Theater teaches students about critical thinking, teamwork

The spring production of Cabaret, a classic American musical set in 1930s Germany, has created a unique learning laboratory—true to the Theater Department’s mission—in which students are asking big questions and learning how to work as a team. In making connections between a time in history and present-day issues, the cast members are creating theater that will give them skills they can use in life and in their future careers.

Asking big questions develops critical thinking skills

CabaretDarcey Engen, associate professor and chair of the Theater Department, said the rehearsal process raised important questions for the cast members. “1930s Germany was a time of great wealth and great poverty, and the middle class was stressed,” Engen said. “We discussed the conditions, drawing similarities to what is now happening in our country.”

Rehearsals began shortly after the proposed Minnesota Constitutional amendment to define marriage was defeated and following the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. These events helped cast members relate current issues to the circumstances in 1930s Germany and the discrimination that centered on race, class, and sexuality. Continue reading “Theater teaches students about critical thinking, teamwork”