Act Natural (Gen Ed 1050)

Semester: 

N/A

Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

David Levine

"To thine own self be true,” runs the famous line in Hamlet. But which self? And why? And who’s judging? Does this injunction to be authentic even make sense today, when profiles proliferate online and surveillance is ubiquitous? Acting—the art of creating and reproducing selves—can help us navigate these questions. Just as every century’s approach to acting tells us something about their idea of personhood, so too can our own era’s quandaries around empathy, personae, identity, work, art-making and politics be explored through our approach to acting. The course will examine the construction of private and public selves across eras and disciplines, through a combination of lectures, screenings, readings, and talks. Sections and examinations will be practice-based, focused on a single basic task: students will be asked to turn into each other over the course of the term.