Communication, Media + Arts in Dingle
THR 299/CIT 213 – Wild Spirits in Theatre and Ritual

This short course looks at Irish drama and spirituality through experimental and site-specific performance. Can we still believe that land and spirit can be wild with us? We will explore how stories, improvisation, and ritual can teach us, in the words of the Irish ecological mystic John Moriarty, to “walk beautifully on the earth” in Dingle and back at home. Ritual and performance—from a celebration of the Catholic Mass to a night at the pub after seeing a play—can “re-wild” our spirits in relationship to the natural world and each other. But how should we name and tell stories about our shared earth, what Pope Francis calls “our common home”? This unique course introduces the theory and practice of site-specific ritual and theatre by taking place amid the drama of waves, mountains, people, and stories of your journey to Ireland and back. We will read and discuss some major Irish plays (including Once) about naming spirits of the land, rediscover the Gospels and Jesus’ seaside storytelling through performance analysis, talk with local artists, theatre-makers, and dancers in the West of Ireland, embody some wisdom from the Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Irish context of natural beauty, and learn how to re-wild our own play with ritualizing and improvisation. Participants will work together to develop an original performance inspired by their time in Dingle, but no previous acting experience is required.