Spring 2014

Blurred Lines: Creating performance for non-traditional spaces

Listed in: Theater and Dance, as THDA-241


Charlotte L. Brathwaite (Section 01)


Live performance is a medium unlike any other.  No play will ever be performed the same way twice; no experience can ever be repeated. When a production breaks the fourth wall, its audience is immersed fully and completely into the world of the play. Whether you call it site-specific theater, interactive theater, environmental theatre or location theatre, it offers an experience that is limitless. The spring directing studio will tackle the challenges of projects blurring the lines between stage and seat; imagine A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a parking lot, a call center in Calcutta, India as the site for a performance about globalization, a travelogue performed on a bus touring through the South Bronx.In class, we start with the history of performance looking at traditional and ritual theater from Africa, the Far East and Europe.  We then move on to examine the fourth wall breaking work of contemporary artists and companies such as The Foundry Theater (USA), La MaMa Experimental Theater (USA/International), Rimini Protokoll (Germany), En Garde Arts (USA), Gardzienice (Poland), Punch Drunk (UK), SITI Company (USA), Augusto Boal (Brazil), Romeo Castellucci (Italy), Dogtroep (the Netherlands), Theatre du Soleil (France), Peter Brook (UK), and Janet Cardiff (Canada).

Weekly readings consist of a selection of plays from Shakespeare, Calderon and the 20th century avant-garde -- Maria Irene Fornes, Mac Wellman, Adrienne Kennedy, Alfred Jarry and Richard Foreman among others. Articles on performance theory and in-depth examination of the work of directors such as Anne Bogart, Andre Serban, Peter Brook and others will supplement our understanding of the form.The class will examine the creative and logistical aspects of performing in non-traditional spaces as well as ask students to propose spaces for performance in/or around campus, and then serve as producer, director, performers and collaborators in collaborative works. In addition to physical exercises, in-class assignments, screenings and readings, it will be necessary for each participant to dedicate significant outside of class time to complete the final project, to direct and/or devise an original project in which space serves as a primary source.

Spring semester. Visiting Professor Brathwaite.


Artistic Practice


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014