ENG 428 Netforum (please post by Wednesday 10 pm)
Professor: William McBride
I reserve the right to amend this syllabus.
Worthen, W.B. The Harcourt Brace Anthology of Drama. Third Edition.
Not I 
Pas Moi; subjectivity in language,
Sophocles. Oedipus Rex* [431 BC ?] ; intro drama, theater, and
Marlowe. Doctor Faustus*, medieval & renaissance england, exchangist logic
Shakespeare. Hamlet* , the slacker
Behn. The Rover* , early modern europe, lower bodily stratum
Wagner. Tristan und Isolde, love and death. The complete artwork, masochism, erotism
Doll House* , modern europe, naturalism, feminism
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf 
the couple, self-loathing
Death of a Salesman
dysfunction, critique of work
Baraka/Jones. Dutchman *; radical black consciousness
True West 
acting, identity, myth
Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes : Millennium Approaches*
doubling, gender interrogation
Drugs, & Rock ‘n Roll, performance, one-person show
Gambaro. Information for Foreigners*  postcoloniality
Ball, Alan. American Beauty. NewMarket Press, 1999. death of a salesman, drama & cinema
*These plays are
collected in the Harbrace anthology.
Some Secondary Criticism:
Brecht, Sidney, Bakhtin, Boose, Stallybrass, Dryden, Frye, Gay, Maus, Zola, Barthes, Artaud, Esslin, Jameson, Miller, Steiner, Williams, Gates, Diamond, Aristotle, Nietzsche, Case, Deleuze/Guattari
Description of Course
Does art provide instances of and stimuli for liberation or containment? We'll test the assumption that the theatrical spectacle has the potential to critique the larger spectacle of patriarchy, sexism/heterosexism, orthodox religion, racism, capitalism, militarism, and other politically correct concerns by reading the structure and effects, obsessions and pleasures, successes and failures of selected plays and critical theory. We will also examine both the performative manifestations of gender and the theatrical nature of propaganda-by-the-deed as expressed via street theater, demonstrations, and certain acts of terror. To these ends both "traditional" and "contestatory" texts are represented--categories we'll put into question as well. Consider ENG 428 as an immersion in the nature of drama in many of its forms ranging from classical Greek and Elizabethan tragedy, Restoration Comedy, Grand Opera, Realist/Naturalist, Avant-Garde, Modernist-Absurdist, Indian-Mythic, African-American, Feminist, Latin-American, Postmodern, Queer, and contemporary performance art to the history of film. We will begin with the religious and sacrificial origins of the theater using Aristotle and Kenneth Burke, stress the importance of what Beckett calls the "human meat," i.e., the physical body being there on stage as theater's sine qua non and move to critiques of Aristotle by Brecht, Miller, Case and others. We will attend two performances as a class, one "across campus" and the other in Chicago (round trip bus provided by the Dean of Arts & Sciences). Screenings of selected other plays will be scheduled/negotiated in class.
Seminar/discussion. Students will 1) post 500 word minimum weekly responses to readings/lectures/discussion via NetForum; 2) write an 8-10 page interpretive essay on one of the plays read in the first 7 weeks of the semester; 3) compose a mid-term examination comprised of short answer and essay; 4) direct and/or perform a brief "open scene;" 5) give a (twenty-minute maximum) presentation on either a play or critical text either in class or, schedule permitting, to my 285 class to be assigned the first week; and 6) write a 18-25 page publishable paper on drama and performance.
Three absences excused.
grade will be reduced 1/2 a letter grade for each additional absence.