Drama represents human experience and conflict in a concise form. Like modern films, plays ask us to make sense of characters and events in a relatively short period of time. Unlike films and literature, the theater offers an ephemeral experience. Once a performance ends, certain aspects of it cannot be replicated or recovered. Thus, reading plays differs in important ways from reading novels or watching films. This class explores the unique artform of drama by examining some of the most significant dramatic works of the Western tradition. We consider the theatrical conventions of different historical periods and analyze some of the different possibilities for staging and performing certain scenes.

As a form of popular entertainment, Renaissance drama had to appeal to diverse audiences. How were people from various backgrounds represented on stage? Did women really never perform in plays until 1660? How did English drama portray Catholics, Protestants, and Muslims? In this course, we will consider these questions and more while reading outstanding plays such as Tamburlaine, The Malcontent, and The Duchess of Malfi.

For a complete list of courses I have taught, please see my CV here.