Theses Master's

SKiNFOLK: An American Experiment: The Role of Open Process and Collective Dramaturgy in Nonlinear Theater-making

Walker, Jillian B.

What are the possibilities and limitations when introducing unconventional form and content into theatrical work? How does moving toward form and content labeled “non-linear” or otherwise non-traditional impact audience reception and engagement?

Through several exercises and assignments in monologue-writing, score-building, and mixing media, I began creating a play that is the crux of this thesis: SKiNFOLK: An American Show. Without knowing it, I was building what I now call an open process--one in which (partly due to aspects of my own identity as the source material), audiences are invited to allow a more intimate and vulnerable theater experience. The direction of the personal was a partly conscious decision, but mostly it sprang from instinct, my own desire for healing, and the deep challenge it would present me as a writer and performer to blend and otherwise explore the limits of perceived dichotomies including but not limited to: poetry and fact, real and imagined, the theatrical and the mundane, individuality and collectivity. My theoretical and dramaturgical suspicion was that by intentionally pushing my personal boundaries as well as the boundaries of what is traditionally accepted as a play, the audience would have more freedom to participate, not through superficial means of placing their bodies or voices in the “right place” at the “right time,” but in a process of collective dramaturgy.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
M.F.A., Columbia University
Published Here
May 19, 2017