This invited special issue of ArtsPraxis features voices from that two-day forum and offers just a small snapshot of the varied perspectives and practices that gathered together at NYU. I was keenly interested in sharing the powerful and resonant comments of established leaders in the field alongside new and emerging artists and scholars whose work covers new ground either in form or content. The issue begins with an excerpted version of the forum’s opening keynote conversation with Dr. Patricia Leavy, best-selling author, book series creator and editor, and internationally recognized leader in arts-based and qualitative research, in which she discusses her origins and evolution as an artist and scholar and shares her thoughts on the aesthetics and ethics of ethnodrama and arts-based research. This is followed by the text of a keynote delivered by leading scholar in ethnodrama and ethnotheatre Emeritus Professor Johnny Saldaña, in which he situates our practice as theatre makers within the complex world at large, shares examples of plays from across the genre that illustrate this “art of fabrication,” and makes recommendations for how we move forward as artists and scholars in a post-truth era. Emerging scholar and drama therapist Darci Burch introduces the term “ethno-actor” and defines the aesthetic and ethical implications for an actor who performs the speech and gestural patterns of an actual person.
The issue then includes three ethnodramatic scripts, each of which takes a different approach to the form and content of the genre. Thomas Murray’s The Right of Way examines the circumstances surrounding the death of a cyclist in Chicago while simultaneously offering historical contextualization of transportation in the United States, highlighting the growing tensions between cyclists, automobile drivers, and pedestrians. Jamila Humphrie and Emily Schorr Lesnick explore how young members of the lgbtq+ community choose to express and explain their identities with their interview theatre play, How We GLOW, which has been performed over 30 times in venues throughout the United States and Ireland. And the special issue rounds out with My Other Job by Cali Moore and Rachel Tuggle Whorton, their humorous and insightful homage to the actor’s “survival” vocation, and how that plays out across a variety of experiences and contexts.
– Joe Salvatore, Guest Editor
This issue of ArtsPraxis is available for download.
Editorial – Joe Salvatore
A Plenary Conversation – Patricia Leavy with Joe Salvatore
Keynote Address: The Art of Fabrication – Johnny Saldaña
The Right of Way – Thomas Murray
How We GLOW – Jamila Humphrie and Emily Schorr Lesnick
My Other Job – Cali Elizabeth Moore and Rachel Tuggle Whorton