Gossip: A Scandalous Theatrical Art
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Despite being routinely deprecated or derided, gossip spans the centuries, exercised in one form or another in just about every culture of the world. A stubbornly persistent behavior that produces unsanctioned pleasures, gossiping is also, as one literary critic has dubbed it, a "devalued art." Nick Salvato, assistant professor in the Department of Theatre, Film, and Dance, will direct our study of the value of the art of gossip in the creative field it most powerfully shapes: the theater. Taking seriously the truism that the theater furnishes the best gossip, we will trek across three continents and four centuries, reading such globally influential plays as Sheridan's The School for Scandal and Ibsen's A Doll's House, which put gossip center stage. What does the theater teach us about gossip's ethical affirmations alongside its toxic dangers, about its creative as well as its destructive power? Pssst! You didn't hear it from me, but gossip may disclose some of the most salient aspects of human relations.