If drama is the art of making the unseen visible, it is also the art of getting into the skin of another. This fundamental act of immersion and suspended judgment forms an extraordinary opportunity for teaching the power of point of view, examining contrary arguments about an issue, examining personal assumptions and boundaries, and illustrating what it takes to create and maintain justice and democracy. This paper tries to show how educating politicians as playwrights could help create the conditions for a democratic, sustainable polity to emerge.
We were in the middle of a discussion of a job description for a new position in our innovative, interdisciplinary, liberal arts college. I was pointing out the ways in which a knowledge of the arts can make apperceptions of diversity and difference more vivid, more intensely experienced. Without any introduction to the art of acting, I simply alleged that “getting into the skin of another…this fundamental act of immersion and suspended judgment forms an extraordinary opportunity for teaching the power of point of view, examining contrary arguments about an issue, [and for] examining personal assumptions and boundaries…” My faculty colleagues heard me out, but the first response came quickly: “But if you do that, I certainly hope you also deal with the limitations of getting into the skin of another."
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/daniel_larner/2/