Modern Drama: English, Irish, American, and Post-Colonial

9:30a-10:20a D (30) 3 cr.

Increasingly authors writing in English whose native tongue is not English have entered and transformed the established canon of English literature. In today’s ‘global village’, people are more aware of other cultures, and at the same time very interested in pursuing their own cultural traditions. These trends are reflected in British and post-colonial drama and theater. Playwrights in Great Britain and other Anglophone countries (former British colonies) use theater in various ways to comment on and shape their societies. In L 366 we will discuss plays by Tom Stoppard (Great Britain), Hanif Kureishi (Great Britain), Brian Friel (Ireland), Femi Osofisan (Nigeria), and Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Kenya) (American drama is not included in this L 366 class). We will explore identity and nationality, transcultural/international societies, racial relations, and how dramatic techniques are used to convey social and political commitment.

Playwrights use a variety of techniques (humor, the incorporation of traditional cultural elements, audience participation) to convey their messages of political and social change. We will look at differences and similarities in topics and themes among the playwrights, and their dramatic techniques and relate these to cultural backgrounds. If possible we will view plays on film by Hanif Kureishi and Brian Friel.

The class will consist of short lectures and discussion sessions. Students will be graded on two exams and two papers as well as class participation.