21L.486 | Spring 2006 | Undergraduate

Modern Drama


After a table summarizing the works covered in each lecture session, this page presents complete lists of required texts, outside plays, films, and additional readings.

1 Introduction and Overview  
2 Shaw’s Pygmalion and the Drama of Language Pygmalion
3 Pygmalion from Page to Screen My Fair Lady
4 Pygmalion, My Fair Lady, and the Musical Drama  
5 Pirandello’s Henry IV and Psychological Relativity  
6 Brecht, Mother Courage and Her Children  
7 Brechtian Politics and Dramaturgy, continued  
8 Beckett, Happy Days Betrayal
9 Beckett, Pinter, and Domestic Absurdism  
10 Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire A Streetcar Named Desire
11 Streetcar, Poetic Realism, and the Method  
12 Hwang, M. Butterfly M. Butterfly
13 Wilson, The Piano Lesson  
14 Williams, Hwang, Wilson: American Dreams  
15 Soyinka, Kongi’s Harvest  
16 Smith, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 Twilight: Los Angeles
17 Twilight Reflections, and Kushner, Angels in America, Part 1  
18 Kushner, Angels in America, Parts 1 and 2  
19 Angels Reflections  
20 Frayn, Copenhagen, Streetcar  
21 Stoppard, Hapgood  
22 Stoppard  
23 Churchill, A Number  
24 Conclusions  

Required Texts

Shaw, George Bernard. George Bernard Shaw’s Plays. Edited by Sandie Byrne. New York, NY: Norton, 2002. ISBN: 0393977536.

Pirandello, Luigi. Pirandello’s Henry IV. Translated by Tom Stoppard. New York, NY: Grove Press, 2005. ISBN: 0802141943.

Brecht, Bertolt. Mother Courage and her Children. New York, NY: Grove/Atlantic, 1987. ISBN: 0802130828.

Beckett, Samuel. Happy Days. New York, NY: Grove/Atlantic, 1987. ISBN: 0802130763.

Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire. New York, NY: New Directions, 1980. ISBN: 081120765X.

Hwang, David Henry. M. Butterfly. New York, NY: Plume, 1993. ISBN: 0452272599.

Soyinka, Wole. Collected Plays 2. New York, NY: Oxford, 1975. ISBN: 0192811649.

Wilson, August. The Piano Lesson. New York, NY: Plume, 1990. ISBN: 0452265347.

Smith, Anna Deveare. Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992. New York, NY: Anchor, 1994. ISBN: 0385473761.

Kushner, Tony. Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches. New York, NY: Theatre Communications Group, 1993. ISBN: 1559360615.

———. Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika. New York, NY: Theatre Communications Group, 1993. ISBN: 1559360739.

Stoppard, Tom. Plays 5. New York, NY: Faber & Faber, 2000. ISBN: 0571197515.

Frayn, Michael. Copenhagen. New York, NY: Anchor, 2000. ISBN: 0385720793.

Churchill, Caryl. A Number. New York, NY: Theatre Communications Group, 2003. ISBN: 1559362251.

Outside Play List

Shaw, George Bernard. Heartbreak House. Man and Superman.

Synge, John Millington. The Playboy of the Western World.

O’Casey, Sean. The Plough and the Stars.

O’Neill, Eugene. Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

Frisch, Max. Biedermann and the Firebugs.

Garcia Lorca, Federico. The House of Bernarda Alba.

Coward, Noel. Private Lives.

Brecht, Bertolt. Galileo.

Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. After the Fall.

Williams, Tennessee. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The Rose Tattoo.

Ionesco, Eugene. Rhinoceros. The Lesson.

Pinter, Harold. The Homecoming.

Orton, Joe. Entertaining Mr. Sloane.

Albee, Edward. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Soyinka, Wole. Death and the King’s Horseman.

Fugard, Athol, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona. The Island.

Fornes, Maria Irene. Fefu and her Friends.

Dorfman, Ariel. Death and the Maiden.

Puig, Manuel. The Kiss of the Spider Woman.

Shange, Ntozake. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.

Wilson, August. Fences. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Mamet, David. Glengarry Glen Ross.

Shepherd, Sam. True West.

Friel, Brian. Translations.

Barker, Howard. Scenes from an Execution.

Churchill, Caryl. Blue Heart.

Sondheim. Sweeney Todd. Sunday in the Park with George.

Vogel, Paula. How I Learned to Drive.

Parks, Suzan-Lori. Top Dog/Underdog.

Kushner, Tony. Homebody/Kabul.


Asquith, Anthony and Leslie Howard. Pygmalion. 1938.

Cukor, George. My Fair Lady. 1964.

Jones, David Hugh. Betrayal. 1983.

Kazan, Elia. A Streetcar Named Desire. 1951.

Cronenberg, David. M. Butterfly. 1993.

Levin, Marc. Twilight: Los Angeles. 2000.

Nichols, Mike. Angels in America. 2003. (Optional viewing.)

Additional Readings

Wothern, William B. “Approaching the Epic Theatre” and “Casebook on Brecht.” Modern Drama: Plays, Criticism, Theory. San Diego, CA: Harcourt, 1995, pp. 736-737 and 392-420. ISBN: 015501191X.

Marx, Karl. “Alienation and Social Classes,” “Theses on Feuerbach,” and “Historical Tendency of Capitalist Accumulation.” The Marx-Engels Reader. Edited by Robert C. Tucker. New York, NY: W. W. Norton, 1972, pp. 104-109 and 316-318.

Brecht, Bertolt. “Short Description of a New Technique of Acting Which Produces an Alienation Effect.” In The Twentieth-Century Performance Reader. Edited by Michael Huxley and Noel Witts. New York, NY: Routledge, 1996. ISBN: 0415116287.

Miller, Arthur. “On Broadway: Notes on the Past and Future of American Theater.” Harper’s Magazine, March 1999.

The Piano Lesson: A Charles Family Tree (PDF)

Lahr, John. “Been Here and Gone: How August Wilson Brought a Century of Black American Culture to the Stage.” The New Yorker, April 16, 2001, 50-65.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2006
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments with Examples