THEA 0810, University of Pittsburgh, “Introduction to Dramatic Art”
This class builds students’ skills in interpreting and understanding dramatic texts from a variety of time periods and cultural backgrounds. We begin by critiquing the structural composition of plays, and then build on this style of formalist analysis by considering more intuitive and affective responses to drama, historiographic and cultural interpretations, socio-political readings, and also the ways in which a consideration of performance style and aesthetic impacts one’s understanding of how a script functions. We read Greek tragedies, Noh drama, African radio plays, Iranian political theatre, Argentinian immersive performance, contemporary work that articulates intersectional identity, and more, exploring the diverse ways in which theatre can speak to audiences and its society. Throughout the semester, there is a particular focus on the representation of women throughout theatre history, as characters, actors, playwrights, and directors. For the final project, students put their analytical tools into practice, working together as a group to visualize a way of staging a play that speaks to (or intervenes within) its themes.