Naveen Bahar Choudhury

Undergraduate Discipline

Theatre

Undergraduate Courses 2021-2022

Theatre

Decolonizing the Narrative: Writing for a New Audience

Open, Component—Year

The stories we tell have the power to change our perceptions about the world around us and the people in it. Decolonizing narratives is the act of undoing colonialism or, in a broad sense, undoing the power structures that have historically defined mainstream narratives. In this course, we will explore how to redefine and subvert common archetypes and tropes found in mainstream theatre. Each week, we will choose a stock character or traditional narrative and write a 10-minute play that challenges or subverts it. In the spring, we will choose one of the short pieces written in the fall and draft a full-length inspired by it. We will consider whom we want our audience to be; that is, for whose gaze are we writing? What do we assume the audience knows, and what do we explain? Who will identify with our characters? Do we need to provide dramaturgical justification when we write a character whom we don’t usually see on stage? Reading assignments will include plays and other artistic material that challenges traditional narratives by using new forms and structure or in questioning conventional portrayals of people of the global majority, queer characters, the working class, Muslims, characters with disabilities, and more. Examples might include work by Jackie Sibblies Drury, Larissa FastHorse, Michael R. Jackson, Hannah Gadsby, Qui Nguyen, Rehana Lew Mirza, Maria Irene Fornes, Cori Thomas, Martyna Majok, and more.

Faculty

The Physics of Playwriting: An Introduction to Craft and Voice

Open, Component—Year

Art exists within all of us. In this course, we will examine the fundamentals of dramatic writing and how to use those principles of craft to give shape to the stories that we need to tell. Weekly writing challenges will be given to illustrate concepts such as dramatic conflict and character objectives, as well as to activate your unique artistic voice. We will practice writing from the unconscious, focusing more on process than product, and writing from a place of emotional honesty and authenticity. In some cases, acting and improv exercises will be used in conjunction with writing prompts to help us access our creative imagination. We’ll also examine how to use the vocabulary of craft to give constructive feedback to our peers and to ask strategic questions that will allow us to receive helpful feedback, as well. Reading assignments will include plays and material in a variety of other forms that serve as examples of how craft is employed to actualize the artist’s vision. In all of our work, we will at once seek to follow our imaginations and creative impulses with a sense of passion and playfulness while also approaching our writing practice with rigorous intention and discipline.

Faculty