Module Convenor 2017-18: Steve Purcell
Overview of European Theatre 2017-18
Lectures: These take place on Mondays at 4.00 in MS03 (Maths and Science Building).
Introductory lecture:Wednesday of week 1 at 3.00 in LIB1 (Library).
There are no classes in Week 1, other than the introductory lecture on Wednesday of Week 1 3:00pm - 4:00pm.
Seminar Group Times 2017-18:
Thursday 11:00-12:30pm (CAPITAL Rehearsal Room)
Thursday 12:30-12:00pm (CAPITAL Rehearsal Room)
Friday 9:30-11:00 (CAPITAL Rehearsal Room)
ESSAYS: Term 1 essays are due in week 11
Term 2 essays are due in week 11
NB- An invaluable Library resource is Drama Online - http://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/
This gives you free access to hundreds of plays, including most of those on the European Theatre reading list –some in several different translations. It also includes (American) readings of many of them.
This module is one of two Pathway Requirements for the World and Comparative Literature Pathway. This is also a Distributional Requirement for the English Pathway and an option for the other pathways.
The course aims:
- To introduce a range of major plays from the European dramatic tradition, concentrating on revenge tragedy, seventeenth-century comedy, metatheatre and Naturalism, and on conflicting twentieth-century concepts of dramatic ideology and form.
- To study plays in their historical context and as texts for performance, which involves reference to the original staging conventions and to modern productions. Where possible, plays are studied in performance - on stage or on the screen.
- To explore changing theatrical representations of class and gender.
- To consider the relationship between dramatic form, intellectual debate and cultural conditions, as reflected in the plays and theatrical periods in question.
- To introduce students to a number of theories of the drama, with reference to their practical application in playtexts and production.
- To consider the uses dramatists have made of existing genres and traditions.
- To develop students’ ability to analyze dramatic texts both as literature and as texts for performance.
Weeks 1-5: Introduction, Greek tragedy and its legacy
Weeks 7-10: Tragedy and comedy in seventeenth-century theatre
Weeks 1-5: The late nineteenth century: Naturalism and after.
Weeks: 7-10: Currents and controversies in twentieth-century drama.
Weeks 1-3: Reviewing European Theatre.
There will be weekly 1-hour lectures and 1½-hour seminars.
LECTURE LIST 2017-18:
Week 1 Introduction (Steve Purcell)
Week 2 Aeschylus, The Oresteia (Carol Rutter)
Week 4 Sophocles, Antigone (Matt Franks)
Week 5 Euripides, The Bacchae (Steve Purcell)
Week 6 Reading week
Week 7 Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy (Steve Purcell)
Week 8 Calderon, Life's a Dream (Tony Howard) - Link to Lope de Vega: New Art of Writing Plays
Week 10 Racine, Phèdre (Matt Franks)
Week 1 Ibsen, Hedda Gabler (David Taylor)
Week 2 Chekhov, The Seagull (Matt Franks)
Week 4 Wedekind, Spring's Awakening (Steve Purcell)
Week 5 Brecht, Life of Galileo (Carol Rutter)
Week 6 Reading week
Week 7 Lorca, Yerma (Matt Franks)
Week 8 Beckett, Endgame (Jonny Heron)
Week 9 Caryl Churchill, The Skriker (Matt Franks)
Week 10 Martin Crimp, Attempts on Her Life (Steve Purcell)
Week 1 Reviewing European Theatre: revision lecture and seminars
Week 2 Exam Q&A: revision lecture and seminars
The module is assessed by two essays and a two-hour summer exam. See English Dept. Undergraduate handbook for details.
Creative project: One of your assessed pieces may be a 'creative project'. This can for example be an original literary response to one of the plays on the course, a production plan, or a visual (e.g. video) project. It must be accompanied by a prose piece of c.1,000 words outlining the aims of the project and reflecting on its development. Students wishing to submit a creative project should discuss it with their tutor as early as possible and must agree a title with the Convenor by Monday of week 6 of the term in which the piece will be submitted.
By the end of the module you should have
- Acquired knowledge of several major trends in European theatre and of the work of historically-significant playwrights
- Developed a sense of the expressive possibilities of different dramatic languages: for example, poetic rhetoric, naturalistic dialogue, the choric voice, subtext, mise en scene, movement
- Gained some familiarity with theoretical debates, including Aristotle, Stanislavski and Brecht
- Acquired skills in reading dramatic texts
- Developed your argumentative skills in academic essays
'The set text, which you should buy, for the first half of Term 1 is:
- Richard W. Corrigan (ed.) Classical Tragedy, Greek and Roman (Applause Books)
- [Since copies of this text may be hard to find at short notice, you may study the plays for the first half of Term 1 in other editions (though this will be more expensive). The Oresteia is available in affordable Penguin Classics, Oxford World Classics and Drama Classics editions, as is The Bacchae (also spelled Bakkhai). Antigone and Oedipus can often be purchased in the same volume, e.g. Penguin Books' The Three Theban Plays. Tony Harrison's translation of The Oresteia is available in Tony Harrison: Plays 4, Faber.]
Many plays studied later in this module are available in several editions. Recommended texts :
- Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy (Revels Student Edition)
- Calderon, Life is a Dream, trans. John Clifford (Drama Classics, Nick Hern Books)
- Moliere, Tartuffe and Other Plays (Penguin)
- Racine, Iphigenia, Phaedra and Athaliah (Penguin Classics)
- Ibsen, Three Plays (Drama Classics, NHB)
- Strindberg, Plays One (Methuen)
- Chekhov, Four Plays (Drama Classics, NHB)
- Wedekind, Spring's Awakening (Applause)
- Lorca, The House of Bernada Alba and Other Plays (Penguin)
- Brecht, Life of Galileo, trans. John Willett (Methuen)
- Beckett, Endgame (Faber)
- Churchill, The Skriker (NHB)
- Crimp, Attempts on her Life (Faber)
Please note - you can access the film Dionysus in 69 here: