Diversity Fellows Teach Through Performance Art

January 31, 2018

Diversity FellowsIt’s an opportunity for the campus to continue its conversation on diversity as Marc Boucai, Ph.D, and Reya Sehgal – also known as the “Diversity Fellows” – spend a two-week residency at MCLA from Monday, Jan. 29, to Friday, Feb. 9, to show students and faculty how they might use performance as a method of communication by uniting theory, politics, and the arts.

“They have a really interesting take on the conversation on diversity that the College is engaged with, on many levels,” according to Michelle Daly, director of MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC). As artists of color with backgrounds in both performance and academics, Boucai and Sehgal share a unique, personal understanding of the topic, she added.

In addition to visiting classrooms, where the fellows will work with students in the Fine and Performing Arts Department, Boucai and Sehgal will offer a range of activities across campus.“We really want this to be an experience that’s shared across MCLA,” Daly said.

Open workshops will offer ways that the campus community might use performance as a strategy. The “Diversity Fellows” also will offer a syllabi review for faculty members who are interested in ideas about how they might include non-traditional voices in their courses.

In a workshop that is free and open to the public, the “Diversity Fellows” will demonstrate how to create a performance response to a political topic. It will take place in the MCLA Church Street Center Social Hall, from 5 to 7 p.m., on Friday, Feb. 2. On Friday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. in the same location, they will present a performance of “Training Day,” a deconstructed version of a diversity training workshop that engages the audience as they move from station to station.

Tickets to “Training Day” are available for $10 at www.mcla.ticketleap.com/training-day.

Through the “Training Day” experience, participants will explore the languages and performances of diversity and multiculturalism in American institutional spaces. During the course of the show, audience members will be broken up into small groups of six to eight, and, as teams, will complete a round-robin, circuit training session, with 10 different stations.

“You will have fun along the way, and you’ll also have the opportunity to think about the way the information is presented,” Daly said. “It’s a heavy topic with an uplifting message, and is comedic at times. You don’t have to come to ‘Training Day’ with a lot of experience, or identifying as part of a certain racial or sexual orientation.”

Boucai is a theatre and performance artist, scholar, and teacher based in Brooklyn, N.Y., who received his Ph.D from the University of California-Berkeley, and was trained at L’Ecole Internationale de Jacques le Coq in Paris, France. Sehgal is a Mellon Post-Graduate Fellow at the International Center of Photography who previously studied at the American Conservatory Theater (ACT) in San Francisco, Calif.  

“Diversity Fellows” have performed at conferences and performance festivals in the San Francisco, Calif., Bay Area, Detroit, Mich., New York City, N.Y. and in Providence, R.I.