Department of Theatre Winter 2017, Concordia University
PERC 322 Gender and Sexuality in Performance
This hybrid studio-seminar course introduces students to performance and theatre that questions, reveals, resists and troubles dominant social norms of gender and sexuality. Through course readings, presentations and in class workshops with guest artists, attending performances, written and creative assignments, students will critically engage with the social tensions and complexities of performance of gender and sexual identities in everyday life, and the historical and contemporary production of gender and sexuality onstage. Students will encounter a wide range of theoretical concepts and performance practices, including those drawn from feminist, queer, and post-colonial theory, and Indigenous knowledges.
In this course students will come to learn how different experiences of race, class, size, sexuality and ability, inform and perform many-gendered identities. The main goals of this course are to develop students critical and creative thinking, especially around the key concepts of the course, to learn to read and discuss challenging theoretical and performance texts closely, and conduct independent research through university, city and community resources.
Course Methods/ Philosophy
This course moves between theory and practice, working to develop and activate students’ critical thinking, research skills, and creative practice. Class time will be divided between the discussion of assigned course readings (including essays, plays, videos and performance texts), guest artist talks, participating in workshops, and attending live performances.
Department of Theatre Fall 2016, Concordia University
PERC 312 Dramaturgy II – Contemporary Dramaturgy: Critical Perspectives and Expanded Practices
Dramaturgy, according to Greek etymology, (drama = action, ergon = work) concerns the “work” of actions or the “organization” of materials. In what ways can dramaturgy – ‘the work of actions’ – be applied beyond play scripts and dramatic literature to other cultural settings and performances, disciplines and spaces? In this hybrid seminar-studio course we will examine how the role of the dramaturg has expanded to inhabit other creative, performative, material, spatial, and social practices. This course is designed for students training in the fields of playwriting and directing, the performing and design arts, including theatre, dance, and music.
The objective of this hybrid seminar-studio course is to introduce students to the central ideas and debates that have shaped the role of the dramaturge, as well as to the different and broad contemporary perspectives on dramaturgy as a discipline, as a critical concept, and as an applied/ practical process. The course includes practical explorations of expanded dramaturgical approaches to creating story, visits with Montreal based artists working in the field of interdisciplinary creation, a field trip to Playwrights Workshop Montreal, and attending live performances throughout the term. The course will conclude with an end of term student-devised dramaturgical outcome.
Writers and theorists working within and towards “expanded dramaturgical practices” (Eckersall, 2006) such as Cathy Turner and Synne Behrndt (2008) provide a genealogy of the role of the dramaturge and critical insights into the shifting nature of ‘dramaturgical’ practice as one of perspective and method, ‘as cultural assemblage, of placing emphasis and connections between settings, people, bodies, materials, texts, histories, and architectures.’ (Pearson and Shanks, 2001) In this course we will investigate how expanded and interdisciplinary approaches to dramaturgy are an embrace of the ways that stories/ storytelling and text can manifest in diverse forms, extending beyond the writer/ playwright, dramatic literature, and the text-based development of theatre and performance. We will undertake an interdisciplinary and expanded approach to dramaturgy and its application to the concept of performance creation, genre and style, post-dramatic theatre, the visual, movement, and sound arts, the built environment and public space, site-responsive performance works, the everyday, and the development of oral history and documentary performances.
Department of Art History Fall 2013, Concordia University- ARTH 354 Studies in Interdisciplinarity in Visual Arts
A Dramaturgical Inquiry into the History, Aesthetics, and Politics of Scenography and Contemporary Stage Design Practices
In an interview, Robert Wilson, celebrated as the father of Avant-garde theatre, directed his audiences to “Go as you would to a museum, as you would look at a painting […] Appreciate the colour of the apple, the line of the dress, the glow of the light. You don’t have to listen to the words, because the words don’t mean anything. You just enjoy the scenery, the architectural arrangements, the music, the feelings they all evoke. Listen to the pictures.” (O’Mahony 2001) From the point of view of the spectator in performance, this course will guide students through a dramaturgical inquiry into the history and spatial concepts of scenic design for theatre, contemporary stage design, and exhibition practices. We will examine the cultural and political context of scenography as a visual culture, the role technology and new media have played in shaping stage design as a visual art form, as well as its claims for creating embodied and immersive experiences for audiences. In this course we will also explore the idea of urban scenography and instances of place-making through scenic interventions in the city.
