Click here to see a comprehensive list of our Fall 22 Course Offerings.
DRLIT-UA 110 | Hist of Drama & Theatre I | T 2pm-4:45pm | Prof. Woolf
This course offers a broad survey of theatre, drama, and performance histories from the pre-Classical period through the 17th century, with case studies from Europe, India, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. We will not attempt to create a single, continuous narrative spanning many centuries of wildly diverse theatrical projects. Instead, we will examine various global performance forms in their historical contexts in order to question the function of performance in the propagation and negotiation of cultures. In order to study the ever-changing functions of theatre and drama, we will examine the varied ways that social, political, economic, and cultural conditions inform/reflect aesthetic output - and vice versa.
Theatre, Performance, and Dramatic Literature
DRLIT-UA 138 | Popular Performance: The Black Artist on Stage | W 11am-1:45pm | Prof. Edwards
Popular Performance: The Black Artist on Stage - Since the beginning of American performance traditions in the nineteenth century, Black artists have had a particularly complicated relationship to the stage. Dominated by white male actors in blackface, the concept of Black performance has changed dramatically through the twentieth and now the twenty-first century. "The Black Artist on Stage" investigates how Black actors, comedians, musicians, and dancers navigate the complexities of their art and craft with audience expectations and the Black-body-as-spectacle. Key questions in the course include, how do the legacies of blackface minstrelsy affect the creation and maintenance of Black performance traditions? How do stages and audiences change with or against performers? How do new technologies bring the artist closer to their audience and yet, perhaps, also create new barriers of connection? Beginning with the Black Shakespearean, Ira Aldridge, the course investigates the transatlantic performance of Josephine Baker, the comedy of Richard Pryor, the fat activism of Lizzo, and the role others have left on the stage and Black performance.
DRLIT-UA 175 | Drama Queens: Opera, Gender & Poetics of Excess | TR 12:30pm-1:45pm | Prof. Refini
What is a drama queen? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a drama queen is "a person who is prone to exaggeratedly dramatic behaviour" and "a person who thrives on being the centre of attention." While drama queens certainly exist among us in real life, the world of opera is indeed one of their ideal environments. Echoing back to their tragic fates, the powerful voices of Dido, Medea, Violetta, and Tosca never ceased to affect their empathetic public. In fact, excess and overreactions are two main features of the operatic experience both on stage and in the audience. By focusing on the ways in which operatic characters are brought to life, the course explores the social, political, and gender dynamics that inform the melodramatic imagination. Along with a broad introduction to the development of the operatic genre and the opera libretto from 1600 to 1900, the course will provide students with a theoretical background across literature and musical culture, reception, voice/sound and gender studies. Case studies include highlights from operas by Monteverdi, Mozart, Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini as well as readings from works by authors such as Balzac, Tolstoy, D'Annunzio, and theoretical writings by Abel, Butler, Dolar, Koestenbaum, among others. Students will have the opportunity to attend screenings and live performances. No musical skills required. This course will be taught in English.
DRLIT-UA 175 | Drama and the Novel | W 2pm-4:45pm | Prof. Osburn
At a key point in Mikhail Bulgakov's Black Snow, subtitled "a theatrical novel," the narrator sees the figures in the novel he has written "moving about" in a "little box" with "light streaming through the lines on the page." Soon music and voices are heard, until "after three nights playing around with the first scene, I realized I was writing a play." Following Bulgakov's cue, we will traverse the liminal zone between novel and play in both directions: novels that poach the theater for characters, settings, episodes, metaphors, and techniques; dramatic texts adapted from novels; authors who write both plays and novels; the novel as theater historical document. Concepts such as "the dramatic novel," "modern tragedy," "the reality effect," the (questionable) drama/narrative binary, novelistic anti-theatricalism, and theatrical novel-envy will be encountered, along with writers as diverse in time and background as Jane Austen, Theodore Dreiser, Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Lisa Klein, Haruki Murakami, and Emily St. John Mandel.
