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UW-Eau Claire Students to Present
Readers' Theater at Borders Dec. 13
MAILED: Nov. 29, 2001
EAU CLAIRE — Dr. Katherine Rhoades, foundations of education professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, believes that too much of the interesting and creative work that university students do ends up in file folders or in boxes in their parents' basements.
In an effort to share more of this work with the community, students in her Honors Colloquium class, "Power, Privilege, and Inequality: Gender, Race, and Class in the United States," will present a readers' theater presentation at Borders Books and Music at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13.
Readers' theater, a popular technique for presenting literary works in dramatic form that has been described as "presenting with voices," emphasizes the text over dramatic action, so typically sets and costumes are not used or are minimal and participants read rather than memorize their parts.
The students will be presenting excerpts from five memoirs they've read and studied, including "The Dream of Water: A Memoir" by Kyoko Mori; "Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A." by Luis L. Rodriquez; "Truth Serum: Memoirs" by Bernard Cooper; "Colored People: a Memoir" by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; and "Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled" by Nancy Mairs.
"I chose to use memoirs for this project because I see them as a vehicle for illuminating larger social structures through the lens of self," said Rhoades. "I also wanted to choose books that were somewhat similarly situated historically and culturally, and all these memoirs were published in the United States in the mid 1990s."
Dr. Rhoades hopes that the project will allow the students to share with the larger community, in a creative way, the insights and discoveries that have emerged from their reading, research and classroom discussion. The creative component challenges the students to work together to decide which of the memoirists' words to present, and to construct a framework of their own words that will help communicate and dramatize some of the social, cultural and political themes that emerge from the memoirs - the larger stories told by the smaller, more personal ones.
Junior Jennifer Bresser, a psychology major from Cambria, said that she thinks the class is outstanding because of Dr. Rhoades' innovative and creative approach.
"The Readers' Theater project is a great way for us to do something with the ideas that we have been dealing with in class and share them with the community," Bresser said.
Senior Ben Licht, a political science major from Cameron, said he had never heard of Readers' Theater before and was a bit nervous about the project at first, but as he got into the memoir he became excited about the prospect of bringing it to life.
"It is such a unique project, incorporating research with creativity. Writing the script allowed us to work creatively as a group, something that I feel we don't get to do often enough. All in all, this course and project will be one of the most memorable experiences I have had at UW-Eau Claire."
For more information about the upcoming performance, which will last approximately one hour, contact Rhoades at (715) 836-3672.
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Nov. 29, 2001