Since 1995 GTC Dramatic Dialogues has offered a series of innovative, interactive, theatrical programs on issues of vital importance to students. Not just a lecture, these programs allow students to talk back, engaging them directly in lively dialogues about sexual assault, diversity, or substance abuse. Students laugh, get angry, sympathize, identify, and most importantly talk, expressing their views not only to the performers, but also to each other.
The process is simple. Short theatrical scenes taken directly from campus life show behavior related to the topic of the program. Sometimes funny, sometimes dramatic, always entertaining, these scenes grab students both emotionally and intellectually, making them want to talk about what they have seen.
Following each scene there is a moderated discussion or “talk-back” between the actors and the audience, during which the actors remain in character, allowing students to question or confront them about their behavior. The process uncovers the hidden assumptions that motive the characters’ actions. A trained moderator guides the discussion, acting as a “problematizer” – challenging both the characters and the students. The result is an energetic and informative debate in which students are led to examine their own behavior and consider what they can do to create the kind of world in which they want to live.