Click here to see a comprehensive list of our Spring '23 Course Offerings.
class# 8417 | DRLIT-UA 111.001 History of Drama & Theatre II | R 11am-1:45pm Edwards, Paul, Johnson
This course offers a survey of theatre, drama, and performance over the last three centuries. Although designed toward a broad history of the stage, students will explore multiple streams of practices and theories that have informed conceptions of race, gender, sexuality, and class in performance. This course thus invites participants to lead conversations based on in-depth scholarship through faculty facilitation. Theatre is ever-changing, with contemporary works interacting with popular and sometimes controversial revivals; how does the revival of 1776 intersect with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton? To this end, the class will engage in critical analysis, creative reinterpretations, and our own polemics in the question, “what is theatre?” By the end of the semester students will have a greater knowledge of theatre history, concepts of dramatic traditions, and an understanding of various theories of performance.
Theatre, Performance, and Dramatic Literature
class# 23701 DRLIT-UA 185 1 Greek Tragedy & Modern Greece R 2pm-4:30pm Taxidou, Olga
This course examines the ways in which Greek Tragedy is re-imagined within the broader context of Modern Greek culture from the early twentieth century to today. It is based on the premise that the encounter with the ancient texts enables Modern Greek writers, playwrights, and directors to think through, embody, and sometimes problematize concerns about nationhood, tradition and modernity, classicism and experimentation. Greek Tragedy is approached both thematically and formally, as text and vehicle for performance. This interface between the ancients and the moderns acquires particular relevance and urgency at moments of political crisis, such as the civil war, the military dictatorship, and the contemporary crisis. This course will approach this dialogue within these specific historico- political contexts and concentrate on the modes of writing and re-writing it has helped to shape. The course will examine the classical play-texts and the ways they have been re-imagined not only on the stage, but also in Modern Greek poetry, fiction, and film.
class# 23778 DRLIT-UA 185 2 Theatre & Medicine M 11am-1:30pm Taxidou, Olga
This course examines the long-standing and constitutive relationships between theatre and medicine. From the classical Greek plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, through Shakespearean drama to Tony Kushner's Angels in America, the stage has offered a platform for the expression of illness, disability and trauma, both individual and collective. Throughout its history the stage has also offered the medical discourses metaphorical ways of conceptualizing ideas of deformity, normality, deviance and disability. At the same time, it teaches us empathy and affect and contributes to our physical and mental wellbeing. This course will examine this intertwined relationship between theatre and medicine from the Greeks to the contemporary stage, by looking at plays by, among others, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, William Shakespeare, Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet, Larry Kramer and Tony Kushner.
class# 21118 | DRLIT-UA 244 1 Traditional Drama of China & Japan T 2pm-4:30pm Roberts, Moss
Compares a selection of Chinese and Japanese pre-modern dramas and explores contrasts and parallels of incident, character, plot design, and theme in the two theatrical traditions. Attention to the historical background of each work and the social conditions and customs that each reflects. The cultural salience of each work is also considered.
class#24359 | DRLIT-UA 251 1 Comedy: History & Theory TR 9:30am-10:45am Zhulina, Alisa
This course will explore the history and theories of comedy and humor from antiquity to the present day. What makes us laugh and why? What are some cultural differences in humor perception? Is comedy a conservative or politically progressive theatrical genre? Which material is appropriate for comedy, and which is not? We will trace the development of a range of comic theories, paying attention to comedy’s connections to philosophy, politics, economics, and other arts. Primary texts might include plays by Aristophanes, Annie Baker, Samuel Beckett, Aphra Behn, Anton Chekhov, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Young Jean Lee, Martin McDonaugh, Molière, William Shakespeare, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Oscar Wilde. We will also read critical texts by Aristotle, Bakhtin, Bergson, Cavell, Freud, Hutcheon, Plato, and many others.
class#24360 | DRLIT-UA 251 2 Closet Dramas: The Unstaged & the Unstageable R 11am-1:45pm Shaw, Helen
Not all theater was intended for a stage. Closet drama categorizes those plays aimed at the reader rather than the actor, created to be experienced in private (or in a small group reading) rather than in a public performance. The historical and artistic reasons for this are varied: Sometimes closet drama was written “for the page” by a writer who—because of race, gender, or religion—was censored or otherwise excluded from production; sometimes closet drama reflected the writer’s own belief that their work was too dangerous, too poetic, too complex, too forbidden for the public. Closet drama also bridges the literary art and the theatrical one, so philosophers like Plato wrote in dialogues, and authors like James Joyce interpolated pages of theatrical writing in their novels. Nothing fires the imagination quite the same way, since the reader must become all things to the text: director, actor, producer, designer. We will read—together as the writers intended—closet dramas by Seneca, Goethe, Byron, Margaret Cavendish, Hrosvitha of Gandersheim, Alfred de Musset, William Wells Brown, Antonin Artaud, the Vorticists, Marita Bonner, Jean Toomer, and Ed Bullins among others. We’ll also look at the modern closet drama, those COVID-era works that were conceived without an in-person performance in mind, and we’ll figure out whether there are, actually, ways to stage the unstageable
class#24361 DRLIT-UA 254 1 Major Playwrights: Tony Kushner TR 9:30am-10:45am Butler, Isaac
This course will delve deeply into the work, ideas, and social context of the playwright, screenwriter, and NYU alum Tony Kushner.A writer of remarkable ambition, Kushner’s work, whether in plays like Angels in America, musicals like Caroline or Change or films like Munich, has always sought to ask the largest and most difficult questions of his era, while also remaining entertaining, thrillingly alive, and boldly theatrical. This class will examine work from every period of Kushner’s career, along with interviews, essays, and commentary, to provide several of his works for both stage and screen, along with interviews, essays, and commentary, to provide a full portrait not only of Kushner’s plays, but of the events that shaped him and that his work responds to
class# 20826 DRLIT-UA 258 1 Political Theater: Performing Weimar T 2pm-4:45pm Woolf, Brandon
Political Theater: Performing Weimar - Born out of revolution in the wake of World War I, the Weimar Republic was a period of extraordinary turmoil and intense contradiction: social, political, cultural, and aesthetic. While Germany’s first democracy ended in the horrors of Nazi fascism, the years 1918 to 1933 were filled with great promise – marked by the effervescence of technological innovation, philosophical investigation, and artistic exploration, especially in the realms of theater and performance. In our own moment of uncertainty – filled as it is with racism, reactionary politics, and violence – Weimar still commands our attention. Weimar helps us to understand and critically interrogate mass media, global consumer society, norms of race, gender, nation, and sexuality. And in the face of a Right that grows more powerful, Weimar demands – over and over again – that we continue to articulate and enact a different political future. In this course we will explore Weimar’s legacy of interdisciplinary (and always political) experimentation in a variety of artistic movements and modes of performance creation: Expressionism, Bauhaus, New Objectivity, cabaret, learning-play, use-music, opera, dance, and drama. Together we will pose the ever-evolving question: How does Weimer serve as both a reference and a point of departure for radical theater and performance today?
