I liked Prof. Mitra well enough -- the plays she chose were really interesting, but overall, by the end of the semester, I felt as if it was too much reading, and I would have preferred if we just stuck to one play per week so we could really dig our teeth into it. To that end, I stopped doing all the reading by the end of the semester. For a class that's meant to be a seminar, she does talk a tad bit more than one would expect, but her comments are always quite insightful and helpful, so I didn't mind much. Not a mind-blowing class, but interesting and provides a really great exposure to nonwestern plays. I found her to be very accommodating especially during the pandemic.
I think course reviews are always either too negative or positive so I'm adding one in the middle. This was a fine class, I liked it enough, it didn't change my life. Mitra is very nice and smart but often I felt there was too much lecture for a class that is supposed to be discussion-based. We also went overtime during many classes. That being said we covered a lot of interesting topics. If you want a class that's not a lot of work (then again it was P/F when I took it) go for it.
I did really enjoy this class! Prof. Shayoni Mitra is very fun and clearly enthusiastic about the class, she really makes the effort for it to not seem like a lecture class (even though that's what it's classified as—she encourages, but does not force much, participation). The class focuses on 6 different theatre styles, so the class is sort of divided into 6 parts. The style is learned about for about a week and a half or two weeks, a guest performer of the style does a workshop during one of the class periods, and one of the class periods is dedicated to a group project. The group project is basically you choose which theatre style you would like to focus on, then, with your group, you emulate the theatre style for about 15 minutes. It's not as bad as it sounds, either! All in all, interesting class, and I really liked Professor Mitra. She's very well suited to teach this class.
I have taken two classes with Shayoni and have loved both of them. Incredibly intelligent and eloquent, Shayoni's approach to theatre theory and theatre practices reflect a sorely needed critical perspective of theatre in a global and societal context. Her classes don't just teach me about theatre conventions or theories. They also challenge me to reflect on the implications of these conventions and theories in the larger paradigm of race, gender, class, and other power struggles in our local and global environment. Shayoni does assign a heavy reading workload, and she does expect her students to read all of it. This can be particularly challenging, since the heavy discussion aspect of her class can easily reveal who had and hadn't done the readings. It takes time and effort to learn how to balance such a workload, but it is doable. She is incredibly approachable outside of class, whether during office hours or at random encounters on and off-campus. Every time I see her, she always asks about me and what I am involved in. Also, Shayoni has quite the presence in theatre academia. She was mentored by Richard Schechner, and she has the connections to bring in professionals in the industry and scholars in the field to run workshops or hold guest lectures. If you can, take a class with her. She's a good person to know, and a great connection to have.
This professor is on a total power trip- she constantly talked down to students and either didn't respond to or was very rude in e-mails. She had a bad habit of uploading extensive readings to Courseworks the evenings before class, so that even if we wanted to read them, we had little time to. Even though I learned quite a bit, I found it was mostly from students' presentations and my own reading of the material- this class should be taken with a more understanding and less pretentious professor.