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Course Description

Contemporary Jewish Drama (3 cr.)
Rachel Naor
JSTU-J 303 Arts & Humanities Topics in Jewish Studies #34166
TR 5:45-8 pm
2nd 8 weeks

We will read and discuss late 20th century Israeli and American drama in attempts to locate its discursive structures on the cusp of the culturally specific and the universal. In so doing, we will identify political, cultural and philosophical structures in selected dramatic texts, revealing how they reflect and, in some ways, contribute to the contemporary Jewish discourse. We will pursue an investigation such as this within the impossible delimitations of the philosophical and critical sway of postmodern thinking.

Hence, while students are certainly encouraged to present and discuss heterogeneous theoretical viewpoints, we will also explore the applicability of performance theory as such to texts by Yehoshua Sobol, Tony Kushner, A. B. Yehoshua, Anna Deavere Smith, Savion Librecht, Wendy Wasserstein, Hanoch Levin, Eli Shriber and more. As we examine each work, we will, therefore, pay close attention to its narrative, even as we reveal the ways in which each narrative is molded, formed and perpetuated through the quality of its textual histrionics on the page. In so doing, we will consider, as we must, the deconstructive / Butlerian understanding of perfomativity, which is invested in the making of the so called textual, and its representation in the fleeting performance/theatrical moment. If time permits and depending on availability and quality, we will view productions of some of the plays on film.

Course Requirements:
Depending on the organic progression of discussions and analysis, students will read a play for each class meeting. Students are required to read the texts closely and participate rigorously in class discussions. Students will be responsible for one presentation/discussion of a single play. Students will be responsible for one response to a classmate’s presentation/discussion by posing seminal questions on a play. Students will write one, 10-15pp., term paper to be submitted on the final day of the term via oncourse.