class# 23784 DRLIT-UA 293 1 Classical Latina Heroines: Greek Tragedy on the Latinx Stage MW 3:30pm-4:45pm Hernandez, Julia
class# 9667 DRLIT-UA 300 1 Drama in Performance TR 3:30pm-4:45pm Crawford, Honey
class#24357 | DRLIT-UA 301 1 Performance Histories R 12:30pm-3:15pm Rakhimzhanova, Anel
class#24358 | DRLIT-UA 301 2 Theories of Movement W 9:30am-12:15pm Castaneda, Michelle, S
class# 20828 DRLIT-UA 971 1 Asian American Dramatic Literature MW 12:30pm-1:45pm Sudhinaraset, Pacharee
Open to juniors/seniors. This course examines the proliferation of Asian American performance in the 20th-21st Century. Through Asian American theater, dramatic texts, and performance, we will study the inter-related questions of US citizenship and belonging, US culture, racial formation, and transnational politics. Furthermore, we will consider the relationship between Asian American cultural politics, textual and performance studies, popular culture, and racialized, sexualized, and gendered formations to explore the following question: Why and how is dramatic literature, theater, and performance so central to Asian American politics?
class# 23777 |DRLIT-UA 200.001 Reimagining Greek Tragedy| W 2pm-4:30pm | Taxidou, Olga
The encounters with Greek Tragedy throughout the ages have not only shaped our understanding of theatre in the Western canon, but have also informed basic concepts and theories of classicism, neo-classicism and humanism more broadly. A privileged genre in aesthetic theory, its powerful roles (like Klytemnestra, Oedipus, Antigone) have had a huge impact on modern thinking, from psychoanalysis and philosophy to legal and political theory. This course will take an interdisciplinary approach to Greek Tragedy, bringing together critical languages from Classics, Theatre Studies, Performance Theory, but also philosophy and critical theory. Through a series of close readings of key play-texts by the three tragedians–Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides–it will look at the ways these texts have been re-written and re-imagined for performance within the broader context of modernity. The course will also have a workshop element.
class# 23470 DRLIT-UA 225.001 | Shakespeare | MW 11am-12:15pm | Archer, John, M (RCT Required)
In this survey of William Shakespeare’s career as a playwright we will consider the relation between the mingled genres of his plays (romantic and problem comedy, history, tragedy, and tragicomic romance) and the social and political conditions that shaped his developing sense of dramatic form. Critical analysis of the plays as both performances and written works will make up the fabric of this course; the connection of the drama to its culture will be the guiding thread. Excerpts from film, video, and audio performances will be played and discussed in class along with other visual materials. We will explore nine plays. The requirements include two essays, two exams, and consistent attendance at both lectures and recitations. Individual editions of the plays from the Pelican Shakespeare series will be ordered for this course, easy to read and to carry. Plays this semester include: The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night, All’s Well That Ends Well, Richard III, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, and King Lear.
class# 24003 | DRLIT-UA 175.001 | History of French and Francophone Filmmaking | F 2:00pm-4:45pm
class #24004 DRLIT-UA 175.002 | History of French Filmmaking from Origins to New Wave | F 11:00am-1:45pm
ENGL-UA 995.002 Pandemics in Film
This is a 2 credit course. We can manually count it toward your major, but please note you may have to make up the 2 credits elsewhere to reach the 128 needed for graduation.
Practical Theatre Courses
class# 20827 | DRLIT-UA 840.001 Workshop in Playwriting | T 11am-1:45pm | Gassman, Benjamin
In this course, each student will write a new play. No prior playwriting experience is necessary. The class will take an adventurous approach to writing for live performance, experimenting with voice, character, and place, and simultaneously with form and structure. We will cultivate an ability to write things that surprise us. To aid our process, we will study the works of a diverse group of plays and performance texts in order to understand how they work. We will read primarily as writers, not scholars or critics, looking to these plays+ for strategies we might want to adapt and experiment with in our own writing for performance. Coursework will include readings of plays and critical texts, writing assignments in class and at home, and participatory readings and discussion of student writing, all designed to aid students in writing and refining original one-act plays or performance texts. Students will regularly present their emerging plays or performance texts for in-class reading and critique.