E 379M • Modern Drama in Performance
1:00 PM-2:00 PM
This course takes the basic idea behind Shakespeare at Winedale--that one of the most fruitful ways of studying drama is through active performance--and applies it to major works of the 19th and 20th century theatre. In this course we will explore texts by Ibsen, Chekhov, Brecht, Pirandello, Beckett, Pinter, and Churchill, among others, examining the ways their intellectual and dramatic subject matter is inextricably linked to the manner of their performance. We will pay special attention to the important bodies of theatrical theory that developed alongside these plays, investigating the ideas of Stanislavski, Artaud, Brecht, Grotowski and other theorists. Above all we will explore the plays in action, through our own creative work, both in the classroom and in other performance venues on and off campus.
The course is designed for students with an interest in drama and a willingness to perform in front of others. Previous experience with acting is not necessary.
Grades will be based on attendance and participation, written work, and above all the student's ability to learn and teach through performance (not acting ability per se). Attendance and active participation are required, and are the most important parts of the course. Throughout the semester there will be a series of short written assignments (2-3 pages) that will respond to the reading of the texts and to the performance work in class. Performance--both reading from a text and with lines memorized--will be a daily activity. The course will test every aspect of the student's study of modern drama, demanding close critical reading, discussion and written analysis, and rigorous, creative exploration of the plays in performance.