THEA 245
(Re)presenting Sex: Shakespeare on Page and Stage
Last Offered Spring 2009
Division I
Cross-listed WGST 245 / WGSS 245 / EXPR 245 / THEA 245
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

This experimental course approaches the question of how sex and sexual identity are portrayed in Shakespeare from two different directions-close reading focused on the page and acting centered on the stage. These two critical modes-reading the text versus performing the script-are often treated in compartmentalized fashion as separate, even incompatible activities. Our goal is to take up the challenge of bringing the two perspectives together within the framework of a single, integrated course. The teaching method is to bridge the gap between the two modes not by magically dissolving, but by actively engaging, the tensions between them. For example, no performance can include all the possible interpretations; performance decisions raise questions about what alternatives have been left out. Similarly, when all interpretive possibilities are held in imaginative suspension, the specifics of bodily movement and face-to-face interaction whose meanings emerge when enacted are lost. We propose to put the two orientations in a productive and innovative dialogue that enables students to experience the tension from both sides, to articulate the opportunities and limits of each side, and to combine their respective strengths. The mix of assignments (papers and scene work) will vary depending on whether students designate themselves as primarily scholars or actors, but some overlap will be built in to ensure that scholars gain understanding of acting and actors gain access to scholarship. All students will be expected to demonstrate versatility in traversing the full spectrum from interpretation through reading to interpretation through performance.The specific topic that will bring these theoretical issues into focus is the matter of sex and sexual identity, as illuminated through the analysis of language, psychology, and theatrical embodiment. Six plays will be studied in depth: The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, Othello, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Winter’s Tale.
The Class: Format: lecture/discussion, with additional periods set aside for scene presentation
Limit: 20
Expected: 15
Class#: 3431
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on several short papers and a final exam All students will take the final: "scholar" students will have rigorous expectations in the writing of papers; "actor" students will have intensive (graded) performance expectations
Prerequisites: none; students wishing to enroll as Acting Students should consult with instructors
Distributions: Division I
Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under EXPR or THEA; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under WGSS
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
WGST 245 Division I WGSS 245 Division I EXPR 245 Division I THEA 245 Division I

Class Grid

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