E 379L • Contemporary Drama
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
This is an introductory course which offers students the opportunity to read widely in the field of modern British drama and to gain a sense of the history of the stage in the twentieth century. Beginning with the 1890s, we will read works by the major English and Irish playwrights of the period, encountering numerous genres and movements (the well-made play, naturalism, absurdism, kitchen-sink drama, workshop theatre), exploring the development of dramatic modes (comedy, tragedy, farce) and the ideologies and political issues of the twentieth century (capitalism, socialism, feminism, colonialism.)
The aim of this course is to offer an account of modern British drama which acknowledges conservative as well as radical elements, which maintains a dual focus on formal and thematic innovation and which balances an awareness of new ideas in the theatre with the realities of theatrical production.
Sample Texts: Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), Harley Granville Barker, The Voysey Inheritance (1905), George Bernard Shaw, Mrs Warren's Profession (1923), Noel Coward, Design for Living (1933), T. S. Eliot, The Family Reunion (1939), Terence Rattigan, The Deep Blue Sea (1952), Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot (1955) John Osborne, Look Back in Anger (1956), Joan Littlewood/ Theatre Workshop, Oh What a Lovely War (1963), Harold Pinter, The Homecoming (1965) Joe Orton, Loot (1965), Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1966), Alan Ayckbourn, Absurd Person Singular (1972), Caryl Churchill, Cloud Nine (1979) Brian Friel, Translations (1981) Timberlake Wertenbaker, Our Countrys Good (1988) Michael Frayn, Copenhagen (1998)