Devising: Creation Stories (DRA2319.01)

Jean Randich

Devising is a form of collaborative creation in which the performers themselves author every moment of a performance from movement, to text (if any), to spatial relationships, clothing, entrances and exits, etc. The “stage” may be viewed as a natural landscape through which performers journey.

In this course, we will 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, Complicite, Frantic Assembly, and Ping Chong, working physically as an ensemble. 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.” 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. The crux of Aveni’s investigation into myths is that they stem from a people’s experience of the landscape in which they dwell. And landscape is not just the natural world, but the composite of land, sky, water, and people.

As a collective the students will choose myths to bring to life through scenarios, costume pieces, found objects, sound and music and begin to create a collaboratively devised piece. We may create a myth inspired by Bennington College’s natural landscape. This course is recommended to anyone interested in collaborative creation, dance/theater, experimental theater, devising, clowning, and making one’s own work. The course culminates 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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