theater artist, scholar, educator
Theatre can help us build our future, rather than just waiting for it - Augusto Boal
My students must practice passionate engagement in the study of theater. They must bring to the classroom active bodies, supple voices, critical minds, and a willingness to stretch all three. If they do not bring this orientation to their classroom work, I challenge them every day to develop it.
I do this primarily by modeling an ethic that values process over product. In my classroom, a final performance is rarely final. I often ask for live “revision” of their performances in class, sometimes in order to improve the performance and sometimes simply to explore alternatives. I also provide extensive feedback on their written work, and maintain a liberal policy for handing in revisions of scripts and papers.
If students can come to value process over product in this way, I believe that they will understand, in a lasting way, the pleasure and power of making theater. If they do so, too, they will enter their professional lives armed with a kind of mighty idealism that is not naïve, but born directly of experience.
Through my courses, students also begin to understand how they are drawing on many of the same resources they use as theatre artists as audience members. They develop an appreciation for the contingent nature of their evaluations—that is, the variability of what is valued by different evaluators at different times—not as a weakness but as a source of strength. To understand what one values is to understand the kind of artist and, ultimately, the kind of citizen one wants to become.