World Drama [CRN 29389]

245:
Discipline: English
Instructor: Lewis
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1100
End: 1220
Field Work: Day 1 | January 24, 2018 | Japan
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

In this globally-focused course, students will gain an understanding of the dramaturgy of plays: dramatic storytelling, how plays are structured and work internally, and how playtexts are blueprints for live performance. We will do close readings of plays, learning how to read dramatic literature as a unique form of artistic expression, and study the process of transforming words on the page to performance on stage. And we will study plays as “texts” in their larger cultural “contexts,” asking how each play reflects – and affects – the culture from which it emerged.

We read dramatic literature from across the world, and across history, in order to gain insights into the cultures we will encounter on our Spring 2018 voyage, including ancient Greece, medieval Japan and China, India, South Africa, Ghana, Europe and the USA. Texts are paired, thematically, chronologically, or geographically, to emphasize both the distinctions between and the interconnectivity of world drama, to trace genealogies of influence, and to explore how dramatic themes travel across time and space and make meaning in different eras and places.

Field Work

Country: Japan
Day: 1
Date: January 24, 2018

Accompanied by an expert on kabuki, we will travel to Osaka-city, where we will visit the famous Osaka Shochikuza Theatre. We will attend a performance of Kabuki, including an English subtitling system. As is customary, a bento box dinner will be provided between the acts of the play. Students will learn about the conventions of this traditional Japanese performing art and then see them live in action on the stage, from stage design to period costuming, canonical scripts to spectacular theatrical conventions, musical support and actor fan culture. Post-shows reflections will explore the difference between a play on the page and it live on stage, how we read/experience live theatre and encounter culturally different performances, the impact of costume and makeup, and the effect of spectacular stagecraft practices to the unique cultural form of storytelling.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Experience Japanese kabuki theatre live and in-person
  2. Apply what we learn about kabuki tradition and conventions in class to live performance - from stage design to period costuming, canonical scripts to spectacular theatrical conventions, musical support and actor fan culture
  3. Learn how to read/experience live theatre and encounter culturally different performances
  4. Analyze how bodies read on stage, the impact of costume and makeup, and the effect of spectacular stagecraft practices.