This module explores performing spaces and practices in the city. Through four lectures, it presents some key issues: theatre buildings in relation to public spaces; performance as a way of navigating the city; the formation of urban crowds and their mobilization theatrically; the difference class make to ordinary performances in everyday urban life; the staging of protests in urban space.
After each lecture, there will be a discussion session. At the end of the module, students will either write a paper or make a design for an urban theatre.
1. Stages and Streets
a. the three basic forms of urban theatre
b. how the theatre withdrew from the street
c. porosity between stage and street as a remedy for withdrawal.
2. Staging the Self
a. the city becomes a site for impersonality
b. performing identity becomes a way to navigate impersonality
c. the conflict between acting and ritual
3. Spectators to Life
a. unemployed dock-workers perform for their foremen
b. Dirty Dick's Fos'cle Bar
c. Performance without catharsis
4. The Staging of Justice
a. Bayard Rustin and the March on Washington
b. the dramaturgy of violent crowds
c. Hamlet's play within a play
This course will meet on four occassions, September 7, 14, 21, and 28.