Academic journal article The Comparatist

Sharon Grady, Drama and Diversity: A Pluralistic Perspective for Educational Drama

Academic journal article The Comparatist

Sharon Grady, Drama and Diversity: A Pluralistic Perspective for Educational Drama

Article excerpt

Sharon Grady, Drama and Diversity: A Pluralistic Perspective for Educational Drama Foreword by Johnny Saldana Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2000, xxi + 186 pp.

Sharon Grady's book, unlike major texts that capitalize on the exploding demand for books onmulticultural education, introduces the reader to the theory and practice of classroom drama and theater for youth from a pluralistic perspective; that is, how people build their identities and how one can help them acknowledge them. According to Grady, the need for a "pluralistic practice" in the drama classroom is a necessary step in theater education that will structure works in ways that will help students reflect on issues related to difference. Through dramatic situations, Grady maps out how to implement a pluralistic practice throughout a constellation of five distinct theoretical frameworks that deal with the concept of difference: ethnographic, multicultural, postcolonial, feminist, and disability theory.

Each chapter presents a theorized story that graphically assesses the various possible misunderstandings that may result from the many cultural assumptions between teachers (adults) and students. Grady shows how improvisational drama and other dramatic techniques such as pantomime become tools for engaging students and teachers in a quest for understanding of such matters as bias, discrimination and racism. Each chapter carefully interweaves an activity to be practiced in the classroom with a theoretically embedded story and targets a particular audience. Grady also makes certain to include in her "pluralistic methodology" general guidelines that pertain to how to build a session: the material needed, the procedure that the teacher should adopt, and the body of students involved.

Instead of advocating a multicultural theater that tends to present an idealized, utopian view of democracy, in which no citizen oppresses another, Grady prefers to use drama in the classroom as a way to show how bias arises. …

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