This survey of modern world drama takes account of classical thinking on the nature of drama, glances at medieval, Renaissance, and neo-classical notions of drama, and then examines drama in a modern context beginning with its Romantic roots and continuing into the present. We will read plays with several post-Aristotelian orientations (aestheticism, naturalism, Marxism, surrealism, absurdism, and so on) as well as plays that are harder to classify but which share in the spirit of Modernist experimentalism. Students will acquire an understanding of the fluidity of stage conventions and of the shifting aesthetic, philosophical, and political underpinnings of drama.
Class time will be used for lecture/discussion, brief performances by students, and student presentations. Time equivalent to class time will be devoted to watching two local theatrical productions during the term. Exams will be admnistered on-line and thus will not consume class time.
Prior to each class, students are required to respond to a discussion question posted on the discussion forum. These responses will be used during the class discussion of the assigned reading material.
The graded assignments will include a short non-researched essay (4-6 pp.), a research paper (8-10 pp. for undergraduates, 10-15 for graduates), the staging of a scene before the class, weekly responses/contributions to topics posted on the on-line discussion forum, and a midterm and final. Graduates will also be required to present an oral version of their research project before the class during the last week.
Undergraduates Graduates Discussion forum: 10% Discussion forum: 10% Performed scene: 10% Performed scene: 10% Short paper: 15% Short paper: 10% Research paper: 25% Research paper: 30% Midterm: 15% Midterm: 15% Final examination: 25% Presentation: 5% =100% Final examination: 20% =100%
Note: All scheduled readings are due completed on the first day mentioned. This schedule is subject to change.
Meetings are Tuesday/Thursday, 3:30-4:45 PM in Newton 1110 unless otherwise noted. Week 1 (Aug. 15/17) -- Introductory remarks. Aristotle. Modernism. Georg Buechner, Woyzeck. Week 2 (Aug. 22/24) -- Woyzeck, continued. Ibsen, A Doll's House. Week 3 (Aug. 29/31) -- Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest. Week 4 (Sept. 5/7) -- Luigi Pirandello, Six Characters in Search of an Author. August Strindberg, Miss Julie. Week 5 (Sept. 12/14) -- Dada & Surrealism Week (materials to be provided). Week 6 (Sept. 19/21) -- Bertolt Brecht Week I. Introduction and The Measures Taken. Week 7 (Sept. 26/28) -- Bertolt Brecht Week II. Galileo. Midterm exam on-line -- Details TBA. Week 8 (Oct. 3/5) -- LIVE PERFORMANCE: Lorraine Hansberry, "Raisin In The Sun." "Lorraine Hansberry's ground-breaking play about an African American family in Chicago." Black Box Theatre, September 29-October 7. Attendance is required at the play. No class meetings this week, just on-line assignments. Week 9 (Oct. 10/12) -- Eugene Ionesco, The Lesson. Week 10 (Oct. 17/19) -- Samuel Beckett Week. Endgame and supplementary recorded material. Week 11 (Oct. 24/26) -- Tenessee Williams Week. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, play and movie both. Week 12 (Oct. 31 / Nov. 2) -- Athol Fugard, "Master Harold" ... and the Boys. Week 13 (Nov. 7/9) -- Caryl Churchill, Top Girls. Week 14 (Nov. 14/16) -- LIVE PERFORMANCE: Shakespeare/Melson, "Hamlet a la Commedia." "Guest Director Kelly Melson brings her unique vision of Shakespeare's greatest play to Georgia Southern University. Fusing Shakespeare's language and the performance style of the Commedia dell Arte with physical explorations based on Meyerhold's Bio-mechanics, this performance will enchant and delight the audience with its inventiveness." Black Box Theatre, November 10-18. Attendance is required at the play. No class meeting on Thursday. Week 15 (Tuesday Nov. 21) --No class. Have a good Thanksgiving break. Week 16 (Nov. 28/30) -- Student presentations and discussion. Review. Final Examination: Administered on-line; details TBA.