New theater class explores personal identity
Theater 199 Change U: Identity and Dialogue
Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 15:08
A new team-taught theater class teaches students to use performance to explore personal identity and community issues.
When theater professor Lori Horvik, assistant director of civil engineering, Matthew Skoy, assistant director for service learning and civic engagement and Hall Director Tim McCue sat down to discuss a way to combine theater with social justice, it resulted in the creation of a brand new class: Theater 199 Change U: Identity and Dialogue.
Theater 199 is not a traditional theater class. The course focuses on getting; instead of taking on a different identity on stage, students will learn about themselves to express emotion and create change.
According to the new course’s syllabus, Theater 199 is designed to “help students explore characteristics of identity and difference through self-reflection, artistic expression and critical analysis.”
The course’s main focus is to recognize a student’s own identity, as well to address issues related to identity that exist in the community.
“We look at social interest in the community and try to match students with areas of interest where they would feel passionate to have a voice through theater,” Skoy said.
Skoy feels that the class will benefit NDSU by letting students learn about themselves and by teaching them to identify social issues while being challenged and supported along the way.
The class will be split into groups and will focus on different social issues.
“Say one issue is homelessness, maybe. Through performance and theater, they’ll act out different scenarios to create an awareness for the NDSU community,” Skoy said. “Instead of a final exam, they’ll have a final performance in front of campus.”
Skoy is excited about the different way of teaching and learning that Theater 199 offers. He is excited to be team-teaching the course and serving his students, he said.
“As we serve these students, I’m excited to learn from them as well and give back to the community as much as we can,” Skoy said.
Though Skoy is excited for the new class, he recognizes that it will have its challenges.
“A lot of students taking this class might not be theater majors, or maybe this is their first theater class, and to tell them that their performance is going to be in front of campus or in front of a larger audience might scare them a little,” he said. “But it’s about encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone to really share with the community about different social issues.”
Skoy mentioned that campus-wide performance dates would be announced later.
“There’s more to come,” he said. “We’d like the entire campus to be there to encourage the students.”