Response to Discussion Questions (1-3):
To ensure that everyone participates in our presentation each member of the group will present an aspect of our research to the class. What each group member will be presenting will be based on the individual research they have done throughout the project, as it relates to our final argument. Because of the nature of our topic and our research, each individual member's research overlaps with the research of others in the group. In order to form a coherent presentation, we will divide the topics of discussion amongst ourselves. But, instead of simply passing from person to person, we will likely be interjecting thoughts or helping each other answer questions as a group, because our research was done collectively, for the most part.
The exploration of Russian theatre in the 17th century starts out promising, with mentions of folk theatre, religious theatre and puppetry. However, the deeper we searched the less we found. This is the problem we will be presenting to the class. However, we didn't just stop at the discovery of this problem. It was our mission to discover why there was a gap in the historical record where russian theatre of the 17th century should have been. So, we started digging we found that there was a great deal of social and political upheaval in the 17th century. In our presentation, a group member will be responsible for introducing the problem we found in the documentation of Russian Theatre during the 17th century. From there, a group member will discuss the uprising of the 1648, what lead up to the event and what happened during the uprising. Then, yet another member of the group will talk about the religious conflict that arises in the 17th century. The final piece of contextual information that will be given is the western involvement in Russia during this time (this will be covered by another member of the group). This will serve as a springboard for the last portion of our presentation given by mostly by the last member of the group. All of these contextual elements are interconnected, which will hopefully be evident by this section of the presentation, and it will be in this portion of the presentation that these elements will be drawn on to support our hypothesis about why the absence of documentation of Russian Theatre exists.
The lecture format we have chosen will clearly express our main argument and is the best format to effectively communicate to the rest of the class. Using a powerpoint presentation, we will share our research. Unfortunately, we do not have interesting sections of dialogue that can be read by students, or a mass of complementary pictures or video that relate to the Russian Theatre of the 17th century (though we're still looking...). Therefore, keeping our presentation interesting will rely on the manner in which we present our information. So as to not bore the class with all of our research, we will go about presenting the information in the manner we went about discovering it: beginning with the small amounts of initial information we found, then moving into our discovery of the frustrating fact there was an evident lack of information to be found... And then into the part where our real research began: asking ourselves why there was this lack of information, and then going about gathering relevant information that might put this "hole" into context. This is when the research became most interesting--when there was a mystery for us to unfold, as opposed to just a wealth of information for us to go about gathering into a neat, presentable pile. So, we figure that if we go about presenting our research by framing it in this mystery, it will keep the students engaged, as it has kept us engaged.
Also, constantly remaining open for questions, and trying to outline contextual information in an engaging manner instead of drowning students in information will hopefully keep our presentation engaging and informative.
Prior to the middle of the 17th Century, theatre in Russia revolved primarily around the social and religious structures of Russia. But from the middle of the 17th Century until about 1680 there is a significant absence of information regarding the theatre of Russia. This absence comes not because the theatre of Russia disappeared, but because the theatre of life in Russia took center stage during this time period. From the ashes of this period of upheaval and unrest, a new Russia--socially, religiously, and culturally-- was born. Through an examination of the social, political, and religious life of Russia during this period of unrest , we discover something about the life of the theatre in Russia in the 17th Century.