Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period

9-1-2017

Degree Program

Theater

Degree Type

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

Year Degree Awarded

2017

Month Degree Awarded

September

Advisor Name

Priscilla Page

Co-advisor Name

Harley Erdman

Third Advisor Name

Chris Baker

Abstract

This MFA Thesis traces my work as a joker (a la Theatre of the Oppressed) and facilitator through a three-year-long project with a trans applied theatre troupe. The troupe explored several techniques, including Image Theatre, Playback Theatre, storytelling exercises, and somatic movement. In three semester-long workshops, the troupe focused work around three sets of techniques. In the first workshop, the troupe explored the community-based interview process of Undesirable Elements, as designed by Ping Chong in collaboration with Talvin Wilks and Sara Zatz. These techniques were interrogated using queer and trans temporalities. In the second unit, the troupe practiced Augusto Boal’s “Cops in the Head” techniques from The Rainbow of Desire, utilizing a sociological perspective to examine the “ghosts” these techniques produce. In the final semester, I devised techniques specifically for and about transgender people, invoking trans theory and queer theory to explore issues of naming, trauma, and trans possibilities. Through this work I argue that techniques designed for cisgender bodies require adaptation to find success in transgender communities. I argue that the future of this work is not transforming existing techniques to suit our needs, rather it is creating techniques with transgender bodies and identities at the core.