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The adolescent's voice: how theatre participation impacts high schoolers and college students

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This dissertation is a qualitative study based on the experiences of five high schoolers and five college-aged students who grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, and participated in theatrical productions within their schools, churches, the Erie Playhouse Youtheatre, and other community

This dissertation is a qualitative study based on the experiences of five high schoolers and five college-aged students who grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, and participated in theatrical productions within their schools, churches, the Erie Playhouse Youtheatre, and other community theatres. The author begins with an introduction of the theatrical scene in Erie and explains the options available to these youth during the times they performed, so the reader will have a better understanding of the background of these young people. The author then explores the current literature dealing with youth participants in a youth theatre setting. In his research, he notes that there were few scholarly books or articles that directly dealt with youth who participate in youth theatre. Most of the books dealt with youth who are part of theatrical programs in school settings, and few researchers utilized the youth's voice as part of the process. The author interviewed ten participants about their theatrical experiences asking them about aspects such as: positive and negative experiences, why they performed, and what they learned from doing theatre. After transcribing the interviews, the author analyzed the participants' responses for values, attitudes, and beliefs about theatre. From this analysis, the author found six themes emerged focusing on: fun, friendship, family, personal growth, commitment to productions, and negative experiences in the theatrical process. Throughout the document, the author utilized the youths' voices and kept their words and thoughts as the basis for all findings constructed and discussed.

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Date Created
2014

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Self-silencing in the early modern theater

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This dissertation considers why several characters on the Early Modern Stage choose to remain silent when speech seems warranted. By examining the circumstances and effects of self-silencing on both the character and his/her community, I argue that silencing is an

This dissertation considers why several characters on the Early Modern Stage choose to remain silent when speech seems warranted. By examining the circumstances and effects of self-silencing on both the character and his/her community, I argue that silencing is an exercise of power that simultaneously subjectifies the silent one and compels the community (textual or theatrical) to ethical self-examination. This argument engages primarily with social philosophers Pierre Bourdieu, Alain Badiou, and Emmanual Levinas, considering their sometimes contradictory ideas about the ontology and representation of the subject and the construction of community. Set alongside the Early Modern plays of William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson and Thomas Kyd, these theories reveal a rich functionality of self-silencing in the contexts of gender relations, aberrant sociality, and ethical crisis. This multi-faceted functionality creates a singular subject, establishes a space for the simultaneous existence of the subject and his/her community, offers an opportunity for empathetic mirroring and/or insight, and thereby leads to social unification. Silence is, in its effects, creative: it engenders empathy and ethical self- and social-reflection.

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Date Created
2011

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Ima read: reading the Black church through the performative work of Black same gender loving males

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The purpose of my dissertation project is to understand how Same-Gender Loving (SGL) Black Christian men negotiate their sexuality and spirituality in spaces that are not always accepting of SGL people, by examining on how Black SGL men perform their

The purpose of my dissertation project is to understand how Same-Gender Loving (SGL) Black Christian men negotiate their sexuality and spirituality in spaces that are not always accepting of SGL people, by examining on how Black SGL men perform their sexual identities within hegemonic institutions that often deny their existence or outwardly seek to exclude them from their communities. I have identified three scripts that Black SGL men often follow within Black religious settings. The first script that SGL people often follow in the church is that of deliverance-- confessing their same-gender desires and maintaining that they have been delivered from those desires The second is "don't ask don't tell" performed by men who many believe and suspect of being SGL; so long as they do not publicly affirm these beliefs they are able to hold a variety of positions in their religious communities.. The last script involves accepting one's same-gender desires and also affirming one's Christian beliefs, proclaiming that the two are not at odds with one another. I examine how these scripts and/or others are performed by and on the bodies of Black SGL males in two distinct sites. The first is the career and music of former gospel star Anthony Charles Williams II (Tonex / B. Slade), who has utilized the three scripts at various times in his career. The next site is that of theatre, where I explore how these scripts have been employed in dramatic texts. By reading Christian Black SGL performance through its theological parameters, I aim to discern the avenues in which Black people in the United States are able to perform same-gender sexual identities in spaces that are constructed as "homophobic," and in so doing combat the narrative of hyper-homophobia in Black communities.

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Date Created
2013