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The Play: Structure, Style, Meaning

ENGL 056.401
crosslisted as: THAR 125
instructor(s):
TR 12-1:30pm

 

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 also as a kind of “blueprint” from which productions are built. This course will introduce students to a variety of approaches to reading plays and performance pieces. Drawing on a wide range of dramatic texts from different periods and places, up to the current moment, we will examine how plays are made, considering issues such as structure, genre, style, character, and language, as well as the use of time, space, and theatrical effects. Although the course is devoted to the reading and analysis of plays, we will also view selected recordings of some of the scripts we study, assessing their translation from page to stage. In this unprecedented moment, we will examine some of the ways in which theatre is being made in the midst of a global pandemic, examining representative streaming performances. The class will also include visits from guest artists.