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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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2011

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Constructing the youth in commercial musical theatre: an intersectional case study

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This dissertation considers how adolescent identity is constructed and represented in commercial musical theatre for youth (e.g. Broadway and Disney Theatrical Group) by examining two commercial productions with adolescents in lead roles--Spring Awakening and Disney's High School Musical. My theoretical

This dissertation considers how adolescent identity is constructed and represented in commercial musical theatre for youth (e.g. Broadway and Disney Theatrical Group) by examining two commercial productions with adolescents in lead roles--Spring Awakening and Disney's High School Musical. My theoretical framework is intersectionality which creates a foundation for my research within the field of childhood studies, gender studies, and performance studies to illuminate current US American trends in youth oriented art and research. My framework extends into a case study methodology exploring the world of childhood and youth sexuality through a close read of the popular Broadway musical adaptation, Spring Awakening. In addition, a second investigation chronicles the world of Disney's High School Musical through my own intersectional tool, the Disney Industrial Complex. I claim that adolescence, as a constructed identity, exists as a multi-faceted intersectional category composed of multiple and conflicting intersections such as gender, race, sex, ethnicity, and so on. These intersections develop over the course of the period known as "adolescence" and "youth." The goal of this dissertation is to serve as a reference for other theatre educators and their work with young people creating art.

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2012

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"We Are All Here to Support Each Other." A Narrative Inquiry of High School Drama Teacher Experience Supporting Student Well-Being

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This research scrutinizes theatre teaching practice through a teacher perspective to find mechanisms that enable health promotion and quality theatre-making skills for students. The critical investigations conducted are twofold. First, I examine the intersection of my 18 years of experience

This research scrutinizes theatre teaching practice through a teacher perspective to find mechanisms that enable health promotion and quality theatre-making skills for students. The critical investigations conducted are twofold. First, I examine the intersection of my 18 years of experience teaching high school drama for connections to theatre and health research. I employ a narrative inquiry method to analyze lived experience to create an initial health promotion framework. And second, I interrogate that framework investigating the experience of a focus group of other high school drama teachers, a high school counselor, and a psychologist. This study reveals that drama teachers perceive their drama programs as psychologically, socially, and emotionally health-promoting for involved students. Furthermore, this study identifies the complex processes, relationships, and components of the theatre-making that the teachers pinpoint as preconditions and mechanisms that enhance and enable student flourishing. The teachers describe themselves as key to health promotion by modeling the artistry of theatre and the art form's social and emotional skills. Their narratives demonstrate that flexible time, their students, and the relationships they build with them as preconditions to maximize health promotion. Specifically, they identify the creation of a safe, supportive environment as foundational to the process.

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2021