From the Classical to the Middle Classes
This course investigates the history of theatre practice in Europe and Asia from Fifth-Century Athens to roughly the end of the Eighteenth Century. In addition to analyzing major dramatic works, the course examines the evolution of production methods —scenography, acting, and design - across cultures, and at key socio-historical moments. We will pay attention to theatre’s location and architecture, as sites where fluctuations in politics, societies, and evolving cities are especially legible, and to the various approaches of writers and theorists, as they comment upon, document, and contribute to those changes, across diverse periods. Readings will include plays, historical research, critical and theoretical writings, and contemporary social documents. The course approaches theatre as a broadly interdisciplinary cultural event, and examines its intersection with religious practice, political developments, national identity, geography, the visual arts and the urban landscape.