Sean M. Ardor

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Theatre and Dance

First Advisor

Steve Pearson


This New Colossus was an original work of theater which I conceived, wrote, designed, directed, and performed four times over three consecutive evenings in mid-November 2019 at the Center for Performance Experiment in Columbia, South Carolina (A video recording of this performance is included in my thesis submission). This New Colossus tells the a story of an unnamed Grandfather and his Grandson struggling against a fictional communist government of the United States during its rise in the 1930's and its fall in the 1970's. The work was inspired by the lives of 20th century leftist revolutionaries, the poetry of Walt Whitman, and the traditional Japanese theater form of Noh. The research process for This New Colossus was partially funded by the University of South Carolina's SPARC grant, which allowed me to travel to Japan to study Noh. My exp/rience in Japan directly influenced the subsequent creative process of This New Colossus, most evidently in the choreography of the closing dance, which borrowed many Noh movements and principals. While the show was sincere in its intent, it was artistically incomplete and narratively implausible. The prospects for the future of the work are uncertain. At the very least, the work cannot be performed again as it was, and will require significant reconstruction and revising before it is ready for an audience once more.