English 166

Special Topics: Postwar British Drama


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2010 Blanton, C. D.
Blanton, Dan
MWF 3-4 122 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Possible texts include: Beckett, S.: Waiting for Godot (1953; 1955); Endgame (1957); Bond, E.: Saved (1965); Lear (1971); Brenton, H.: The Romans in Britain (1980); Churchill, C.: Cloud Nine (1979);Top Girls (1982); Serious Money (1987); Friel, B.: Translations (1980); Hare, D.: Plenty (1978); Kane, S.: Blasted (1995); Orton, J.: Loot (1965); What the Butler Saw (1969); Osborne, J.: Look Back in Anger (1956); The Entertainer (1957); Pinter, H.: The Birthday Party (1958); The Caretaker (1960); The Homecoming (1965); Betrayal (1978); Stoppard, T.: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1966); Travesties (1974); Arcadia (1993)

Description

A survey of the post-war renaissance of British dramatic writing, concentrating on the decades after the tumultuous year of 1956, when the Suez Crisis abroad and the emergence of the 'Angry Young Men' at home demonstrated the extent to which both country and world had changed. We will begin by exploring a few of the theatrical ideas that inform the period generally (Brecht's 'epic theatre', Beckett's 'absurdism', Artaud's 'cruelty'), before turning to kitchen-sink realism (John Osborne et al.) and the work of the 1960s generation (Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, Edward Bond, Joe Orton). Later works by Caryl Churchill, David Hare, Howard Brenton, Brian Friel, and Sarah Kane will take us through the crises of the 1970s, into the Thatcher era, and beyond.

In addition to our regular reading, we will also grapple (on film and/or video, where possible) with some of the period's landmark stagings and performances—of these plays obviously, but also (occasionally) of older works revived and reimagined in the process.

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