ENGL 244 A: Reading Drama

Meeting Time: 
TTh 12:30pm - 2:20pm
THO 135
John Webster Washington
John Webster

Syllabus Description:

Instructor: John Webster      cicero@uw.edu 

Schedule:  TTH  12:30 - 2:20  THO  135


What’s more fun than the movies?  That’s easy:  watching live theater.  You may not believe that, but I shall try to convince you anyway.  Theater, like the movies, is multidimensional.  It has story, visual movement, sound, music, special effects, props—and it also has what movies don’t have:  real live people on stage.  That makes a big difference both because there is always the risk of something going wrong (OMG!!) [I actually saw Judi Dench, one of the most accomplished and world famous of actresses on stage or in films, mess up big time—the audience gasped, but she just dealt with her error with grace and confidence and bingo!! the play was even better after that than any movie could ever be!], and, more importantly, the viewing of something in real time is simply hugely different in terms of the kind of involvement a theatre audience can develop with the actors on stage.  Even when you are ten rows or even twenty rows back—you are watching real people doing real things.  And that means that they are actually different every night.  The actors play to you, of course, but indirectly you play to them, too. (I know--sounds wacky, but it's true!) 

Or, as I say, I’ll at least be trying to convince you.  We will also see what we can do about live theatre—both here on campus where seats are cheap and perhaps at one of the smaller theatres in Seattle.  We’ll also be reading scripts and viewing film versions of the plays we look at—it will depend a good deal on how many students we actually end up with. 

We’ll read a half dozen plays—some of them the big famous ones (but NOT Hamlet!), see film versions of at least three, and introduce you to the craft of acting (not to worry—nothing embarrassing!).  We’ll even prepare you to apply to take part in the English Department’s fabulous Spring or Summer quarter in London—the world capital of English Theatre!  The texts will be cheap so that I can ask you to buy reduced price tickets to at least one performance on campus (very cheap) and (if possible) another elsewhere in Seattle. 

Catalog Description: 
Critical interpretation and meaning in plays, representing a variety of types and periods.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 10:30pm