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Three American Playwrights: Williams, Albee, Shepard

ENGL 256.601
instructor(s):
W 4:30-7:30
fulfills requirements:
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major

In this seminar, we will examine closely the work of three playwrights – Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee and Sam Shepard – whose writing both reflected and shaped five decades (and counting) of American theatre and film.  While their works may initially seem dissimilar, all three use the paradigm of American realism as a point of departure in creating pieces that incorporate magic realism, absurdism, performance art, and any number of other prominent 20th Century theatrical movements.  Above all, these are writers whose voices are grounded in deeply personal, poetic language and imagery, reflecting quite specific (and specifically different) aspects of America and what it means to be an “American” – ideas that have influenced generations of artists.  Our curriculum includes familiar as well as lesser-known works: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, CAMINO REAL, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, THE ZOO STORY, BURIED CHILD, CURSE OF THE STARVING CLASS and more.