What does it mean to perform? What are the limits of performance? Where and when does performance begin and end? How does performance inform our understanding of language, gender, race, national identity, and day-‐to-‐day life? To answer these questions, we will learn by doing, both inside and outside the classroom. We will play basic improvisation and acting games and attend live performances in Philadelphia. These experiences will inform our interdisciplinary study of performance. We will critically analyze a wide variety of performances, from theatrical and literary to linguistic and cultural. As we improve our own “performance” as speakers and writers, we will discover what it means “to perform” for a variety of disciplines.
Thinkers such as J.L. Austin, Roland Barthes, Judith Butler and Richard Schechner will help us grasp the great interdisciplinary scope of performance. In addition to reflecting on our own experiences in Philadelphia, literary works by slam poets, Jorge Luis Borges, Dany Lafferière, Nella Larsen, and Rodolfo Usigli will help us define what it means to perform in the Americas. All readings will be in English, many in translation, and many by authors from North America, South America and the Caribbean. No experience with drama, performance, or theater required, but a willingness to read playfully, think reflexively, and (re)present creatively is strongly encouraged.