Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Documentary Theatre: Pedagogue and Healer With Their Voices Raised
by Morris, Kathryn M., Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University, 2014, 320; 3584895
Abstract (Summary)

The beginning of the new millennium finds documentary theatre serving as teacher and “healer” to those suffering and in need. By providing a thought provoking awareness of the “other,” it offers a unique lens with which to examine the socio-political similarities and differences between various cultures and ethnicities in order to promote intercultural understanding. Documentary is also used by teachers, therapists, and researchers as a tool for healing. By sharing personal stories of trauma and illness with others who are experiencing similar difficulties, emotional pains are alleviated and fears are assuaged.

Documentary theatre has expanded in definition from the “epic dramas” of German playwrights Erwin Piscator and Bertholt Brecht during the height of the German Weimar Republic to the recent “verbatim” scripts of playwrights such as Anna Deveare Smith, Emily Mann, and Robin Soans.

The dramaturgical duties of the playwright along with the participatory role of the audience have grown in complexity. In verbatim documentary the playwright must straddle a fine line between educating and entertaining while remaining faithful to the words of the respondents as well as to the context in which they were received. The audience, by responding to questionnaires and by engaging in talk-back sessions, plays a pivotal role in production. Documentary serves as an important vehicle for informing and inspiring audiences from all walks of life.

In 2010, researchers Dr. Patricia Liehr of the Christine E. Lynn School of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University and Dr. Ryutaro Takahashi, Vice Director of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, approached me to create a documentary based on their combined interviews of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima survivors. The resultant script, With Their Voices Raised , is included as an appendix to this dissertation as an example of the documentary genre and its unique capacity for research dissemination. With Their Voices Raised not only conveys the memories and fears of the survivors, but in its conclusion reveals how these victims of war have elected to live their lives in a quest for peace- choosing “hope over hate” in a shared world.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gamble, Richard
Commitee: Atkins, Thomas R., Kollander, Patricia, Liehr, Patricia
School: Florida Atlantic University
Department: Comparative Studies
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 75/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Performing arts education, Theater, Peace Studies
Keywords: Dramaturgy, Healing, Hiroshima survivors, Intercultural understanding, Pearl Harbor survivors, World War II
Publication Number: 3584895
ISBN: 978-1-303-97859-3
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