DRLIT-UA 175 | English Renaissance Drama | MW 2pm-3:15pm | Prof. Archer
English Renaissance Drama In this broad survey of late sixteenth and early seventeenth century English drama exclusive of Shakespeare, we will read a range of plays within their generic and social contexts. In the introductory weeks, we will study two exemplary Elizabethan dramas that both define, and defy, common conceptions about tragedy and comedy and the differences between these genres. The first section of the course includes five lively comedies. We will emphasize their city settings and their often satirical depiction of middle class life, gender, and sexuality. In the second part of the course, we'll refine our definition of tragedy by pitting the code of revenge that drives many of these tragic plays against the aristocratic and romantic ideals that also possess their male and female characters. The course is roughly chronological in its choice of plays. Thus, the development of each genre from Elizabethan to Jacobean times will guide our reading, but we will also consider how comedy and tragedy were often mixed together throughout the period from the 1580s through to the 1620s. Plays include: Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy; Thomas Dekker, The Shoemaker's Holiday; Elizabeth Cary, The Tragedy of Mariam; and John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi. We will read about one play a week and the introductory essays in the anthology; assignments include two term papers and two exams. The textbook is: David Bevington, ed. English Renaissance Drama (Norton, 2002).
DRLIT-UA 175 | Downtown Theatre | M 1:45pm-4:45pm | Prof. Lazar
There is a ticket fee of $318 (2021-2022 fee) associated with this course. Please note students will be expected to attend shows on Thursday evenings (start time usually 7-8pm).
DRLIT-UA 175 | History of American Musical Theatre | TR 8am-9:15am | Prof. Dietrich
DRLIT-UA 175 | Performance Ethnographies | TR 11am-12:15pm | Prof. Crawford
Performance Ethnographies This course explores the interrelated and ever-evolving methodologies that draw together ethnography and performance studies theories and practices. Through rhetorical inquiry, qualitative study, introduction to “fieldworking” as a practice, and close attention to the ethical dimensions of studying human experience as performance, we will investigate texts that employ ethnography in understanding performance as well as performances drafted or devised through ethnographic processes. This course will, naturally, consider varied literary and performance forms, decentering the canonical and finding grounding in works that employ postcolonial and decolonizing approaches. Students will not only read ethnographic texts, but will also engage in the practice of ethnographic and “embodied” writing. This will include autoethnography as well as positioning oneself as researcher while delving into the benefits, challenges, and shortcomings of this field. We will concern ourselves with issues of gender, race, class, and sexuality presented through performance modes that include everyday life, folk and vernacular performance, and ceremony and ritual.
DRLIT-UA 185 | Adapting Ancient Drama | R 4:55pm-7:25pm | Prof. Meinick
DRLIT-UA 210 | Greek Drama | TR 3:30pm-4:45pm | Prof. Meinick
Of the ancient Greeks' many gifts to Western culture, one of the most celebrated and influential is the art of drama. We cover, through the best available translations, the masterpieces of the three great Athenian dramatists. Analysis of the place of the plays in the history of tragedy and the continuing influence they have had on serious playwrights, including those of the 20th century
DRLIT-UA 230 | Colloq: Shakespeare | TR 3:30pm-4:45pm | Prof. Patell
Shakespeare Colloquium: Global Shakespeare and the Idea of World Literature - This course introduces students to the theory and practice of world literature by asking the question, "Why and how do some works leave behind their local origins and become pieces of global cultural heritage"? Using the plays of William Shakespeare as a case study, the course considers the playwright both as an exemplar of Western literature and also as a world author whose influence--whether as inspiration or antagonist--can be felt throughout many cultures. We will approach the study of Shakespeare through three different sets of questions: 1) In what ways was Shakespeare a "global" author in his own day, adopting a "worldly" approach that transcends his English context? 2) How does the history of the publication, performance, and criticism of his plays transform "Shakespeare" into a global cultural commodity? 3) What is the cultural legacy of Shakespeare's work throughout a variety of global media forms, including plays, films, novels, operas, and works of visual art? We will begin by looking at four plays -The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Othello, and The Tempest-- that together capture many of the dynamics of the spread of Shakespeare's work through a variety of cultural contexts and genres. We will then devote a number of classes to a closer investigation of the global spread of Shakespeare's most famous play, Hamlet, from 1603 to the present. The course concludes with a creative project inspired by Shakespeare's lost play, Cardenio, based on an episode from Cervantes's Don Quixote. An abiding question of the course will be: What does the study of "world literature" add to an "English major"?
