ENGLISH 346 - Drama and Performance Studies
Fall 2022, Section 001 - Modern Drama in Transition, Ibsen to Beckett
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:


How has the canon of western European drama changed in the hands of theatrical practitioners in an age of revision and reinterpretation?  Figures like Ibsen and Chekhov retain their status as foundational figures, though their pivotal works have been reimagined in surprising ways by companies like Mabou Mines (Dollhouse) and playwrights like Lucas Hnath (A Doll’s House, Part 2), Aaron Posner (Stupid Fucking Bird) and Christopher Durang (Vanya and Sonia and Marsha and Spike), among others. 

This course is designed to introduce students to the major works of Brecht, Beckett, Strindberg, Pirandello, Wilde and Shaw in addition to Ibsen and Chekhov, but as it does so it considers such issues as the canon’s resistance to change, the representation of the female figure on stage, the privileged position of white male voices, the championing of progressive social and political issues, the transition to film and other video resources, and the creative role today’s world theater plays in establishing a new theatrical idiom for the contemporary stage.  No previous knowledge of drama or experience in theater is required as a prerequisite for this course.  What is required is determination and intellectual curiosity.


Required Reading

Ibsen, A Doll’s House; Ghosts; An Enemy of the People; Hedda Gabler; The Master Builder

Strindberg, Miss Julie; The Dance of Death

Chekhov, The Seagull; Uncle Vanya; Three Sisters; The Cherry Orchard

Shaw, Mrs. Warren’s Profession

Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

Pirandello, Six Characters in Search of an Author

Brecht, Mother Courage; Galileo; The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

Beckett, Waiting for Godot; Endgame


Selected Additional Reading

A Doll’s House, Part 2; Vanya and Sonia and Marsha and Spike; Stupid Fucking Bird; Play Strindberg (Durrenmatt); Pass Over (Nwandu); Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Stoppard).  

Course Requirements:

Biweekly response papers; a midterm paper; final term project. Students are also required, outside of class sessions, to see videos of selected productions of several of the plays listed above.


ENGLISH 346 - Drama and Performance Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
 In Person
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM

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