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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Scott Magelssen
DRAMA 494
Seattle Campus

Special Studies in Theatre and Drama

Topics in drama, history, and criticism. See Time Schedule for specific topic. Prerequisite: DRAMA 302.

Class description

Winter 2014: You Can’t Take it With You. Alison’s House. Our Town. Harvey. A Streetcar Named Desire. How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Fences. Glengarry Glen Ross. Angels in America. Rent. August: Osage County. Clybourne Park. What makes a Pulitzer a Pulitzer? In this course we will take a close look at the kinds of plays that rise to the top of the top when it comes to critical acclaim and success as dramatic literature. We’ll cover a representative sampling of Pulitzer-Prize winning dramas between the award’s inception in 1917 and the present. In addition to reading and discussing the plays, we’ll look at their production histories, reviews, and scholarly reception. Some important questions include: What do awards committees look for in a prize-winning drama? What does the Pulitzer do to a playwright’s career trajectory? How do issues of agency, access, power, and production come into play in order to enable some plays to win over others? What kinds of themes or issues do Pulitzer-winning plays take on, and how has this changed over the last century?

---------------------------------- Autumn 2013: A theme park puts on a live slave auction even as Civil Rights activists occupy the stage. A Kansas community relives a Confederate raid on their town, all on Twitter. YouTube invites us to “Ask a Slave” questions about her work on George Washington’s plantation (and puts haters in their place). A resort in Mexico offers tourists a vacation package including the chance to play illegal migrant workers trying to sneak across the border into the U.S.

Museums, Renaissance Festivals, CosPlay, battle reenactments, social media. How do these performances remember, make sense of, re-do history? In this class we’ll take on these questions, and make some performances of our own.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Field Trips! In class videos! Performance Projects! Discussion!

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Susan L Bruns
Date: 01/30/2014