Orvis, Nicholas Stephen (Nicholas Stephen Orvis) (Author), (Yuri Kordonsky) (Thesis advisor)
This thesis examines Shakespeare's "The Tempest" as a proto-Brechtian didactic narrative on the process for dying well. In doing so, it situates the play within a 200-year tradition of theatre reaching back to the medieval morality plays., 2013, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/1043, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
Lambert, Aileen Jennifer (Aileen Jennifer Lambert) (Author), (Katherine Brewer Ball) (Thesis advisor)
Musical theatre is often considered synonymous with male homosexuality. Between the 'disproportionate numbers' of gay men that work in the theatre as playwrights, directors, choreographers, and actors, as so put by D.A. Miller, and the musicals that explicitly chronicle gay male experience such as Rent, La Cage Aux Folles, or Hedwig and the Angry Inch, musical theatre is deftly intertwined with gay culture. If it is not read as gay, musical theatre is, at face value at least, overwhelmingly heterosexual, with most musicals focusing on romance and relying on gender for drama or humor (Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, Oklahoma!, etc). However, lesbians are essentially invisible on the musical stage, excepting a small handful of side parts and character roles, and, most recently, the musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel's memoir Fun Home. In this thesis, I will explore how Fun Home serves as a loud, messy, and unrefined rupture in the conventional structure and content of a Broadway musical, an action I term the “lesbian interruption.” Through analysis of its in-the-round staging, composition style, and formal structure, alongside theories from scholars such as Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Jack Halberstam, David Halperin, Jill Dolan, and Elizabeth Freeman, I will argue that Fun Home is a queer refusal of what makes an acceptable Broadway musical., 2016, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/1531, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
This thesis examines the role of theater specifically in illuminating the nature of clinical depression. Given that depression is a deeply personal and internally focused illness, what new understanding can depictions of depression in contemporary playwriting offer that is unique to the form? Through an examination of three seminal works, ?night, Mother, The Effect and 4.48 Psychosis, I will argue that plays about depression invoke the audience simultaneously as the depressed character's sympathetic support system and as the force that isolates them in their own inescapable world, while the dramatic structure of the play forces the playwright to tell a story with a sense of closure that might otherwise feel foreign to the lived experience of depression., 2014, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/1276, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
Paterson, Katherine Elizabeth (Katherine Elizabeth Paterson) (Author), (Katherine Brewer Ball) (Thesis advisor)
This essay bridges the fields of theatre and urban farming by exploring how each cultivates a deep ecology in the relationships between people and the environment. I elaborate on the concept of (at)tendance when I consider how it unfolds as a methodology of practice and provides a framework for the critical analysis of events in performance and farming. Ultimately, as it interweaves and stretches experiences of time, place, and community, (at)tendance unveils a deeper understanding of being-in-the-world. The essay considers four case studies?the urban farm Harlem Grown, a food forest called Swale, Happenings, and creative placemaking?and the writings and work of Jos? Mu?oz, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jill Sigman, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Dolores LaChappelle, Allan Kaprow, among others., 2018, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/2067, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
Japanese kabuki theater of the Genroku Era facilitated the transformation of audiences into engaged, active participants in the co-creation of performance. Spectators shaped performances directly through their bodies and voices and indirectly through their participation in organized groups providing theaters with financial support. Actors and spectators frequently engaged in intimate or sexual relationships and always maintained close physical proximity during performances.
Theatrical performance depends on the co-presence of spectators and performers. Performances are created by the physical presence of actors and audience in one time and place. Within the space of performance, these two groups are in continuous and instantaneous exchange. Theorist Erika Fischer-Lichte refers to this self-perpetuating cycle of exchange as the autopoietic feedback loop. The continuation of the feedback loop for the duration of a performance is inevitable, but the degree to which each group participates actively in this loop depends on the structure and nature of the performance.
