A wonderful three months of theater-going has come to a close for the 15 students from Universities of Michigan, California at Berkeley and Merced, and Notre Dame. Call it the end of Fall semester, but that would make it seem like these students were only that; undergraduates, here but for a short time, compelled by a lecturer to show up, speak up, post and be graded. But that’s not what their presence meant at our theater this fall, nor is it what we experienced collectively, in the mainstage productions and numerous optional readings attended and responded to here on our blog. These students who contributed hundreds of postings to our blog this semester, and who last Thursday night concluded the term with 5 rousing group theater presentations, proposing wonderful mini-festivals of their own devising, were a shot of youthful adrenaline and enthusiasm for all we presented this season. And they were able–with zero prodding on my part save for the initial syllabus outline–to make marvelous sense of what Theater J’s first offerings had to do with what was being offered at the best theaters around town. We saw real meanings being derived from the trio of themes outlined at the outset; themes like
I. STAGING WAR: IMPACT AND AFTERMATH
II. STRATEGIES IN ADAPTATION
III. THE ETHICS AND EXIGENCIES OF THE ARTIST
I’ve asked the students–who were also subscribers to Theater J this semester–to say goodbye, at their leisure–and no grading to factor into this–just a simple way to acknowledge that these students have been sharing thoughts in public this semester, and gotten something out of this coerced sharing—and I think we, as a readership, have gotten something back too!
Below is a taste of one of the five Group Theater Final projects worth checking out from a group whose festival theme was “The De-Socializing Network,” a theater festival, with accompanying website and newly devised original play, entitled Facebook Awareness, which sought to share some of the scarier implications of our reliance on Social Media today.
In the comments below, let’s see if any of our students have a farewell reflection that can help put their autumn of theater-going into some useful perspective.
From this lecturer’s p.o.v., they were a great group indeed!