Westmont TA 001 - Syllabus (5 pages)

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Syllabus



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Syllabus

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Pages:
5
School:
Westmont College
Course:
Ta 001 - Great Literature of the Stage
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Theatre Arts 1 Great Literature of the Stage Dr John Blondell Place and Time Phone 565 6778 E mail blondell westmont edu Office Hours TBA Overview of Course This course studies some of the masterpieces of the Western dramatic tradition covering a nearly 2 500 year period from the ancient Greeks to today Etymologically the term drama derives from the Greek term dran which means to do Today we understand Drama to be the literary component of a multi disciplinary art form that fuses literature the plastic arts and the art of acting in the time based art we know as theatre The term theatre also has an interesting etymology It derives from the term theatron which is where ancient Greeks sat to watch plays and is translated as seeing place The derivations of drama and theatre then illuminate many important characteristics of both terms and bear witness to the fundamental relationship between them Drama is a particular kind of literature one created for the stage where humans enact significant or sometimes frivolous stories for the enjoyment of other people Dramatic literature is meant to be seen to be incarnated in people speaking and behaving in three dimensional space through the sweep of time This intentional corporeality suggests the fundamental wholeness of the theatrical enterprise and the literature that comprises it The appeal of drama is to the whole person to aspects and concerns that run the gamut of human experience be they spiritual emotional psychological social physical and so forth One way to think about the fundamental corporeality of drama is to draw on the German critic Wolfgang Izer If fiction as he describes it is literature that lures the imaginary into being then I would suggest that drama is literature that lures being into the imaginary Dramatic literature is indeed fictional in that the stories and characters expressed on stage are products of the human imagination yet things on stage never fully give up their own self identities as things in this world Their being their fundamental concrete realness doesn t change Rather for the purposes of the fictions being spun out before us we keep this knowledge of the real at abeyance in a kind of willful forgetting that the great 19th century critic Samuel Taylor Coleridge calls the willing suspension of disbelief The concerns of this course are threefold We will explore drama as a kind of artistic representation that emerges from the tendencies and concerns of certain times and places Second we will explore drama as a carrier of meanings that have impact on many aspects of our humanity We will study how plays engage the world around us provide great pleasure and offer ways of understanding ourselves others and ultimately God Third we will explore the important conventions of dramatic representation in an effort to understand how things mean in the theatre The course is intended as an introduction to the literature of the stage and is meant to ignite a life long love affair with drama and the correlative arts with which it nests The heritage of Western Drama is rich and vast and includes great dramatic traditions from numerous countries and cultures We will focus on three the Classical tradition of the ancient Greeks Shakespeare and the French playwright Moliere the Modern tradition of Henrik Ibsen Anton Chekhov August Strindberg and George Bernard Shawl and the American tradition of Eugene O Neill Tennessee Williams Arthur Miller and August Wilson The plays selected present a great range of style and form of subject and theme of structure and genre Our study will be cultural in that we will explore the plays as expressions and products of cultural tendencies and concerns and aesthetic in that we will explore the formal components that make up the individual plays By semester s end it will be difficult to separate the purely cultural from purely aesthetic Rather we will see the complete interdependence on one and another and bear witness to the intricate relationship that exists between a culture and the artistic forms that emerge from it Ultimately our study is intended to explore how these plays can help deepen our faith and make us more discerning and sensitive Christian people Here are some specific goals for the course 1 To become conversant with some of the major masterpieces of Western Drama identify the forces that contributed to their shaping and understand their dominant thematic concerns and patterns of meaning 2 To identify the appropriate dramatic conventions dominant in a particular period and culture and show their relationship to the formal components of dramatic literature in an effort to display how plays manifest their meanings to people 3 To learn and use the appropriate vocabulary for the communication of ideas and concepts relative to the literature of the stage 4 To develop deeper awareness of God yourself and others through the literature of the stage Assignments and Readings The Classical Tradition M September 1 W September 3 F September 5 Introduction to the Course On Mimesis The Poetics Aristotle The Poetics continued M September 8 W September 10 F September 12 Introduction to Greek Tragedy Oedipus Rex Sophocles Oedipus Rex Sophocles M September 15 W September 17 F September 19 Introduction to Greek Comedy The Birds Aristophanes The Birds Aristophanes M September 22 W September 24 F September 26 Introduction to Shakespearean Tragedy Hamlet William Shakespeare Hamlet William Shakespeare M September 29 W October 1 F October 3 Hamlet William Shakespeare Introduction to Shakespearean Romance The Tempest William Shakespeare M October 6 W October 8 F October 10 The Tempest William Shakespeare Introduction to Shakespearean Romance A Midsummer Night s Dream William Shakespeare M October 13 W October 15 F October 17 No Class Fall Holiday A Midsummer Night s Dream William Shakespeare The Neoclassicism and the Drama M October 20 W October 22 F October 24 The Misanthrope Moliere The Misanthrope Moliere Exam M October 27 W October 29 F October 31 Introduction to Modern Drama Ghosts Henrik Ibsen Ghosts Henrik Ibsen M November 3 W November 5 F November 7 The Seagull Anton Chekhov The Seagull Anton Chekhov Miss Julie August Strindberg M November 10 W November 12 F November 14 Miss Julie August Strindberg Misalliance George Bernard Shaw Misalliance George Bernard Shaw M November 17 W November 19 F November 21 Exam Introduction to the American Dramatic Tradition The Hairy Ape Eugene O Neill M November 24 W


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