Fostering Dialogical Interaction: The Radical Side of Self-generated Dramatic Arts Activities

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Inspired by bell hooks' term ‘radical openness’, I describe and discuss the processes I observed and participated in a community-based youth theater program in a large urban center in the United States. Through the use of self-generated dramatic arts activities, radical openness or a ‘dialogue between comrades’ developed in this setting. The setting described is a manifestation of Bakhtin's notion of dialogical interaction, i.e., of coming to know the world through interaction with others and of his aesthetic theory and how art informs life. The self-generated dramatic arts activities allowed participants to engage in ‘radical revisions’ of their perceptions of themselves as writers, readers, thinkers and actors in the world.