When Royalty Steps Forth: Role Drama as an Embodied Learning System

Lynn Fels


The article explores the interplay between complexity theory, performative inquiry and learning as the author shares her experience in role as a tinker in a role drama designed and facilitated by four pre‐service teachers in her drama in education course. The reader is invited to consider role drama as an embodied learning system. Using the role drama as her example, the author identifies five conditions of a complex learning system as identified by complexity in education theorists Brent Davis, Dennis Sumara, and Elaine Simmt in their 2003 article, Complexity and Collectivity: On the Emergence of a Few Ideas. The author and her conspirators in role engaged in the overthrow of the monarchy are startled when the king suddenly announces his presence. What learning emerges when the king steps forth, and the tinker, alone, is faced with saving a fledging democratic movement?

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