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Performing Objects

Semester and Year SP 2008
Course Number K20.1487
Section 001
Days Mon,Wed
Time 9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement


Puppets and objects used in performance collectively fall under the term "performing object." In this course we will study the history of performing objects and consider their practices in a variety of contexts including religious ceremony, political activism, and popular theatre. We will examine several "case studies" from a variety of perspectives including folklore, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, and performance studies. These case studies will include the Javanese wayang kulit shadow plays, Japanese bunraku, Peter Schumann's Bread and Puppet Theater, the English Punch and Judy tradition, and Victorian toy theatres to name a few. In each study we will examine the aesthetics of the objects as well as the relationship of the manipulator to the objects and how these values and dynamics change depending on the culture and circumstance of performance. Finally we will consider contemporary performance and the use of puppetry in the work of major downtown New York theatre artists including Basil Twist, Lee Breuer, Theodora Skipitares, Great Small Works, Ralph Lee, Julie Taymor, and Dan Hurlin. Readings may include texts by John Bell, Eileen Blumenthal, André Breton, Edward Gordan Craig, Martin Heidegger, Wassily Kadinsky, Heinrich von Kleist, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Filippo Marinetti, Frank Proschan, Richard Schechner, Steve Tillis, and George Speaight.

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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