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ESL: A Digital Theater Experiment

Humanities Council; The University Center for Human Values

March 26, 2021 · 7:30 pm · Zoom

The Humanities Council’s 2020-2021 Rapid Response Magic Project resilient-distant-creative, led by Argyro Nicolaou (Hellenic Studies), presents ESL (English as a Second Language), a new play for Zoom that tells the story of seven people from different cultural backgrounds taking an online language class together.

When a homework assignment gets personal, the class erupts into a polyphonous debate on the limits of language and storytelling in conveying individual experiences of migration. Using the naturalistic setting of the online classroom, and drawing from its cast members’ personal experiences, the play asks: How do we learn about things? How do we teach people history?

Princeton students, alumni, and staff have collaborated to create ESL as part of resilient-distant-creative. Over the course of six months, resilient-distant-creative has explored tools for digital theater-making as well as online meeting technologies in order to investigate the overlaps between socially distant experiences during the pandemic and experiences of migration.

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Cosponsored by The University Center for Human Values.

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