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MIKE MORAN
WRITING * PERFORMING * RANTING * TEACHING

  
The Ideal Drama Class

Drama has been with us since the earliest times. It has been used in all its various forms--whether that be pantomime, storytelling, spectacle, or typical theatrical, artistic expression--to create solidarity within a society. This can be seen in the earliest tribes of humanity and their use of pantomime to establish and share the thrill of the hunt, or the danger of the storm, or the awe of childbirth. This can also be witnessed in the violent spectacle of a fifteenth century Punch and Judy puppet show and how it provided an emotional release for the children of that time period. It can be explored from the oral tradition of campfire stories and the way they brought the campers together, bonded them in fear.

Drama is a way to explore the values of a society. Each community’s values--whether it be the local Presbyterian church, or the movie industry, or even the classroom--can be defined by the their use of Drama: the church has an established ritual of storytelling, musical performance, and key phrases to which the audience responds vocally, and it is all to extol the glory of the Divine; the movie industry has its spectacle of the Oscars, and the intimate storytelling performances referred to as “pitching” that occurs when someone is trying to sell a movie that pushes the value of conspicuous consumption, wealth, and greed.

In addition there is the actual Art of the Theater itself and how that is used by societies, both historical and contemporary.

The study of the dramatic arts is also key to the students development of self-confidence in public speaking and performance situations and how to work to create in a cooperative environment.

The study of drama then, through textual and physical examinations, should give the student the opportunity to create an experience that breeds social understanding and self-confidence. It should be angry and noisy at times, and quiet and introspective at other times. It should be an act of creation, but even moreso, it should be an act of communication.

To know a society, learn it's theater. Then shout what you know to the rooftops.