DRLIT-UA 240 | Feminism and the Second Wave | T 2pm-4:45pm | Prof. Martin
Women Who Kill Women kill differently than men. Not only are who, how and why they kill different but our understanding of the circumstances, motives and explanations for their murders change over time. Sociology, psychology, and feminism have all formulated explanations and dramatic literature in different time periods is populated with female protagonists who murder. How is theatre in conversation with dramatic persona who kill their husbands, lovers, children, and themselves? Looking at plays in different time periods, we will examine the portrayal of women who kill including the circumstances in which they find themselves and the reasoning that informs their choices. Plays we will read include: Medea, Antigone, Clytemnestra, Macbeth, Sonezaki Shinju, Trifles, Machinal, Kokoro, Tea, and For Colored Girls Who Considered When the Rainbow is Enough. If you are interested in this course, please follow the instructions for applying on the Honors website: https://tisch.nyu.edu/drama/about/theatre-studies-honors APPLICATIONS REMAIN OPEN UNTIL THE MAXIMUM ENROLLMENT HAS BEEN REACHED.
DRLIT-UA 254 | Major Playwrights: Brecht | R 11am-1:45pm | Prof. Woolf
Brecht: Experiments in Revolutionary Theater - "Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it." So wrote Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), one of the most intriguing, inspiring, contradictory, and maddening artists of the twentieth century. From his early writings of the Weimar Republic, to his discovery and embrace of Marxism, to his plays and theory written in exile, and finally his work as a director and playwright as the founder of the Berliner Ensemble, Brecht was constantly reimagining a theater of "socially practical significance" - in poetry, prose, and performance. This seminar will examine key moments of Brecht's multi-faceted artistic development and juxtapose his major theatrical and theoretical experiments with contemporary artists working to engage and to challenge the "Brechtian" legacy, both politically and aesthetically. Combining creativity and criticality in its structure, content, and assignments, this course channels Brecht's ongoing commitment to experimentation and to institutional critique. Together - as we collaboratively navigate our own chaotic historical moment - we will pose the ever-evolving question: In what ways does Brecht serve as a reference point for radical theater and performance today?
DRLIT-UA 254 | Major Playwrights: Beckett | R 11am-1:45pm | Prof. Jeffreys
BECKETT & THE ABSURDISTS Waiting for Godot set the stage for a career that saw Samuel Beckett become one of the most controversial and least understood playwrights of the 20th Century. This class examines his impact as a key innovator of dramatic structure, content and theme. This multi-media class explores the complete body of his dramatic works for stage, radio, TV and film and a small selection of his non-dramatic works including short stories, essays and poems. Through critical readings and discussion the class locates Beckett's work in the historical and critical context of the last half of the 1900’s. A major figure of the Theatre of the Absurd, this class also looks at his legacy and other playwrights in this circle from Eugene Ionesco to Jean Genet and Beckett’s legacy on theatre artists writing and working today from Edward Albee to Mac Wellman.
DRLIT-UA 254 | Major Playwrights: Lynn Nottage | TR 4:55pm-6:10pm | Prof. Dietrich
Kristen Wright Lynn Nottage is one of the most produced playwrights working today and the only woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice. Much of her work is grounded in realism and explores the lives of working-class Black people. This course is a survey of Nottage's major works, particularly: Ruined, By The Way, Meet Vera Stark, Intimate Apparel, Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine, Crumbs from the Table of Joy, and Sweat. We will also discuss how Nottage's work has recently expanded beyond the play, writing the book of MJ The Musical and the libretto of Lincoln Center Theater's operatic adaptation of Intimate Apparel.
DRLIT-UA 255 | Afro-American Drama | R 2pm-4:45pm | Prof. Crawford
Black Women Playwrights.
