Africa, formerly under European control, new waves of immigration to the West, broader access to education, and the emergence of new technologies (especially the Internet) brought new audiences and new ideas to western theatre. The establishment of international theatre festivals allowed artistic exchange on an unprecedented scale.
This course explores the major types of dramatic and non-dramatic performance since the 1960s and the aesthetic and political questions that informed them. We will analyze how established forms of theatre (realism, epic theatre, avant-garde performance, etc.) were transformed to address a novel understanding of race, gender, class, and sexuality. We will also analyze various types of non-dramatic theatre which emerged in response to increased intercultural exchange and the availability of new technologies.
Examples include the American Wooster Groupand its innovative revisions of the American theatrical cannon; the British Group Forced Entertainment which uses objects found in thrift stores and dumpsters as a starting point for their productions; the Chicago-based clown company 500Clown; the Birmingham Theatre’s production of Behzthi (Dishonor) which provoked riots among the Sikh community in 2005, and others.