Communication and Culture | Topics in Performance and Culture (Topic: Documentary Theater: Performing Ethnography)
C414 | 15297 | Monaghan, L.

TuTh, 4:00 PM-5:15 PM, Location: TBA

Fulfills COLL A&H Requirement

Instructor: Leila Monaghan
Office: Mottier Hall 221
Phone: 855-4607

Richard Bauman discusses five definitions of "performance":

1. Performance as practice, produced and reproduced by situated
human action.
2. Performance as quality of theatricality, stems from very old and
widespread root metaphor of life as theater.
3. Performance as performative, particularly seeing how speech has
4. Performance as artful communication, particularly the poetics of
5. Performance as display event rooted in Durkheimian tradition,
focuses on ritual practice as the ground of conscience collective.

In Documentary Theater, we will examine the intellectual
underpinnings of performance and produce ethnographic theatre pieces
that reflect and test the power of these notions.  Students will
have do ethnographies of local communities, and then transcribe and
perform actual conversations from these communities.

Requirements of the class include active participation including
presentations on the reading and in class theatre exercises, short
papers on readings, ethnographic reports, a midterm monologue based
on an interview, a final group project based on the audio or
videotaping of a small speech community, and a final paper analyzing
your experiences.

The experience of taking this course has proved powerful for both
theatre neophytes and experienced performers.  People who rarely
performed in public have found new ways to express themselves while
experienced performers come away with a new understanding of the
relationship between everyday experiences and theatre presentations.