ENGL-266 British Drama Since 1950
Spring for 2010-2011
The production in 1956 of John Osborne's Look Back in Anger at the Royal Court Theatre in London is said to mark a turning point in the history of British theatre in the twentieth century. The plays that followed Look Back in Anger on the British stage were different in theme and usually in form from those that had been written and produced in the first half of the twentieth century, and they reflected not simply a new kind of theatre in Britain, but a new way of seeing the world outside it.
The course will consider some memorable plays by important British playwrights of the last fifty to sixty years, giving attention to theme, form, and possibilities for performance. It will define British loosely, including not only such English playwrights John Osborne, Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, and Caryl Churchill, but also such Irish playwrights Samuel Beckett, Brian Friel, Martin McDonough, and Conor McPherson, and the South African playwright Athol Fugard.
The course hopes to come to some understanding of the distinct focus and idiom of the British theatre over the last 50 to 60 years and to discover how it might reflect the values and beliefs of the world in which the plays were written and performed. Students will be asked to take part in a number of acting exercises throughout the semester to enhance their appreciation of the theatrical power of these plays. (The course carries four credits in order to provide them an opportunity to do so). They will also be asked to attend at least one performance of a relevant play in Washington.
Prerequisites: ENGL 040, 041, 042, or 043
Other academic years
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