Collins Living Learning Center | Politics and Theater
L220 | 28682 | Margot Morgan

Can art change the world?  Does it merely reflect the present or can it impact the future?  Why
have dictators such as Hitler and Stalin been so relentless in destroying “offensive” art?  How
has the political role of art changed over time?  In this course we will study the work of 4
political playwrights– George Bernard Shaw, Bertolt Brecht, Jean Paul Sartre and Peter Weiss –
to gain insight into the symbiotic relationship between politics and theatre.  The course will
provide a window into the ways political theatre developed in practice over the course of WWI
and WWII.  Readings and assignments will elucidate the ways that art, politics, culture, and
history come together to form a seamless whole. Class work will consist of the explication of
plays and poems, discussions of their historical and cultural context, and theatrical exercises.
The course will culminate in a theatrical workshop in which Brecht’s controversial play, The
Measures Taken, will be performed by the students.