Devising: Creation Stories (DRA2319.01)

Jean Randich

Devising is a form of collaborative creation in which the performers themselves author every moment of the performance. It is made by and belongs to them.

In this course we will devise a theatrical work inspired both by creation myths and contemporary stories, and what they mean for us today. Students will adapt myths and stories they choose from current events to bring an imaginary world to life through scenarios, costume pieces, animal exercises, choral movement, everyday objects that transform, space, sound, and music.

We will read Anthony Aveni’s “Creation Stories: Landscapes and the Human Imagination,” which distills a wealth of creation myths – African, Aztec, Babylonian, Chinese, Greek, Hindu, Inca, Inuit, Maya, Navajo, Norse, Polynesian, among others.
Aveni proposes that myths stem from a people’s experience of the landscape in which they dwell and seek to pose or answer questions: Who am I? Where did I come from? How do we survive? Landscape is not just the natural world, but the composite of land, sky, water, and people, a fusion of the real and imagined world.

We will view two famous examples of devised theater inspired by the creation stories of Genesis: “The Serpent,” by the Open Theater and the South African Heritage Theater production of “The Mysteries.”

Our training and rehearsal work will be to immerse ourselves in various approaches to making physical theater and devising. We will read, watch, and study the work of such innovators as Jacques Lecoq, Complicité, Frantic Assembly, and Ping Chong, working physically as an ensemble. We will write, edit, share, and develop material physically every week, gradually curating a scenario for performance.

We will also consider metamodern creation myths such as “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” and “Barbie.” How does the magical interact with the ordinary? This course is intended for people who enjoy world-building, improvising, creating with others, and making their own work. It will culminate in a public presentation of the original devised work.

Learning Outcomes:
Becoming conversant with creation stories from around the globe.
Learning to read and analyze texts that attempt to answer these questions:
-Who am I?
-What am I doing here?
-Where did I come from?
-When did it all take place?
-Why am I here?
Learning to listen, share ideas, and work collaboratively with everyone in the course.
Learning to write, edit, revise, compose, stage, rehearse, and perform a sequence of events.
Learning to use the elements of light, movement, sound, words, and the human body in space.

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
W 10:00AM - 11:50AM & W 2:10PM - 4:00PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 16
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 2000 , All courses , Dance , Drama , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Music , Visual Arts
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