The aims of this course are to introduce students to interdisciplinary approaches to research and creation and specifically on the subject of scenography. Key objectives will include: engaging with the history and development of scenographic practices and identifying key shifts in the meanings associated with scenographic practices throughout the twentieth century, as well as understanding the visual and spatial design features of scenographic sites, whether they occupy the traditional spaces of theatre architecture or the broader landscape of the built environment.
Department of Theatre Fall 2010-2013, Concordia University – PROD 211 Introduction to Theatre Production: What is a Performance Space?
The theatre that’s not in a theatre, the theatre on carts, on wagons, on trestles, audiences standing, drinking, sitting round tables, audiences joining in, answering back; theatre in back rooms, upstairs rooms, barns; the one night-stands, the torn sheet pinned up across the hall, the battered screen to conceal the quick changes – that one generic term, theatre, covers all this and the sparkling chandeliers too.
– Peter Brook, “The Rough Theatre.”
Under what conditions can space become our collaborator in creative processes? It is a well-known fact that in the making of theatre, actors are cast in their roles. How might we begin to think about the role space plays in creative processes? What role does production play in creating a performance space? What role does space play in creating theatre production? We will engage with readings and the practices of theatre artists such as Ariane Mnouchkine, Peter Brook, and Bertolt Brecht, to name a few, to explore the ways in which space is cast physically, geographically, ideologically and conceptually.
This course examines what physical & architectural structures affect the process of theatre creation and production. Throughout this course you will have the opportunity to participate in site visits, group work, attend local professional theatre productions and, on other occasions, guest artists have been invited to contribute to the lecture component of the course.
This course aims to provide students with basic knowledge and vocabulary required for working in the theatre production. The objective of this course is to introduce students to a variety of types of theatre architecture, alongside genres of theatrical (and other) performances. Final outcomes for this course will culminate in group presentations.
Department of Theatre Winter 2012, Concordia University- THEA 498G 4/A Special Topics Installation Art and Performance: Critical Perspectives and Practices
Installation Art and Performance: Critical Perspectives and Practices, is an introductory course that explores the concepts of installation art practices and performance. In her introduction to Installation Art Claire Bishop argues that the genre of installation is “often described as theatrical.” As a point of interrogation, questions guiding the course work, among others, are: What are the properties of installation art that make it theatrical or perform? A selection of critical readings on the history of installation art and performance – written by academics, curators and artists – are intended to introduce students to the historical roots and contemporary movements of performance and installation art practices. Contemporary topics will be addressed to stimulate conceptual reflection on methods for building, installing and performing. Concepts such as social sculpture, public vs. private space, mobile and nomadic installations, and genres such as the tableaux vivants and performance art, among others, will be explored and observed. This studio course is designed to support and foster students in the conceptual development of an object based artwork or performance.
What do installation and performance art practices mediate about the spaces they occupy? Students will be asked to engage in discussions pertaining to, for example, the spectator/ viewer in relation to installation art projects and the arrangement of objects in a space or on a site. In preparation for a final design project, working in pairs, students will creatively explore the relations and problematics between installation, performance and a site. Students will also be asked to choose a motif / specific subject matter for their final projects. Possible subjects and themes to explore could include: transitional spaces, the notions of interior and exterior, relations between public and private space, past and future spaces, etc. Choice of subject matter must be cleared in consultation with the instructor. The course will also introduce students to a variety of conceptual and material approaches to installation art and performance practices, as well as archival research methods and the logistics (ie. scale) and documentation of installation art practices.