Honors | Trial as Theatre (HON)
H204 | 7676 | Perry Hodges


TuTh 11:15am-12:30pm
HU 108

Legal trials, like plays, have actors, dialogue, audiences, and
special spaces for their performances. More importantly, they both
expose and give shape to the tensions that exist within society
(between individual and state, parent and child, sacred and secular)
and let us watch as actors struggle to resolve these conflicts: to
transform negative energy into positive, or to raise a voice against
oppression. To understand how the two kinds of drama re-enact these
tensions, this course will begin with the idea of theater as "the
arena where a living confrontation takes place." We will consider
the origins and purpose of theater and the dramatic strategies used
by both drama and trial alike; the way both manipulate stories and
to what end; how certain kinds of drama seek to bring about
spiritual transformation and even cultural revolution, while the
trial, though using similar techniques, seeks to maintain cultural
and political stability. Selections from the work of the most
influential modern theater directors, including Antonin Artaud,
Jerzy Grotowski, and Peter Brook, will provide background on the
nature of theater, with particular attention to the challenges of
modern theater, and insights into the role of theater and trial in
modern society.

Readings: three versions of the Antigone story (Sophocles’ Antigone
(ca. 442 BC), Jean Anouilh’s Antigone, first performed in Paris in
1944), and Athol Fugard’s The Island (1972), set in South Africa
during Apartheid); the story of Joan of Arc (including the trial
record (1431), George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan (1923), and Dreyer’s
1928 silent film, The Passion of Joan of Arc; Peter Weiss’s Marat
Sade (1963) which will be produced by the IU theater in February
2010; the trial of the Chicago Seven; Antonin Artaud’s The Theatre
and its Double; selections from Grotowski’s Towards a Poor Theatre
and Peter Brook’s The Empty Space.

Close readings of texts will be emphasized.  Regular brief response
papers and two longer papers  will be required.