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UMD's Bill Payne to Team-Teach with NYT Theater Critic Ben Brantley

Bill Payne
Ben Brantley

The online class, Theater and Global Change, will be offered through the New York Times Knowledge Network from May 12 to June 8, 2011. This course is presented in partnership with University of Minnesota Duluth. In addition to daily self-paced lessons, online discussion forums, and resources, there will be a weekly live online session with the instructor. The cost for the course is $175. The course is open to the public. To register, visit New York Times Knowledge Network.

There will be five live sessions for this course from 5-6 pm on Thursdays: May 12, 19, 26, and June 2 and one Monday, June 6. Live sessions will be archived for future viewing. The May-June session is Part I. In Fall 2011, Part II will be offered.

The instructors include Bill Payne, UMD theater professor and interim dean of the School of Fine Arts and Ben Brantley, the chief theater critic of The New York Times. Other guest speakers included in the live web sessions include theater director and activist Margarita Espada of Teatro Yerbabruja and Dr. Martin Shapiro, professor of psychology at California State University-Fresno.

Against the backdrop of the Seven Revolutions currently taking place around the world (changes in Population, Resource Management, Technology, Information Flow, Economic Integration, Conflict, and Governance), the course explores the diverse ways that theater can help people understand and interact with these significant global changes. "One can look at these Seven Revolutions through the lens of science or economics, we will look at them through the art of story," Payne said. "Theater humanizes these trends."

Ancient and modern classic plays by William Shakespeare, Sophocles, David Mamet, Tony Kuschner, August Wilson, and Carel Kapek will be used to explore the various ways theater can and does express the world we live in. Students will gain an awareness and an appreciation of the role that artistic creation plays in our changing world. "At its core, theater is an engaged art form," Payne said.

In addition to classic dramatic literature, a wide spectrum of material from the New York Times Knowledge Network, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Seven Revolutions Student Guide, and various other web sources, will be presented. The Seven Revolutions was created by CSIS.

New York Times Knowledge Network.

Written by Cheryl Reitan.

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