From History to Hamilton: Contemporary NonFiction Theater

TDM 183M
Kay Matschullat
2019 Spring
Tuesdays, 3-5:45pm
Location: Farkas Studio 303
Class Capacity: 20 Consent Required: Instructor 

Description: Often, theater is equated with the great works of fiction, but, in fact, a great deal of the dramatic arts concerns adaptations and representation of historical, scientific, and political events and ideas. This class is designed for students interested in exploring and creating such nonfiction theater. The course will cover the emergence of several genres of nonfiction theater in the 20th century and their evolution in the 21st century. The material to be considered ranges from Augusto Boal's legislative theater where audience members take over the action of the performance to exercise influence in local politics, to Spalding Gray's monologues which test the limits of subjectivity, to Lin Manuel Miranda's take on Hamilton's biography as a subversion of the traditional power structure in American politics, and Anna Deveare Smith's manifesto for social change.

Beyond examining the development of nonfiction theater, we will consider the role of artists in this enterprise. When does the activist become an actor? When does the actor become an activist? At the same time, we will create nonfiction theater of our own. Students will experiment with methods of adapting and performing material from everyday reality, current and historic.

Media provides a spine in much of nonfiction theater. For purposes of this class, media will include visual imagery, live and recorded sound and music, as well as computer-generated augmentation. These resources will be examined and then experimented with as a method to enhance storytelling and/or as an alternative to the standard logic of storytelling.

Notes: This course will be taught be TDM Visiting Lecturer Kay Matschullat.