The Play: Structure, Style, Meaning
Required of all Theatre Arts Majors
How does one read a play? Theatre, as a discipline, focuses on the traditions of live performance. In those traditions, a play text must be read not only as a piece of literature, but as a kind of “blueprint” from which productions are envisioned and constructed. This course introduces students to a variety of approaches to reading plays and performance pieces. Dramatic texts are selected from across a range of historical periods, cultures, and countries, including those of Sophocles, Shakespeare, Chikamatsu, Moliere, Ibsen, Chekhov, Shaw, Brecht, Beckett, Arthur Miller, Tom Stoppard, Caryl Churchill, Athol Fugard, among others. This course examines how plays are made, considering issues such as structure, genre, style, character, and language, as well as the use of physical space and theatrical effects. Although the course is devoted to the reading and analysis of plays, students also view selected live and/or filmed versions of several of the scripts we study, assessing their translation from page to stage.