Washington Center

The Theater of Politics

Day and Time: 
Thursdays, 7:00-9:30 p.m.
Semester Dates: 
January 9 - April 17, 2014
University of Michigan
Semester Elective

Over the years, this course has canvassed the Washington theater scene and discovered a wealth of politically and socially attuned material on DC stages. Washington has, rather surprisingly, emerged as the second most vibrant theatrical city in the nation, surpassing Chicago and Los Angeles in number of performances offered, audience in attendance, and union actors appearing in Equity-contracted productions. The city now boasts some of the finest classical flagship and culturally specific theaters in the country. This advent of a robust theater scene planted in the seat of power has created a unique cultural profile; that of an artistic force able to speak truth to power. Yet oftentimes, theatrical institutions are constricted by the divided nature of the audience they play for, or the critical community that critiques them, or differing notions about the purpose of theater. What kind of portraits are emerging from area theaters in this politicized capital? What are the practical politics within these institutions that seek to engage and entertain their patrons? In addition to introducing students of the wonders of consistent theater-going with dynamic post-performance discussions with the artists who make the art, our focus will concern politically oriented works.

Taught by Ari Roth

Course Syllabus

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