(Fulfills Sector 6 of the English Major. Also fulfills elective credit in the Theatre Arts major or Theatre Arts minor.)
London is one of the great urban theatre cultures in the world today. This course will attempt to give students as comprehensive an introduction to that culture as possible in five weeks, chiefly through attendance at and discussion of 12 to 15 theater productions being staged this summer in London. The productions will cover a wide range of venues from the major institutional theatres such as the Royal National Theatre, the Royal Court, and the Almeida the West End (similar to Broadway), off-West End theatres such as the Gate and the Bush, and pub theater. The plays that are performed will cover as wide a spectrum of historical periods and styles as possible, from the classics to modern and contemporary plays to brand new works from around the world. Students will write short response essays (not critiques or reviews) using specific guidelines after each performance, and then will discuss their responses in seminar. Once each week the conversation will be led by Michael Billington, the distinguished theater critic for The Guardian newspaper. Selected plays will be read and discussed prior to seeing the productions to give students insight into and a greater appreciation for how a play is transformed through a very complex collaborative process from “the page to the stage.” In addition to theater visits, the courses will also include visits to a number of sites of interest, including London’s Theatre Museum.