Drama 2: From Stage to Screen

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Drama 2: From Stage to Screen
Writing Course
Course CodeDRM2
Year Of Operation1999
Sites OfferedBTH, FRD
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Course Description

From the CTY Course Catalog (1999):

Shakespeare wrote "the play's the thing," but would he say about films? Do the technical advantages of editing, retakes, and filming on location add breadth and depth to a playwright's work, or do they mar the spontaneous, three-dimensional group experience playwrights intend when they write works for live theater? This course tracks the transition of plays from the stage to the screen.

In this class students explore written and filmed drama by studying screen adaptations of numerous plays. They begin by reading plays, discovering through analytical writing exercises both what the playwright tries to convey in his or her work and what would be the most effective means for getting the point across to an audience. Students then examine scenes from film adaptations of plays, exploring how camera angles, close-ups, lighting, deletion of certain scenes, and musical score affect or alter meaning. How, for example, does their own interpretation of the staging of A Streetcar Named Desire compare to Elia Kazan's film version? Students also view different film versions of the same play, comparing how different generations and changes in film techniques have shaped and reshaped the drama. They could, for example, take an in-depth look at the updated versions of Romeo and Juliet found in both West Side Story and the recent movie William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. This course has a heavy reading and writing component; students are asked not only to focus on the creativity of a play or film, but also to write critical responses and interpretations in journal exercises and formal essays.