This thesis documents the play development process of When Coquis Sing, an original play for young people that introduces the death of a parent on stage. Through the analysis of research from leading child psychologists and practical instruction from the Dougy Center, the National Center for grieving children and their families, this research defines important terms and demystifies language surrounding death to aid caregivers in having clear and concise conversations with children about death. The purpose of this document is to counter the American cultural perception of death as a taboo topic for children. Hosting open conversations about death leads to healthier child development, which can help children cope with the loss that everyone will inevitably face in life. Theatre has been proven to work as a catalyst for conversations and create empathy for young audiences. Themes of death can be seen in all forms of storytelling for children , but this study implores the use of theatre to not only reflect experiences of grieving children on stage, but also create preemptive dialogue on the topic, so when tragedy strikes, children can have a tangible example to point back to. The arguments in this document thwart misconceptions of using Piaget's stages of cognitive development and Kubler-Ross's five stages of grief as measurements of how all human beings should grieve. Instead of placing grieving children in stages and age groups that exclude important variables, this study focuses on the individual stories that are shared through reflective journals on the investigator's experiences and conversations as a grief facilitator, tutor, and artist in the field of Theatre for Young Audiences. The original play, When Coquis Sing, has been designed to induce conversations on death through the telling of a young protagonist's story of loss, grief, and victory.
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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Theatre; Theatre for Young Audiences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
LoRicco, Michelle, "When Coquis Sing: Introducing Young Audiences to Death and Bereavement Through An Original Play" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5893.