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Drama, Performance and Identity since 1955

Dr Nicholas Monk (GO4a, The CAPITAL Centre)

Tuesdays, 3-5 pm, CAPITAL Studio

This module provides an option for students to expand their theoretical, methodological, and creative understanding and appreciation of drama and performance. It seeks also to explore fully the learning potential of the ensemble and the rehearsal room, and employs to this end a method of assessment based upon a group performance.


Term One:

Unit 1: Intellectual and Theoretical Background

Week 1: The 1950s. Beckett and the Modernist “I”. Session on reflective journals

Unit 2: Racial Identity

Week 2: The 1960s. Jean Genet, Adrienne Kennedy

Unit 3: Towards Postmodernism

Week 3: The 1970s. Beckett and the Postmodernist “I”

Week 4: The 1980s. Heiner Muller

Unit 4: Postmodernism

Week 5: The 1980s/90s. Suzan Lori-Parks, Caryl Churchill, Anthony Neilson

Week 6 : Reading Week

Unit 5: Capitalist Identitities, Border/Transgressive Identities

Week 7: The 1990s and beyond. Mark Ravenhill, Sarah Kane. Please note that there will be screenings you will be expected to attend on both Tuesday and Thursday of this week from 5pm- 8pm

Week 8: The 1990s and beyond. First of two devising workshops on Tony Kushner's Angels in America

Week 9: The 1990s and beyond. Second devising workshop on Angels in America. Please note that there will be an additional session from 5-8 designed to allow students to show their work

Week 10: The 1990s and beyond. Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Orlan

Term Two: Practical and Independent Study

In order to develop their own performance project, students will be encouraged to develop their practical skills through reference to the theoretical materials from the 1st term. Students will attend tutorials consisting of project review and journal monitoring. The final element in the assessment process is the viva: a discussion of up to 30 minutes of the project, and the individual’s contribution to it, with the student and seminar tutor. Final grades are calculated from the various marks received for the performance, viva, and essay.

Week 1: Submission of assessed essay. Meetings with groups to finalise performance proposals

Week 2: Individual Monitoring

Week 3: Individual Monitoring

Week 4: Individual Monitoring

Week 5: Project Review. Each group’s performance to be discussed with the tutor

Week 6: Reading Week

Week 7: Individual Monitoring

Week 8: Further guidance

Week 9: Further guidance

Week 10: Final Project Review and guidance on performance videos, and conducting vivas

Term 3: Final Assessment

Week 1: Recorded performances. Vivas

Week 2: Submission of reflective journals

Illustrative Bibliography:


Beckett, Samuel. Collected Shorter Plays, Endgame.

Churchill, Caryl. Plays 2, The Skriker.

Genet, Jean. The Blacks: A Clown Show.

Gomez-Peña, Guillermo. The New World Border .

Kennedy, Adrienne. Adrienne Kennedy in One Act.

Lori-Parks, Suzan. The America Play and Other Works.

Müller, Heiner. Hamletmachine and Other Texts for the Stage.

Neilson, Anthony. "The Wonderful World of Dissocia" and "Realism".

Ravenhill, Mark. Shopping and Fucking.


Adorno,Theodor. “Trying to Understand Endgame.”

Butler, Judith. Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative.

Descartes, Rene. Meditations.

Kojève, Alexandre. Introduction to the Reading of Hegel.

Lacan Jacques. Écrits: A Selection.

Schneider, Rebecca. The Explicit Body in Performance.

Senghor, Leopold. The Foundations of Africanite, Negritude, and Arabite.


Allain, Paul, and Jen Harvie. The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance.

Boal, Augusto. Games for Actors and Non-actors.

Goldberg, RoseLee. Performance Art from Futurism to Present.

Schechner, Richard. Performance Theory.