Approaches to Theater 1: Ancient to Renaissance

Winter 2016-2017


John Muse

A survey of key concepts and trends in Western and non-Western theater from the ancient Greeks through the Renaissance, the course offers its students tools to understand and interpret dramatic literature and theatrical performance. We will read plays and performances closely, taking into account form, character, plot and genre, but also staging, acting, spectatorship, and historical conventions. In the process we will ask how various agents—playwrights, directors, performers, and audiences—generate plays and give them meaning, and students will become agents themselves by devising and performing scenes as a parallel mode of interpretation. No experience making theater required. Either term of the course satisfies the English Department's gateway requirement. (A, D, E)