[A full list of readings and class activities will be made available in the lesson plan.]
Class structure: On Mondays we will read, watch videos and discuss in seminars. On Tuesdays we will do practical exercises.
PART 1 – Naturalism (Week 1 - 4)
Most of the films and a large part of commercial theatre today is influenced by naturalism. Although today it feels common and normal, naturalism was once controversial and it was at the forefront of theatrical innovation. In the first part of the module, we will look at the writers and acting theorists that came to define naturalism and understand the historical conditions in which these ideas merged. We are interested in looking at naturalism with fresh eyes, seeing it as a set of conventions with a specific history.
PART 2 – Wayang Kulit (Week 5 – 8 )
Wayang kulit (Javanese shadow puppetry) is a very sophisticated theatre tradition. It dates back at least 1000 years but it is still very much practiced in Java today. The kinds of things you need to know to understand, enjoy and created wayang kulit performances are quite different from naturalism. In this section of the module, we will learn how to make puppets, play music and enjoy a wayang performance (they are very social events with food and conversation). Part of this will be learned directly in Java, during a 5-day fieldtrip (September 25 – 30).
PART 3 – Intercultural Exchanges (Week 9 -13)
This is where the real fun begins. After learning some basic aspects of the techniques of both naturalistic theatre and wayang kulit, as both as their historical and cultural circumstances we will attempt an experiment: is it possible to combine wayang and naturalism? We will do this in two ways: adapting a wayang story to naturalistic acting, and adapting a naturalistic play to the conventions of wayang. We are not the first people to ever attempt to combine theatre from different places, so will read very interesting (and controversial) pieces on intercultural theatre. We will conclude by reflecting on what this intercultural attempt at theatre maker can reveal about living in a complex, mulitculutral world.