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Sign for the PSU theater production of "y/ours"

A play devised, performed, and designed by PSU students.

Led by Damaris Webb and Solomon Weisbard.

 

Dates: November 15 - 18, 2023

Cost: Pay What You Can Sliding Scale; Students are free with ID.

Location: Lincoln Hall Boiler Room Theater (LH 55)
1620 SW Park Ave.
Portland, OR 97201

Performance Dates and Times

Wednesday, November 15, 7:30 pm
Thursday, November 16, 7:30 pm*
Friday, November 17, 7:30 pm*
Saturday, November 18, 2:00 pm
Saturday, November 18, 7:30 pm

*Join us for post-show discussions after these shows.

About This Production

“Curiosity is at the heart of this compelling project. It explores what it looks like to create collaboratively and how to use the practice of art making to inspire social change.” – Damaris Webb, Co-Leader of “y/ours”

What is the role of a citizen artist? How do we imagine a way forward that includes all of us in a climate of division and polarization? How do we create together when there is no time left?  These are questions held by a new evening-length performance devised, performed, and designed by PSU students. Guided by theater maker as social justice advocate Damaris Webb and design professor Solomon Weisbard, this cohort of creators engage the most pressing issues to their communities and shared humanity.

The Creation Process

This fall production is being devised, a process “of collaboratively creating a new work without a pre-existing script wherein the collaborators are also the performers” (The Kennedy Center). In this play, it will be the PSU theater students, in a course titled “Devising Social Justice,” who explore this challenging and exciting approach to theater with guidance from guest instructor Damaris Webb and PSU professor Solomon Weisbard. 

For the first third of the term, students will learn devising techniques, tools, and vocabulary for ways to ask for and receive constructive feedback about their creative process and theatrical creations. Many questions will be explored: What is social justice? How do we show up, hold ourselves and others accountable, and bring the fire needed for action to create change, while also accessing our tenderness and vulnerability so that we can nurture the health and wholeness of ourselves and others and promote the growth of love and community so that we can sustain our activism and not burn out? Throughout these conversations and creation exercises, students will practice the creation, communication, and relational skills they were taught at the start of the course – skills that are essential to social justice work. 

In the second part of the term, students divide into groups and each group comes to agreement on a theme or posit related to social justice that they then explore through the creation of a short play. Students are given significant freedom in how they explore and come up with ideas as a group; it could range from written brainstorming journals to interviewing people in the community. The short plays will be performed publicly, back-to-back, as an evening-length performance. 

During the creation weeks, the student groups will work independently, coming together only once per week to show the rest of the class their work in progress, and to receive constructive feedback and provide feedback on their peers’ plays. When the three plays are ready, the faculty will guide students in determining if there are ways to weave the three plays together using the intermission between each play – perhaps engage the audience with a question to ponder, or leading a conversation with the audience. 

Following the five public performances of this student creation, the students and faculty will reconvene to review the creation and collaboration process and to look for insights about theater, creation, community work, and social justice that they can carry into their lives as a result of this rich experience. 

Specific information about the emerging plays will be shared on the play’s main production page, so check back there several weeks before opening night! 

For those interested in book suggestions, students in this class will be reading “Take care of yourself, the art and cultures of care and liberation,” by Sundus Abdul Hadi.

Parking Information: pdx.edu/transportation/hourly-visitor-parking

Questions: music@pdx.edu; (503) 725-3011


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Sport coach scene from Oh, the Humanity

Theater Arts at PSU

The PSU Theater Program is committed to providing pre-professional training that balances theory and practice within a liberal-arts education. Through classroom study, studio/laboratory practice, field studies or mainstage productions, students are encouraged to pursue educational excellence and collaboration