EUS 361 • Ibsen, Shaw, and Brecht
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
Modern drama, it is often said, brought the discussion of politics and other serious issues back into the theater. This course looks closely at plays by three major playwrights whose work emphasizes the political implications and potential of the stage: the Norwegian Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906); the Irishman Bernard Shaw (1856-1950); and the German Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956). To what extent, we will ask, can these men be considered to have invented modern political theater? To what extent does their work point to performative aspects of modern politics and culture in general? What particular combinations of blindness and insight does one find in the individual texts (and the performances they suggest) by each playwright?
ASSIGNMENTS AND GRADING: three six-page papers, one of which may be rewritten to replace the grade; two in-class writing assignments (all weighted equally to determine 80% of your grade); class participation 20%.
Ibsen: The Complete Major Prose Plays. Trans. Fjelde. Plume Shaw: The Quintessence of Ibsenism; Mrs. Warren=s Profession; Arms and the Man; Candida; Man and Superman; Pygmalion; Heartbreak House; Saint Joan; The Intelligent Woman=s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism Brecht: Baal; The Threepenny Opera; The Mother; St. Joan of the Stockyards; Mother Courage and Her Children; The Good Person of Sechuan; The Life of Galileo; The Caucasian Chalk Circle; Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic (trans. John Willett)