Spring 2022

21L.486 Modern Drama: Gender and Performance Diana Henderson TR 11:00-12:30p 14N-325

Prereq: One subject in Literature
3-0-9 HASS-A
Topics: Improves Close Reading, Improves Oral Communication, Includes Critical Theory, Includes Hands-on Projects or Making, Involves Creative Writing, Thinks about Gender or Sexuality, Thinks about Race or Class, Thinks about Social Justice Issues, Works with Visual Materials/Film/Media

Words fail.

—Samuel Beckett

What does it mean to stage a play in a world where talk is cheap but also incendiary, where screens have come to dominate our lives and we are deluged with multimedia entertainments? Is “liveness” still special, and if so, what does that mean? At a time when gender has become newly fluid and its performativity both a given and a source of political conflict, how does theater imagine the gendered world differently? How do race and class factor into gender’s meanings? We will consider the reasons playwrights still write drama, attending to the different possibilities that theater affords those whose voices are ignored or marginalized; those who want to challenge the dominant culture; and those who delight in the legacies of literary drama, community rituals, and language as an essential part of performed storytelling. Playwrights will include Caryl Churchill, Tony Kushner, Tom Stoppard, Suzan-Lori Parks and—of course—the master of failure, Samuel Beckett. And you. First and foremost, we will be considering and experiencing modern drama as performance art, technologies and embodiment…and, for lack of a better word, gender.