This course will examine how the cultures of the Mediterranean have expressed themselves through performance, specifically in the live theatrical event, and in the cinema. We will discuss the tradition of these performances in the cultures we encounter on the voyage, and seek to understand the impact of the North African and Middle Eastern on the European as well as the reverse. We will study the beginnings of theatre in the ancient Egyptian culture, its manifestation in the historical theatre practices of Greece and Rome, and the impact of these cultures on the entire region through conquest. Islam, which came into being during the Middle Ages, will be considered as well: the spread of this religion with its consequent influence on the performance history of the region, and the encounter of these “foreign” ideas with the fabric of Western European thought. The Renaissance, with its origins in the Mediterranean region, will also be surveyed because its ideological bases were to find reflection in the dramatic literature of all of Europe and its colonies. We will also investigate the development of indigenous performance traditions throughout the region, as well as the contemporary expression of these various societies in film. Two papers, and readings will be required, but the majority of class time will be given to lecture/discussion, and to the viewing/discussion of selected movies. Observational assignments will be made for every port of call on the voyage.
Field WorkCountry: Greece
Students will visit the Theatre of Dionysus in the shadow of the Parthenon in Athens, and by observing the space from both the performer’s and the audience’s perspectives seek to re-create imaginatively the experience of the ancient Greek theatre as experienced by its first audiences.