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. Is this the case around the world? What happens to theatre over time? What can we know of prehistoric practices, let alone ancient or medieval. What of performance remains? And, is theatre itself a time machine? We will ask the essential question: Why learn about theatre history and historical theatricality? And what do dance, music, visual art and architecture have to do with what we will be studying this semester?
Section 1: Orienting Questions to "Prehistory" and "Origins"
Tues. Sept. 12: What is Performance?
Suzan-Lori Parks, The America Play and short remarks by Parks on her style
Also, a brief essay by Shonni Enelow on contemporary film acting styles
Recommended: two essays from American Theatre magazine
Thurs. Sept. 14: Performance in/as Culture: The Cockfight
Clifford Geertz, selection from The Interpretation of Cultures
John Emigh, selection from The Cambridge Companion to Performance Studies
Tues. Sept. 19: Counter-Mimicry, or Performance Across Cultures
Wole Soyinka, Death and the King’s Horseman
Eugenio Barba, Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology
Watch: The Werner Herzog film Cave of Forgotten Dreams through OCRA
An outmoded 1959 theatre history textbook Living Theatre, selection
Selection from John Emigh Masked Performance
Chief Robert Joseph, "Behind the Mask," Down from the Shimmering Sky
Karl Marx, "The Secret of Commodities"
GROUP ONE TO PERFORM
Section 2: The Ancient Mediterranean
Thurs. Oct. 5: Ancient Mediterranean Africa
The Triumph of Horus
Jan Assmann, Death and Salvation in Ancient Egypt, selection
Guest visit by Kenneth Molloy
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. 17: Plato and Aristotle on Mimesis
Plato, The Republic: Books 7 and 10.
Plato, Ion (excerpt on OCRA)
Aristotle, The Poetics of Aristotle
Wiles, chapter 5.
GROUP FOUR TO PERFORM
A. M. Nagler, Sourcebook in Theatrical History
Plautus, The Captives
Thurs, Oct. 26: MIDTERM EXAM
Midterm study sheet now posted!!
Section 3: South Asia
Reread Natyasastra from the last class.
Suresh Awasthi, “The Temple as Theatre”
Phillip B. Zarrilli, Kathakali: Dance-Drama
Tues. Nov. 7: Kalidasa's Sakuntala
Barbara Stoler Miller, Theater of Memory, selection
Section 4: Africa
Kole Omotoso, "Concepts of History and Theatre in Africa"
Wole Soyinka, "The Fourth Stage" in Art, Dialogue, and Outrage.
Margaret Thompson Drewal, Yoruba Ritual, selection
Malidoma Patrice Some, Ritual: Power, Healing, Community, selection.
N'gugi wa Thiongo, "Enactments of Power: The Politics of Performance Space."
David Kerr, African Popular Theatre, selection
Visit from Professor Jasmine Johnson
Read: Doris Green, "Traditional Dance in Africa"
GROUP SIX TO PERFORM (Group six also asks that you watch this video before class)
Section 5: Medieval Europe and the "New" World
Saint Augustine and Tertullian
Quem Quertis and Hrosvit
Andrew Sofer, The Stage Life of Props
The Farce of the Fart
Mikail Bahktin, "On Popular Festive Forms"in Rabelais and His World
Final paper option proposal due.
Thurs. Nov. 30: 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. 5: Old World New World "Visions"
Recommended: Dancing on Our Turtle's Back, by Leanne Simpson
Grads, "This Thing of Darkness I Acknowledge Mine"