|Group Work, Attendance, Discussion, Leadership, and Active Participation||30%|
Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 2 hours / session
Forty years after Macbeth first entertained King James with a "happy ending" that included the usurper's head being paraded around the stage on a pike, the Parliament of England sanctioned the public beheading of James' son King Charles I - having earlier closed the public theaters. What happened to Shakespeare and other staples of the Renaissance dramatic repertory during the English Civil War and the subsequent theatrical "time of silence"? What had people been "seeing" at the theater and how did it confirm or threaten political, religious, and social authorities? And finally, how did theatrical energies and ways of seeing connect with or diverge from the emergent practice of experimental science that resulted in the founding of The Royal Society, once the monarchy was "restored" in 1660 and the theaters (forever transformed) reopened? How have we, like drama and science, changed since then?
We will explore the place of drama in a world turned upside down, with special attention to the "theatricality" of the new models and perspectives afforded by scientific experimentation. This subject itself is a creative experiment in learning. Working in collaboration as 21L.703 (Studies in Drama) and 21M.714 (Selected Topics in Theater Arts), we will expand our understanding of drama through workshops, theatrical experimentation, reading, and research, drawing on a wide array of texts and sources from both the seventeenth century and our own time. In order to understand the impact and fate of plays by Shakespeare, Ford, Shirley, and Brome, we will look at selections from philosophy (Hobbes, Descartes), literature (Milton, Marvell, Pepsys), science (Hooke, Crooke) and the visual arts (Jones, Van Dyke), as well as the insights of modern historians, scholars, and artists. Working with visitors from the world of contemporary theater, the class will culminate in the development of materials for an original play based on these themes, which we hope will be produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as by students at MIT.
In addition to our group participation in developing theatrical material, here is my set of five "super-objectives" for you as a student:
We use the word "read" in a variety of ways, and we will be practicing a variety of reading methods in this subject. You will be skimming, dipping into, appreciating and on occasion thoroughly dissecting diverse genres of written texts.
Here's what I say to first-time students of drama about reading scripts written for performance:
This breaks the process of reading into three parts, which might be likened to consumption, meditation through analysis, and meditation through personal reflection. Once you get comfortable and even adept at analyzing dramatic texts, you might be able to juggle all three, but usually the process requires re-reading (at least once).
Through the MIT libraries, you can find several useful tools to help you pursue your research. Among them: the OED (Oxford English Dictionary), the standard for historical study of words; the MLA (Modern Language Association) bibliography, with links to scholarly articles and books we own as well as many more available though Interlibrary Loan; and EEBO (Early English Books Online), a remarkable resource claiming to include scanned copies of all books printed in England before the Restoration.
This subject requires that you be willing to try to think deeply, pursue research independently, write cogently, play constructively, and contribute creatively to group projects. Because this is an advanced seminar, I am presuming you bring to the table some background in literature, history, and/or drama. I also presume you bring a passion for (some kinds of) learning and will actively work to make this subject fit your passions.
As a Literature seminar, with CI-M credit for majors, this subject emphasizes oral and written communication. As a theatrical experiment, the form of this communication may vary from the standard paper model, but I would like you to write at least one "formal" analytic essay during the semester. You may write both your 5-page and 10-page essays in standard analytic form. I would recommend this discipline if:
If, on the other hand, you wish to work on a project of a different sort that fits our subject, such as a multimedia essay, a research site, a theatrical experiment, and/or some other model of lasting communication, you are welcome to do so, in consultation with me.
In addition, I ask that you take stock of your skills and accomplishments at three points in the semester: the first and last will be written down, the middle will be conveyed to me through individual conferences during the two weeks after spring break. These are not graded work, but they should help me assess your contribution and learning throughout the semester.
|Group Work, Attendance, Discussion, Leadership, and Active Participation||30%|
You can't put on a play if the actors don't show up. You can't pass this class if you aren't here to participate in discussions, group work, and performances. It's that kind of class.
Written work should be typed or word-processed (double-spaced, with standard margins and font sizes).
Plagiarism - use of another's intellectual work without acknowledgement - is a serious offense. It is the policy of the Literature Faculty that students who plagiarize will receive an F in the subject, and that the instructor will forward the case to the Committee on Discipline. Full acknowledgement for all information obtained from sources outside the classroom must be clearly stated in all written work submitted. All ideas, arguments, and direct phrasings taken from someone else's work must be identified and properly footnoted. Quotations from other sources must be clearly marked as distinct from the student's own work. For further guidance on the proper forms of attribution consult the style guides available in the Writing and Communication Center in Stata and the MIT Web site on Plagiarism.
You cannot participate well if you are asleep, nearly asleep, or woozy with illness or exhaustion. Please take care of yourself - which obviously includes your body. Bring (unobtrusive) food and drink to class if this is helpful.
In addition to welcoming your participation in class, I encourage you to discuss your ideas and your writing with me during office hours, or at other times convenient for us both. I hope to meet with each of you individually during the first half of the semester.
|1||Introduction - To an Experiment and a Century
Objectives: To provide some basic grounding in the historical period, to establish the parameters of this subject, and to adapt our plan to fit the interests of our student participants.
|2||Discussion of Brecht's Galileo
Objectives: To examine one twentieth-century playwright's artistic practice, to establish our abilities and approaches as readers of drama, and to consider the reasons for writing historical drama set in the seventeenth century.
|3||Galileo in Historical Perspective: Developing Questions|
|4||Discussion of King Lear|
|5||The Changes Across a Century: The Example of Tate's King Lear|
|6||Discussion with Historian of Science Arne Hessenbruch|
|7||John Ford's The Broken Heart
Optional Event: Literature presentation by playwright Max Hafler: "Faustus: Adapting and Directing the Elizabethan Bad Boy, Christopher Marlowe."
|9||Discussion of Brome's The Antipodes and Caroline Theater|
|10||Discussion of Shirley's The Cardinal|
|11||Visit from Prof. Mary Campbell, Poet and Author of Wonder and Science|
|12||Visit from Prof. Ellen Harris on Davenant and Music|
|13||Prof. Sonenberg's Solo Day|
|14||The Civil War, in History and Art|
|15||Churchill's Light Shining in Buckinghamshire|
|16||Poetry, Language, Wit|
|17||Discussion of Two Versions of Hydriotaphia|
|18-19||Experiments, Round One|
|20||Reports and Discussion|
|21-22||Reports and Break-outs|
|23-24||That Which Needs Doing|
|25-26||Experiments, Round Two|