E 379S • The Trial in Twentieth-Century Drama
This course will explore the "trial play" in works by several English, European and American dramatists, focusing both on the dramaturgy of the form and its compelling engagement with ideological issues central to Western culture in the twentieth century. We will consider the theatre of the courtroom itself and the links between the trial play as a genre and other theatre traditions. The key texts will demonstrate the versatility of the form and its ability to access a range of religious and political debates. Throughout, we will be concerned with the relationship between the individual and the state, with challenges to established authority and questions of culpability and judgment in both the legal and dramatic contexts.
The course will be graded according to three written assignments/essays - two of 3-5 pages in length (40%), one of 10-12 pages (50%) and class participation (10%).
George Bernard Shaw, Saint Joan (1923); Terence Rattigan, The Winslow Boy (1946); Jean Anouilh, The Lark (1952); Arthur Miller, The Crucible (1953); Lawrence and Lee, Inherit the Wind (1955); Heiner Kipphardt, In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer (1964); Michael Hastings, Lee Harvey Oswald (1966); Peter Weiss, The Investigation (1965); Arnold Wesker, The Merchant (1976); Christopher Hampton, Tales from Hollywood (1984); David Hare, Murmuring Judges (1991); Ronald Harwood, Taking Sides (1995)