From the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century, audience reception often was neglected by theorists and actively minimized by theater practitioners. When the job of the director became more integral to structuring performances in the twentieth century, some theater practitioners initiated a movement to bring the public’s focus back to the audience’s role in performance. In Europe and the Americas in the 1960s, many directors constructed performance experiments that sought to highlight the elusive but undoubtedly important role of the audience. Fischer-Lichte describes three interrelated processes that many of these experiments utilized in order to influence the dynamics of the autopoietic feedback loop: role reversal between actors and spectators, the creation of a temporary community within the time and place of the performance, and physical contact.
Kabuki theater of the Genroku Era provides a prime example of a theatrical form that relied on these processes in assigning a pivotal role to audiences. This essay explores the means by which kabuki performances shaped the autopoietic feedback loop and facilitated active and engaged spectatorship. Through investigation of kabuki performances of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries from the perspective of contemporary Western theater theorists, this essay considers possibilities for future experiments in influencing the dynamics of the autopoietic feedback loop in performance., 2015, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/1499, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
This thesis suggests that a major element of Jewish humor is its subversiveness. Jewish theology and culture encourages a questioning of authority. Male Jewish comedians in twentieth-century America have demonstrated subversive tendencies through socially and. politically critical jokes. Female Jewish comedians in twentieth-century America have demonstrated the same level of subversive tendencies, but not in social or political contexts until the 1970's. Instead, female Jewish comedians showed their subversive tendencies in ways that reveal a great deal about the role and perception of women in a given decade. Early in the twentieth century, when women only had a well-developed identity in the sexual and domestic realm, they exercised subversive humor by making jokes about these matters. As their political and social identities develop, so too do their socially and politically subversive jokes., 2008, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/143, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
This is a two-part playwriting thesis about how listening is central to creating and interacting with performance. First, is a play that I wrote called Bill & Stephanie, which centers on two couples and their single friend, who, over the course of the night, tells them about when he ran away from his life for two weeks, and what he discovered while away. The second part is an essay titled ?The Dramaturgy of Listening: Understanding Theatrical Aurality Through Annie Baker?s Plays,? which investigates how listening functions in performance. The essay focuses on the work of Annie Baker, a contemporary playwright whose plays are known for their long pauses and silences, and dialogue that uncannily reflects everyday speech., 2018, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/1971, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
Blind Faith is an auto-ethnography regarding my family and our struggles as a low-income black family. I delve into a traumatic event that changed the course of our lives forever. Blind Faith incorporates elements from black Christian cultural practices that I analyze in the resulting paper “The Complexity in Being Faithful.” I contemplate how we remained faithful despite everything that occurred. I employ research surrounding black Christian culture to further that question to how the community continues to be a steadfast believer in Christ., 2019, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/2115, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
Wolfe, Sarah Douglas (Sarah Douglas Wolfe) (Author), (Claudia Tatinge Nascimento) (Thesis advisor)
An examination of Euripides' Trojan Women as a war play that has proved relevant to contemporary wars., 2012, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/823, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)
Gertrude Stein became a literary celebrity following the unexpected success of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas in 1933. Her work after this time reflects a preoccupation with the effects of celebrity on the self that she exemplifies in texts such as Ida, A Novel. As an actor tasked with bringing Stein’s Ida to the stage, my goal in performance was to embody the writer’s specific style and illuminate how her continuous present and view of the self permeate the novel. In this essay, I provide an understanding of Stein’s theoretical concerns and writing process, an analysis of Ida in light of this framework, and a contextualization of Stein’s writing within contemporary performance theory—namely, Erika Fischer-Lichte’s aesthetics of the performative. By combining an analysis of Stein’s work with Fischer-Lichte’s research and my own experience performing Ida, I examine how an actor can transform Stein’s writing techniques into performance strategies. My investigation is by no means a complete study of the actor’s work in the context of Stein’s writing, but it offers a set of tools that can be expanded upon in the future to create performances that emphasize personal memory, play, presence, and above all, process., 2015, Old URL: https://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/etd_hon_theses/1461, In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted (InC-NC)