Why do humans (and others) "perform"? What are theatres? And how do/should/can we limit the terrain of the "theatrical" in relationship to something that might be termed "reality"? Is "theatre theory" a redundancy? The English word “theory” comes from the Greek “theoria,” meaning contemplation, speculation, or sight. It is related to the word “theatron,” or place for viewing – the theater. Theater and theory are kin, and as ancient tragedy teaches us, where there is kin there is friction (and where there is friction there is creative energy). This class is for the thinking actor and the acting thinker. Many times such folks are playwrights, directors, actors, historians, comedians, tragedians, lawyers, politicians, teachers, poets, choreographers, doctors, dancers, shamans, cooks, vagabonds, mimes ...
Section 1: Performance Theory
Tues. Sept. 13: What is Performance?
Richard Schechner, selection from Performance Studies: An Introduction
A little Karl Marx and Maurya Wickstrom on the Lion King
Thurs. Sept. 15: Play, Ritual, Theatre
Schechner, Performance Studies, chapters "Ritual" and "Play"
Tues. Sept. 20: Performance as/in Culture: The Cockfight
Clifford Geertz, selection from The Interpretation of Cultures
John Emigh, selection from The Cambridge Companion to Performance Studies
Thurs. Sept. 22: Counter-Mimicry, or Performance Across Cultures
Wole Soyinka, Death and the King’s Horseman
Tues. Sept. 27: Performance and Social Memory 1
Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember, pages 1-40
Thurs. Sept. 29: Performance and Social Memory 2
Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember, pages 41-104
GROUP ONE TO PERFORM
Tues. Oct. 4: Intro to Theatre Anthropology, Performance Archaeology
Eugenio Barba, Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology, selections
Suzan-Lori Parks The America Play, and the musical Hamilton
GROUP TWO TO PERFORM
Section 2: Prehistoric to Ancient
Tues. Oct. 11: Prehistory, Performance, and “Origin Rituals”
The Herzog film Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a forgotten 1959 theatre textbook,
Thurs. Oct. 13: Ancient Africa/Ancient Mediterranean
Ronald J. Leprohon, "Ritual Drama in Ancient Egypt."
Inge Nielsen, Cultic Theatre and Ritual Drama
The Triumph of Horus
Tues. Oct. 18: The Theatre of Dionysus
Euripides, The Bakkhai
David Wiles, Greek Theater Performance, chapters 1 and 2.
(Be sure to note the assignment )
Wiles, chapters 3 and 4, and Sue-Ellen Case on "Classic Drag"
GROUP THREE TO PERFORM
Tues. Oct. 25: Plato and Aristotle on Mimesis
Plato, The Republic: Books 7 and 10.
Aristotle, The Poetics of Aristotle
Wiles, chapter 5.
Thurs. Oct. 27: Multiple Medeas
A. M. Nagler, Sourcebook in Theatrical History
Odai Johnson, "Unspeakable Histories: Terror, Spectacle, and Genocidal Memory"
Plautus comedy, The Captives
Saint Augustine and Tertullian
Quem Quertis and Hrosvit
Andrew Sofer, The Stage Life of Props
Section 3: India and Africa
Barbara Stoler Miller, Theater of Memory
Tues. Nov. 15: Traditional Theatre of Kerala
Reread Natyasastra from October 13.
Also selections from Knowledge Tradition Text: Approaches to Bharata’s Natyasastra
GROUP FOUR TO PERFORM
Thurs. Nov. 17: Theatrical Legacies of Pre-Colonial Africa 1
Margaret Thompson Drewal, Yoruba Ritual
Wole Soyinka, "The Fourth Stage"
Guenther, Trickers and Trancers
Section 4: Medieval Europe and the "New" World
A Christmas Mumming, The Play of St. George
Mikail Bahktin, "On Popular Festive Forms"in Rabelais and His World
Thurs. Dec. 1: Corpus Christi and the Inka
Carolyn Dean, Inka Bodies and the Body of Christ
Moltolina, History of the Indians of New Spain
Grads: Leo Cabranes Grant, "From Scenarios to Networks"
GROUP SIX TO PERFORM
Tues. Dec. 6: Old World New World "Visions"
Grads, "This Thing of Darkness I Acknowledge Mine"