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Topics in Theatre History

ENGL 078.401
crosslisted as: Theatre Arts 140
instructor(s):
TR 10:30-12

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the basic materials and methods of theatre history and historiography, as applied to a particular topic, organized around a specific period, national group, or aesthetic issue.  The topic this year is "American Theatre."  The course will focus on the transformation of European models into a theatrical system and a set of theatrical aesthetics more suitable to the social, political, geographical, and cultural conditions of an emerging nation.  Topics to be considered include:  colonialism and regionalism in the theatre of the British colonies (including Canada and the Caribbean); theatre and national identity in the new nation; theatre and urbanization; star acting (Edwin Forrest, Charlotte Cushman, Edwin Booth, et. al.) and management; theatre and the expansion of the frontier; race, melodrama, and popular culture (_Uncle Tom's Cabin_, _The Octoroon_); variety entertainment  showboats, minstrel shows, wild west shows, vaudeville, burlesque); the rise of musical theatre; Broadway, the "Syndicates," and the nationalization of the theatre industry; the "Little Theatre" movement and the avant-garde; and theatre in the age of mass media (radio, film, and television ).