Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

King Creativity at Southwestern

SU-students and Campus-Wide Conflict: Bridging the Divide Through the Use of Theatre as a Community Forum

  • Photograph: Emily Taylor
    Photograph: Emily Taylor

Natalie Goodnow
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Sergio Costola

What are the differences between a debate and a dialogue? What are the differences between communicating through email as opposed to communicating in person? What repercussions do the answers to these questions have on Southwestern students? Do our “email wars” help to build a sense of community, or are they destructive? What happens when the topic of conversation shifts from global and national events to ones that have occurred on our own campus? What kind of power do our words have to harm other people? Do we wield that power responsibly?

These are the kinds of questions that su-students: email wars asks. su-students: email wars is a play that consists of imaginative dramatizations and interpretations of the heated debates that took place on the su-students email listserv during the Fall 2005 semester. It will be performed on April 4 and 5, 2006, followed by a facilitated dialogue session and community forum which will allow Southwestern students the opportunity to discuss, in person, the issues addressed in the performance.

The dramatizations of the emails have been collectively created by a company of over twenty Southwestern students. In addition to creatively addressing the need for healthy communication about difficult issues, the project also offers these students the opportunity to explore alternative models of collaboration and leadership in theatre-making.

Thus far, our discussions of these issues in our rehearsals have yielded some of the most honest, difficult, but healthy conversations that I have ever had the privilege of being a part of in all my life. I look forward to sharing these experiences with our audiences.