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Performance and Revolution
Spring 2021

This course examines the relationship between performance and revolution in a variety of contexts and geographical sites. Treated in pairs France-Haiti, Russia-Mexico, and Cuba-Venezuela, we seek to understand how these events of global significance emerged in tandem and often in dialogue with each other. We will identify and analyze major ideas and themes, characters, genres, and specific theater and  performance works that arise from these major historical revolutions, and in particular, we will study the ways that different kinds of story-making and narration generate the meanings, symbols, and legacies of revolutions in the world.

We discuss the power of song and ceremonial dance, the changing aesthetics of biomechanics and agitprop, and the ways in which novelists and playwrights derive art from the world around them to take on themes of rebellion, radical reimagining, and awakening of new truths (and the uncovering of old lies). Throughout the course, we also consider media (plays, film, music) that commemorate or revisit revolutions (often from entirely different systems of production), and works that invoke commitments to the memory of radical change, as well as appropriations and distortions of actual protagonists and historical events. Students are welcome from all disciplinary backgrounds and experience in theater or performance studies. There will be five short essay response papers throughout the semester, active participation towards note taking and facilitation, and a final collective project towards a seminar and an e-zine journal publication. 

CLASS e-zine journal

¡Viva la Revolución!

Victor A. Mercado

How Performance is Vital for a Radical Revolution

Milania Cardona

Rehearsing a Revolution: The Education of the Oppressed

Jaymee Epperson

Rituals and The Fight Against Colonialism

Grisis Yu

The Haitian Revolution: Survival and Resistance through Vodou Performance

Nick Jean

The Ambivalent Portrayal of Female Characters in Revolutionary Narratives

Ryann Hirt

Vodou as a Revolutionary Force

Brandon Bautista

Theatre of the French Revolution: Views of Rousseau, Arendt and Cabral

Xinyan Yang

Reclaiming the Truth

Joseph Gonzalez

Literacy and Liberation

Mae Cassady

Stories and Revolution: A Symbiotic Relationship

Joanna Castillo

Inspecting Javert: Moral Complexities of Revolution from a Villain's Perspective

Arcadia Eckmayer

Cuba’s Revolution: A Romance Between Liberation and Self

Madeline Schreier

Theater for the people: Boal, performance, and community

Fleurette Modica

The Haitian Revolution: A Legacy Lost to the Elusive Exotic and Other Spectacles

Wailea Siler

The Blood of the Artist Burns Bright Red

Nathan Payne

The Journey is the Revolution

Taylor Liebesman

When Politics Became Theater, and how Theater can save Politics

Mirin Scassellati

Beyond the Barricade: How Les Miserables Narrates the Humanity of the French Revolution 

Christina Nguyen

Cooperative Working and Living in the Alienated (United) States:

Re-Imagining the Theater Industry

Daryanna Lancet

The Lenin of Theater

Tai White

Treachery, Politics & Gullibility

Krystle Wangui

The Storytellers and Weavers of Life

Matthew Solito

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