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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Michael D Willett
ENGL 244
Seattle Campus

Reading Drama

Critical interpretation and meaning in plays, representing a variety of types and periods.

Class description

During the quarter, we will learn to feel the forms of genre: how the mechanics of play-making inform or disinvite performance; we will learn the craft of literary exegesis as practiced on slippery productions that involve a whole host of human concern: what is a play to the sound designer?, and how do we talk about that? We will also gain familiarity with the various periods and places from which our texts spring: for Sophocles, a play is a different sort of instrument than it is for August Wilson; but not so different as to be unrecognizable in ambition. Finally, we'll practice registering our responses in written form to drama wherever it plays out, in both live/"real" and impossible theaters.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

In this course, we will seek to expand our notions of what constitutes a play, what constitutes "play," and how we can tell the difference through reading a range of playwrights across 2000 years of theatrical history and several languages and continents. What's more, we'll begin to stage our own responses (performances of a kind as well) to these texts in light of the critical traditions that inform them, and to inhabit the various attendant roles, reading from actoral, directorial, and literary-poetic positions.

Expect to attend performances, to stage scenes, to hear and to give research presentations, and to engage your fellows both inside and outside class in a continual dialogue: interpersonal, academic, theoretical, real.

Recommended preparation

See all the plays you can between now and then. This is a good city; they abound. Especially recommended are productions by New Century Theater, Book-it Reperatory Theatre, Washington Ensemble Theater, The Balagan, and anything you find on campus.

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.
Additional Information
Last Update by Michael D Willett
Date: 02/21/2013