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1 Proposal: number 93

93. DRAM 155: Theatrical Texts and Times

This is a new course

Contact:Barbara Waldinger
Authors:Barbara Waldinger
Charles Repole
Abstract:How do plays Тhold the mirror up to nature?У What do we learn about Тthe
very age and body of the timeУ by reading plays, learning about theatrical
practices and enacting scenes?

This course connects dramatic literature from various time periods with
the culture and beliefs of people who lived during those times.

Students will spend the first half of the semester reading and
analyzing plays written by Christopher Marlowe and several early plays of
William Shakespeare. Selections will include such comparisons as Richard II
and MarloweХs Edward II; ShakespeareХs Richard III and MarloweХs Dr.
Faustus; ShakespeareХs Merchant of Venice and MarloweХs The Jew of Malta,
and ShakespeareХs violent Titus Andronicus. During this half of the semester
students will have the opportunity to handle Elizabethan text by performing
monologues and scenes from the above plays.

The second half of the semester will familiarize the students with
Elizabethan society and the issues facing the playwrights who wrote during that
era. Using the Reacting to the Past pedagogy in a role-play situation designed
by Professor Eric Mallin, ( Marlowe and Shakespeare, 1592), the class will be
divided into three groups: The Lord StrangeХs Men (led by Richard Burbage), a
troupe that performs Shakespeare’s plays; The Lord AdmiralХs Men (led by
Edward Alleyn),known for performing Marlowe’s plays, and Queen ElizabethХs
Privy Council (historical figures who advise Her Majesty). Each student will
research and assume the role of a specific figure of the time. We will
set up a contest between the two troupes, who, by means of oral and written
arguments gleaned from a variety of primary and secondary documents, as well as
performances of key scenes, attempt to persuade the Privy Council to select
either The Jew of Malta or Titus Andronicus to be produced at HensloweХs Rose
Theatre in 1592.

Role-play is a theatrical technique used by many disciplines in order
to allow students to Тwalk a mile in the moccasinsУ of another being. In
their Renaissance roles, students will experience firsthand the dangerous
political atmosphere of the time, the difficulties faced by the playwrights in
skirting the censors, and the reception their work was given by ordinary
people as well as those in authority. They will learn about the class system
and find the place of their characters within it. Twenty-first century actors
will learn how unimportant they become in a society ruled by a powerful
monarch, one in which they need the protection of members of the nobility to
survive in their lowly profession. Through their reading of primary documents
(such as letters, royal proclamations, playbills, handbooks, treatises),
students will compare and contrast life in the Renaissance with their
contemporary points of view. They will need to filter their way of thinking
through the lens of the English Renaissance. In 1592 London, how do performers
and playwrights achieve success? How has this situation changed today both in
our country and abroad?

Submissions and Approvals

Course Date Requirement Action By Whom Notes
DRAM 155 2008-09-12 AP Submitted Dept
DRAM 155 2010-03-03 AP Approved GEAC
DRAM 155 2010-03-11 AP Approved UCC
DRAM 155 2010-04-08 AP Approved Senate