DRLIT-UA 301 | Queer Politics & Performance | M 2pm-4:45pm | TBA
DRLIT-UA 301 | Topics in Performance Studies | T 12pm-2:45pm | TBA
DRLIT-UA 301 | Introduction to Performance Studies | T 9am-11:15am | Prof. Lepecki
DRLIT-UA 301 | RCT | R 9:30am-10:45am | TBA
DRLIT-UA 301 | RCT | R 11am-12:15pm | TBA
DRLIT-UA 508 | Interartistic Genres: Writing and Performance | T 11am-1:45pm | Prof. Sherwood
Interartistic Genres: Writing and Performance - This workshop course will take a playful approach to writing for performance: we will work towards making new work by experimenting with process and form and cultivating our ability to write things that surprise us. No performance experience is required, you just need a willingness to experiment with writing! Students will explore writing performance texts in a variety of genres (including but not limited to plays, poems, songs, recipes, oracle cards, performance art and innovative fiction and poetry) with an ultimate goal of creating a new hybrid, inter-genre work as a final project. In class we'll try out hybrid and non-traditional approaches to creating texts that structure performances including devising, cut-ups, OULIPO and Fluxus games, and writing exercises inspired by writers and artists like Erik Ehn, Maria Irene Fornes, Suzan-Lori Parks, Anne Carson, Lynda Barry, Hijikata Tatsumi, Jenny Holzer (and more). This is a workshop course, so the major portion of assignments will involve creating and sharing your own writing. The coursework will include readings of creative and critical texts, writing assignments in class and out, and workshops of student projects, all of which are designed to help students write or otherwise devise a new hybrid-genre work. NO PREREQUISITE. THIS COURSE COUNTS TOWARD ONE OF YOUR WORKSHOP REQUIREMENTS IN THE ENGLISH MAJOR WITH CREATIVE WRITING TRACK.
DRLIT-UA 175 | Cinema & Fascism | M 2pm-4:30pm | Prof. Astrinaki
In a moment in which the world is beset with crises of all kinds, fourteen films and one book will guide our effort to think about fascism, perhaps the vaguest of all political terms, but one that is presently increasing in circulation around the globe. Using Robert Paxton' s The Anatomy of Fascism as a kind of lens through which to begin analyzing cinematic responses to fascism in different countries, we will evaluate the way in which these films either follow or exceed his framework for understanding the rise of fascism. We will consider fascism beyond its classic manifestations in Italian fascism and German Nazism and look at the forms it has taken from Latin America to the Middle and Far East. We will also look at primary sources on filmmaking in order to study how formal techniques support the particular political perspective of each film considered. The course will also seek to think about the relation between the way in which fascism--its origins, its power, and its appeal--is depicted in these several films and its more contemporary versions today. By looking at these different instances of fascism, we will ask about what makes fascism fascism.
DRLIT-UA 185 | Green Film Narratives | W 4:55pm-7:25pm | Prof. Astrinaki
This course is a composite of cinematic responses to climate change triggered by Europe's largest mining project located in Greece and its impending incalculable environmental disaster. We will watch and analyze fiction, documentary and animation films to comprehend how filmmakers from around the globe have addressed the most grievous crisis of our times. The course aims at entertaining our way to engagement in global warming and its consequences (deforestation, world water crisis, coal industry, farming industry, waste management) discovering the patterns in the representation and iconography of climate change, analyzing the filmmaking strategies behind sustainable energy narratives and becoming aware of the climate change skeptic media. ? line up of twelve films and two books will guide our efforts to face the future of humankind, initiate or reinforce our connection to the Earth and raise our awareness on environmental injustice. Films will include: Chinatown, Roman Polanski, 1974 (USA), Erin Brockovich, Steven Soderbergh, 2000 (USA), Digger, G. Grigorakis (Greece), The World according to Monsanto, Marie-Monique Robin, 2008 (France, Canada), El Dorado - The struggle for Skouries, L. Helbich 2017 (Greece), Sisters of the Planet, Shannon Hart, 2011 (Cambodia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Vietnam), Forest of Gold, Yorgos Kalyvas, 2014, (Greece), and Glacial Balance, Ethan Steinman, 2013 (Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador).
DRLIT-UA 505 | Italian Cinema and Lit | TR 9:30am-10:45am | Prof. Albertini
Studies the relationship between Italian literature and post-World War II cinema, including the poetics and politics of the process of cinematic adaptation. Among the authors and directors examined are Lampedusa, Bassani, Sciascia, Visconti, Moravia, De Cespedes, DeSica, and Rosi.
Practical Theatre Courses
DRLIT-UA 635 | Stagecraft | MW 4:55pm-6:35pm | Prof. Embry
Comprehensive, practical course in the various technical aspects of theatrical production. Fall term explores the planning, construction, and painting of scenery and the architecture of the stage. Spring term deals with stage electrics, lighting, crafts, sound technology, and special effects. Three additional hours of laboratory a week.
DRLIT-UA 643 | Directing | F 11:25am-2:20pm | Prof. Huff
Elements of play scripts are analyzed and dramatized. Students cast and rehearse members of the acting classes in brief scenes performed at workshop meetings on Friday afternoons. Class assignments included.
Other Courses of Interest
To be listed soon...