Shakespeare in Performance

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Shakespeare in Performance
Writing Course
Course CodeSHEP
Years Of Operation2006-2007
Sites OfferedSCZ
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Course Description

From the CTY Course Catalog (2006):

Shakespeare's plays are some of the most enduring, influential texts in literature, yet Shakespeare never published a word of them. For him, drama was a "rough magic," an imprecise, dynamic art that wrestled with complex Renaissance cultural norms. In this writing course, students examine two plays through the lens of performance in order to understand how Shakespeare's art comes alive in its natural habitat: the theater.

Drawing from experiences in the classroom and fieldwork in the theater, students write four critical essays that focus on the rich interplay between performance, text, and history. How, for example, is the meaning of the thunderstorm in King Lear altered by innovations in seventeenth-century staging? Should the fact that boys played the female characters in Shakespeare's time influence the way a contemporary actress plays Rosalind, who disguises herself as a man in As You Like It?

Students engage in close readings, discussions, lectures, and critical writing workshops, all closely intertwined with a broad range of performance contexts, including staging and acting exercises, film analysis, and presentations on Elizabethan theaters. Students also attend productions of the two plays from the course staged by professional actors at Shakespeare Santa Cruz. There, students will have the opportunity to observe rehearsals and backstage operations, interview performers and stage managers, and attend guest workshops.