In teaching a course on death in modern theater to fifteen undergraduates, I had to engage with a real-life death “drama” (the death of a peer of my students) that impinged on my class, presenting me with an uncomfortable pedagogical conundrum. I had to re-think my objectives as an instructor and my conception of the classroom as a safe space. In this article, I rehearse this complicated and potentially fractious class scenario and scrutinize my approach to it. I investigate the potential merits of thinking, feeling, and working through crisis in a classroom situation, thereby fashioning a type of pedagogical “third space” in which ideational and circumstantial crossover is allowed. Some of the issues that arise are the ways in which we can situate pedagogy in praxis with “real life” and what challenges are provided?

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