Theatre Arts 112/English 98
Theatre, History, Culture III:
Modernism to Post-Modernism
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11-11:50, and by appointment
September 6: Introduction
I. Against/Beneath/Beyond Realism
September 11: Maurice Maeterlinck, “The Tragic in Everyday Life” (bulkpack); Anton Chekhov, The Seagull.
[September 13: NO CLASS]
September 18: Edward Gordon Craig, “The Actor and the Über-Marionette” from On the Art of the Theatre (bulkpack); Adolphe Appia, “Ideas on a Reform of our Mise en Scène (bulkpack)”; William ButlerYeats, At the Hawk’s Well (bulkpack).
II. Dada and Surrealism
September 20: Alfred Jarry, Ubu Roi (bulkpack); Guillaume Apollinaire, The Breasts of Tiresias (bulkpack).
III. The Theatre of Cruelty
September 25: Antonin Artaud, ”Metaphysics and the Mise en Scène,” “On the Balinese Theater,” “No More Masterpieces,” “The Theater and Cruelty,” and “Theater of Cruelty (first manifesto)” from The Theater and its Double (bulkpack).
September 27: Kenneth Macgowan and Robert Edmond Jones, “Beyond Realism” and “The Living Stage,” from Continental Stagecraft (bulkpack); Robert Edmond Jones, “A New Kind of Drama” from The Dramatic Imagination (bulkpack); Georg Kaiser, From Morn to Midnight (bulkpack).
V. Constructivism and Bio-Mechanics
October 2: Robert Leach, “Vsevolod Emilievich Meyerhold” (bulkpack); Mel Gordon, “Meyerhold’s Biomechanics” (bulkpack); Vsevolod Meyerhold, “Observations on the Play” and “Meyerhold at Rehearsal” (bulkpack).
VI. The Epic Theatre
October 4: Piscator and Brecht: Bertolt Brecht, “The Modern Theatre is the Epic Theatre,” “Theatre for Pleasure or Theatre for Instruction,” “Alienation Effects in Chinese Acting,” “The Street Scene” and “A Short Organum for Theatre” (bulkpack).
[Approximate date: FIRST TAKE-HOME ASSIGNMENT]
VII. American Non-Realism and Realism
October 11: Eugene O’Neill, “A Manifesto on Masks” (bulkpack); Sophie Treadwell, Machinal
VIII. Post-War American Realism and Beyond
October 18: Lee Strasberg, “The Voyage Continues II: The Actors Studio and My Classes,” A Dream of Passion (bulkpack); Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman.
IX. Theatre of the Absurd
October 25: Samuel Beckett, Endgame.
October 30: Peter Brook, The Empty Space; film viewing, on reserve in Rosengarten: Peter Weiss, Marat/Sade, directed by Peter Brook.
XI. The actor and the Body
November 1: Jerzy Grotowski, “Towards a Poor Theatre,” “The Theatre’s New Testament,” and “He Wasn’t Entirely Himself,” from Towards a Poor Theatre (bulkpack).
XII. Post-Colonial Theatre
November 6: Brian Crow and Chris Banfield, “Introduction, from An Introduction to Post-Colonial Theatre (bulkpack); Wole Soyinka, Death and the King’s Horseman; Soyinka, “The Fourth Stage” (downloadable for the Blackboard website).
XIII. Performance Anthropology and the New Inter-Culturalism
November 8: Gautam Dasgupta, “Peter Brook’s ‘Orientalism’” (Performing Arts Journal, Vol. 10, No. 3. , pp. 9-16)(downloadable for the Blackboard website); slides, and video clips about Peter Brook’s Mahabharata and Ariane Mnouchkine’s Shakespeare and Aeschylus.
[Approximate date: SECOND TAKE-HOME ASSIGNMENT]
XIV. Feminist Theory and Performance
November 13: Jill Dolan, “The Discourse of Feminism: The Spectator and Representation,” from The Feminist Spectator as Critic (bulkpack).
[POSSIBLE THEATRE-GOING: Villanova University Theatre’s production of Brecht’s Mother Courage and her Children, Nov. 13-18, 27-Dec. 2]
[November 15: TO BE ANNOUNCED]
November 20: Caryl Churchill, Cloud Nine.
XV. Performance and Performance Art
November 27: Marvin Carlson, “Performance and Identity,” from Performance: A Critical Introduction (bulkpack).
XVI. Camp, Queer Theatre
November 29: Susan Sontag, “An Essay on Camp” (bulkpack); Split Britches and Bloo Lips, Belle Reprieve (bulkpack).
XVII. Post-Modernism and The Theatre of Images
December 4: Richard Foreman, “Foundations for a Theater,” “Directing the Actors, Mostly,” “Visual Composition, Mostly,” from Unbalancing Acts (bulkpack); slides and video-tapes of productions by The Wooster Group, Robert Wilson, Richard Foreman.
December 6: Catch-up and Conclusions
There will be TWO take-home essay assignments (approximately 5 pages), plus ONE final paper (approximately 10-12 pages), due at a date to be announced during reading and exam period, on a topic that must MUST BE APPROVED IN ADVANCE. Attendance in class is crucial; CHRONIC ABSENCE OR LATENESS WILL BE COUNTED AGAINST YOU.
The following books can be purchased at the
Anton Chekhov, The Seagull
Sophia Treadwell, Machinal
Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman
Bertolt Brecht, Mother Courage and Her Children
Samuel Beckett, Engame
Peter Brook, The Empty Space
Wole Soyinka, Death and the King's Horseman
Caryl Churchill, Cloud Nine
The bulkpack can be
purchased at the
The listserv for this course is THAR112-401-07C@lists.upenn.edu. You have been subscribed automatically. If you do not seem to be on it, or if you drop the course and wish to be unsubscribed, please send a note to cmazer@english.
The syllabus for this course is available at http://www.english.upenn.edu/mazer/112f07.html. Make a bookmark on your web browser for this site. There is a “Blackboard” web site for this course, to which you are automatically subscribed, which includes an electronic copy of the syllabus, and (under “Course Documents”) downloadable PDF files of several of the course readings. We may discover other uses for this web site over the course of the semester.