E 390M • MAJOR 20TH-CEN EUROPEAN DRAMA
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
In this course we shall study the revolutionary changes that occurred in the theater in the 20th century. The new developments were brought on by the needs of playwrights and audiences seeking meaningful spiritual and often political expressions in the theater in place of mere entertainment. This encouraged new forms of plays; the art house theater of Chekhov and Strindberg, German expressionist theater of Kaiser, Kokoschka and Stramm, ritual theater of Artaud, epic theater of Brecht, lyric drama of Lorca and the non-sequential Dada/Absurdist theater of Beckett, Ionesco, Witkewicz, Kharms, and especially Pinter, the new Nobel Prize Winner. We shall interpret the Mitteleuropa social satiric theater of Peter Weiss and Duerrenmatt and particularly of Thomas Bernhard, the Austro-German/French Theatre du Quotidien of Kroetz and Handke and the contemporary French declamatory theater of Koltes as well as the emergence of Gay theater and gender theater, etc.
The redefining and expansion of theater brought an avalanche of new productions and theater inquiry and theory not to mention a plethora of new remarkable plays. In short the twentieth century theater in Europe had a renaissance of significant plays that need to be appreciated now from our 21st Century perspective. Special attention will be given to British and Irish theater given both its direct influence upon the English speaking world and its unique shape in the twentieth century often quite distinct from continental models and orientations. We shall certainly include the contemporary British playwrights such as Peter Schaeffer, Edmond Bond, Sarah Kane and Carol Churchill . We shall read approximately one to two plays a week with close analyses tying the particular play to its larger context and with its theoretical implications in terms of theater.