ENGL 344 A: Studies in Drama

Meeting Time: 
MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm
SMI 305
William Streitberger

Syllabus Description:

English 344A: Tragicomedy  -  Fall 2019,  
Instructor: W.R.Streitberger       

Meeting Time:  MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm  I  Location:  SMI 305

‘The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh.’ (Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot)

While comic treatment of potentially tragic experience is as old as Euripides’ ironic tragedies with comic endings, tragicomedy has predominated mainly in two periods--the Renaissance and the modern era. The theoretical conceptions and critical concerns common to both periods are similar: that tragicomedy is a quintessentially ‘modern’ genre, that it is more true to life than either tragedy or comedy, that the relationship between the comic and tragic must not be haphazard but rather the one should modify the other to bring a meaningful mixture of responses from the audience, and that success in this genre is difficult to achieve. This is a production focused investigation of tragicomedy in drama and film. We will read a number of significant plays and key theoretical statements in our investigations of the development of the genre.  

Play Texts (at the Bookstore):                                                                                                          William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, (if you own them, use them) 

Henrik Ibsen, The Wild Duck                                                                                                                Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard                                                                                            Luigi Pirandello, Six Characters in Search of an Author                              

Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

Harold Pinter, The Caretaker                                                                                                                Simon Gray, Butley        

David Mamet, Oleanna                                                                                                                        

Films:                                                                                                                                                              Joel and Ethan Coen, dirs., Fargo

Alejandro Inarritu, dir., Birdman, or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance 

Catalog Description: 
Explores the workings and historical development of theatrical practices, including performance and spectatorship more broadly. Possible topics include genres of drama (tragedy, mystery play, melodrama, agitprop); histories of drama (Elizabethan theater, Theater of the Absurd, the Mbari Mbayo club, In-Your-Face Theater; and theorists of performance and dramaturgy.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 11:00pm