This course will survey the developments of European drama in the last eight decades, looking closely at texts by Brecht, Artaud, Pirandello, and Beckett in the first part of the course and then at the work of such playwrights as Pinter, O'Neill, Williams, Miller, Albee, Churchill, Wasserstein, Friel, and Stoppard. Some of these plays will be read in their entirety, and some in selected extracts. Students will gain insight into the major trends and innovations of modern drama, its theories, and some of the ways in which drama increasingly becomes an instrument of change and protest. We will also look at the exchange of influence among these dramatists, and compare American with British developments in the drama as well as general European currents. Extracts of recent film versions of some of thse plays may be shown to help emphasize the dual nature of the drama as both text and performance.
Course requirements: 3 papers (1 take-home essay, 1 shorter and 1 longer formal essay) midterm, final exam, possibility for student scene performances.