Devising / Solo Performance

“What feminist teachers, trauma specialists, and contemplative practitioners share is understanding that teaching and learning start with the body—the happy body, the brown body, the young body, the worried body, the hurt body, the curious body, the growing body. In all of these traditions, the body is the starting place for intellectual, spiritual and political growth.”

Becky Thompson, Teaching with Tenderness

Devising class

In this experiential course you will create a performance piece by weaving research and creative writing into the story you want to tell. Each week we will generate original pieces of writing, and out class meetings will consist of discussing the readings, sharing our own creative writing, offering support, and building community. Students will explore their own stories, histories, and experiences, and research issues that are important to them. Collaborative creative processes will include movement, improvisation, storytelling, creative writing, and sharing. We’ll take inspiration from works by Jamaica Kincaid, bell hooks, Monique Mojica, Octavio Solis, Heather Raffo, Heidi Schreck, Joan MacLeod, and one another. We’ll use writing prompts and embodied exercises to free up imaginations and emotions. At the end of the course you will have a collection of personal writing that will serve as source material for your own solo performance. Above all, and in light of the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, the climate crisis, and the multiple and layered impacts of these on our lives and the lives of those around us, I hope this course becomes a space, a community, in which students can feel supported in exploring their personal stories of this time, and beyond. The course is meant to support students in voicing their concerns and lived experiences, but also their unique visions of the world they want to call forth, the world they want to create, the world they demand.

In the spirit of co-creativity and a supportive environment, we will become familiar with some of the methodologies of theatrical devising, including approaches through source text, creative writing, movement and group improvisation; develop critical thinking and writing skills in relation to narrative arc, theme, and theatricality of solo performance; practice giving and receiving supportive artistic feedback; practice the art of revising and reworking; develop and present an evening of a solo performance for invited guests.