ENGL454 - Modern Drama

Prerequisite: Two English courses in literature; or permission of ARHU-English department.

The history of modern British drama, from its roots in Chekhov and Ibsen, through the modernisms of Samuel Beckett and Bertolt Brecht, through the Angry Young Men of the 1950s, and right up to the present. Most plays will be from the last 40 years, by writers such as David Hare, Tom Stoppard, Lucy Kirkwood, Caryl Churchill, Roy Williams, Lucy Prebble, Alan Bennett, Brian Friel, Terrence Rattigan, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Sarah Kane, and Alice Birch. We will also look at how class, money, immigration, and the end of the Empire changed British plays over time. And we will consider modern theater architecture and production design as well as the directing instincts of, for instance, Peter Brook, Katie Mitchell, Marianne Elliott, and Nicholas Hytner.

The course will concentrate on British drama over the past few decades, reading twenty-some plays, including several from Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, and Alan Bennett, plus single plays from the likes of April de Angelis, Pam Gems, Caryl Churchill, Timberlake Wertenbaker, Laura Wade, Lucy Kirkwood, Charlotte Jones, Christopher Hampton, David Hare, Brian Friel, Roy Williams, Joe Penhall, and Patrick Marber, We will also read classic plays from Ibsen, O'Casey, and Chekov. Written reports (30 pages), three exams, and attendance at a professional play in D.C. or Baltimore are required.