Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright of Angels in America, once said that “Theatre is the greatest device ever invented for teaching critical consciousness.” We will use this idea as springboard as we explore some controversial, humorous, and beautiful plays and performance art works that have been produced over the last 40 years (roughly 1978 – 2017). We will read and discuss plays, and watch recordings of significant contemporary performances in the commercial and non-commercial world of American theatre and performance art. We will explore the ways these aesthetic choices mediate representations of race, class, gender, and sexuality on the stage. The term “Diversity” as it relates to this course applies to racial, cultural, sexual, and class identities. We will specifically study performances and apply critical analysis to plays that focus on African-American, Asian-American, Latino/a American, Native American, and Iraqi American identities. This course is by no means a comprehensive study of each of these areas, but is rather meant as an introduction for the student to concepts of diversity as expressed in the contemporary US theatre and performance art. The class will cover performances and plays such as Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Pulitzer Prize winning, Hamilton; David Henry Hwang’s Yellowface; Lynn Nottage’s By the Way, Meet Vera Stark; Monic Mojica’s Princess Pocahontas and the Blue Spots; Luis Valdez’s Zoot Suit; Anna Devere-Smith’s Fires in the Mirror; Carmelita Tropicana’s Milk of Amnesia; Wafaa Bilal’s Domestic Tension.
Dates: July 1 - August 9, 2019 Cross listed with CRES 75 OL1
Online Course (View Campus Map)