Boston University Fall 2011
The Arts and Sciences Writing Program
WR100: The Theater Now
Instructors: Sarah Campbell, Scott Challener, William Marx, Anthony Wallace, and Chris Walsh. Project Assistants: Lindsay Meyer, Halee Bernard, and Jessica Hackel.
Our seminar will investigate different approaches to the performance and interpretation of three plays scheduled to be produced in the Boston area this fall. Selections we are now considering include Jonathan Larson’s Rent staged by the New Repertory Theater in Watertown, MA.; The Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s presentation of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night; the BU College of Fine Arts “On the Fringe” selection (TBA); Conor Lovett’s one-man-play adaptation of Moby Dick; and avant-garde theatre company Mabou Mines‘ provocative production of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.
We will attend performances of the plays; read and discuss the plays and related secondary readings; and meet for panel and roundtable discussions with Boston area playwrights, directors, and performers. In order to expand the conversation about various approaches to performance and interpretation, we will also view film versions of the plays ( or films inspired by the scripts) when available.
Please join us for this exciting adventure in live theater, designed and offered in cooperation with the First Year Experience! Here is a typical reaction to the seminar:
I have been involved in theatre since I was three, and it has been my passion my entire life, particularly musical theatre. I performed in lead roles in shows all throughout high school and attended both Northwestern’s and Carnegie Mellon’s Pre-College Theatre/Musical Theatre programs during the summer. At BU, Theater is my declared minor, so when I went to register for WR100, only one class caught my eye: “WR100: The Theater Now.”
I had read plays in high school, but WR100 brought my understanding of the theatre to a completely new level. As a small, intimate class, we all connected through our passion and love for the theatre. I can even say that by the end of the semester we were something of a family, going out to dinner before a show and then taking the T home afterward. What made this class so special was the outside-of-the-classroom experiences. We attended each play at the BU Theatre, and for two of the plays also watched film versions so that we could compare and critique the different productions. Seeing the words on the page come alive right before our eyes only improved our essays and helped our ideas grow. We interpreted new aspects of the play, felt new emotions, and always left the theatre with fresh insights, all of which contributed greatly to our academic essays. Yet, there was much more to this experience than simply having a greater understanding of the plays.
A fond memory of mine is after we saw the play In The Summer House by Jane Bowles. I personally had a very hard time with this play, for there are so many ideas and emotions going on at once, something which left me feeling frustrated and confused for weeks as I read and discussed the text in class. Seeing that text come to life was one of the most disturbing theatrical events I have ever experienced. Yet, as frightening as it was, I can’t say I regret it. When the play ended, we all took the T home. We were all silent, but there was this incredible connection between us. We felt afraid and confused–the play is designed to take us out of our comfort zone–and perhaps because of that, we had a whole new understanding of one another. What we had experienced, we had experienced together.
As students living in a big city, we can tend at times to feel a bit lonely and isolated. This class helped me to establish connections with other students and faculty, which is so important in college. I have such a love for this class and cannot wait to see The Theater Now expand, and to be a part of it as it grows in partnership with FYE Boston Now. Don’t miss your chance to become a part of The Theater Now, and take the best seat in the house–both inside and outside the classroom!