waiting underground graffiti glowing dimly darkness split apart
Recently I have reconnected with two people I knew years ago. It struck me today that such moments are fragile, like delicate paper flowers.
So we have been settling into the apartment slowly. Friday, I saw Lisa’s play In the Belly of the Beast with Two Backs at the Here Arts Center. It was an interesting piece with some nice moments and I would like to talk with her more about it at some point. Bumped into Liza Lentini who happens to be a good friend of Noreen … small world! Liza and I interned at The Colonial Theatre in Westerly RI way back when in 1993. Such young’uns back then!
I’ve decided to send in an abstract for a conference in Scotland called “Theorising and Performing Knowledge.” I figure my Brecht paper would be great for that. Here’s the first draft of the abstract and if you have any questions or notice any mistakes, feel free to comment:
‚??Performance Pedagogy: The Brechtian Classroom‚??
Bertolt Brecht called for a theatre that ‚??not only releases the feelings, insights and impulses possible within the particular historical field of human relations in which the action takes place, but employs and encourages those thoughts and feelings which help transform the field itself.‚?? There are a great many similarities between Brecht‚??s theories and practice of theatre and the radical classrooms of the kind outlined by people such as Henry Giroux, Jack Mezirow, bell hooks and many others. As the classroom is always a performative space, there are a great number of lessons that we might learn from a theatre practitioner when attempting to create a series of pedagogical strategies.
Primarily a theoretical exploration, this essay examines the classroom as both Brechtian production and Brechtian rehearsal, paying attention to possible modes of performance and offering, when possible, specific directions on how one might approach a specific performance. Specifically, there are two main elements of Brecht‚??s theories and practice that seem particularly useful: the teacher as performer and the teacher as dramaturg/director. An examination of Brecht‚??s own writings, as well as commentary by other practitioners and scholars, can begin to shape a performance pedagogy that moves toward a dialect classroom. In addition, by setting the writings of Brecht alongside those of Giroux and Mezirow, it becomes apparent that seeing the classroom as both performance and rehearsal space can be highly useful.
It is important to remember that Brecht saw theatre as a laboratory and as an ongoing experiment. This essay is written in that spirit: as an experiment applying Brecht to the classroom. The goal is to provide a scaffold upon which the creative pedagogical mind can shape a performance pedagogy in the service of creating a truly dialectical classroom.
Stay tuned for a photo of Manhattan from our rooftop as well as more flavorful news and wacky hi-jinks.