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How does historical, cultural, and dramatic context inform the earliest instances of performance—and a world newly opened by the pleasures and perils of modernity? How does the stage negotiate the relationship between religious ritual, civic spectacle, cultural discourse, and entertainment? A study of the development of drama from its ritual beginning, through its professionalization in the 16th century, to its annihilation in the 21st, this course introduces students to the paths that the dramatic arts have taken over the centuries and across various cultures. Because we will be focusing on the plays themselves as well as their material contexts, including theatrical and cultural conditions of performance, attendance at at least two live theatrical performances is required. This course will pay special attention to themes and practices of gender on both page and stage.

Syllabus

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