Problem Solving in Paradise

I spent the last week of November in Shangrila in northern Yunnan province.  Only a decade ago, Shangrila, then called Zhongdian, was a small Tibetan town situated in an alpine valley.  Then, in 2001, the government decided to develop the city and boost tourism by renaming the city “Shangrila,” thereby invoking the mystical utopia depicted … Continue reading

Get Down on Your Hands and Knees

This semester, every class I teach begins with mopping the floor.  Well, not really.  It’s much more than mopping.  It’s more like a glorified floor-scrubbing /yoga/meditative/stretching ritual.  My students and I each grab a scrap of rag, wet it in our bucket, and kneel on the floor.  With our first exhalation, we extend our arms … Continue reading

Entry Point 介入点

I learned a Chinese phrase recently: 介入点.  The first verb, “jieru,” means to intervene, get involved, or enter.  “Dian” means point or spot.  I would translate the phrase as “entry-point.”  When any artist goes about creating their work, they need an “entry-point.”  In one sense, this “entry-point” is practical, it may literally be the first … Continue reading

Spreading discord and discontent everywhere I go….

As I wrote about in my last blog post, over a month ago I arranged for my students to lead a “learning English through drama” workshop at the No. 3 Girl’s High School in Shanghai.  At the conclusion of a workshop, I talked with Yan laoshi, the teacher in charge of the budding drama program … Continue reading

The No.3 Experiment

Recently in my applied theater workshop we have been looking at how to learn English as a foreign language through drama exercises.  The final goal for this unit was for my students to teach one period of an English class at Shanghai’s No. 3 Girl’s School.  We spent two classes preparing for the workshop.  I … Continue reading

Site-Specific Shanghai

In the last few weeks, we have been examining “site-specific theater” in my applied theater workshop at STA (site-specific theater is essentially any performance that is designed according to its performance location, which is usually not a theater or conventional performance space).  I wanted to study site-specific work with my students to a) challenge their … Continue reading

Reflections from class on October 14th

Today was certainly a hard day in class.  It was our first session really delving into Boal’s techniques and trying to create our own improvised material.  From the beginning of the course, I can sense that I’ve been delaying this step in the process.  For the last few weeks, I’ve designed the curriculum around exercises … Continue reading