Architecture of Plays: Plays by Women (Online)

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Architecture of Plays: Plays by Women (Online)

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Google “The Top 100 Plays of all time” and you’re likely to find some familiar names leading the list: William Shakespeare, Sophocles, Arthur Miller, Henrik Ibsen. All worthy of study and respect, but the playwriting buck stop does not with these men. However, too many dramatic writing courses, books, and yes, even playwriting teachers, rely on these writers alone to illustrate what a “successful” dramatic work is supposed to look like. Should we turn to Sophocles and Miller for instruction? Sure thing. But if we don’t also look to Aphra Behn or Caryl Churchill, we’re only taking half of the class.

In this course, we’ll examine how women have consciously and continuously rebelled against classical dramatic structures to create and evolve bold, expressive forms that challenge our notions about what a play “must be”to sustain attention, impact an audience, and successfully communicate its core ideas.

Through the reading and analysis of plays by writers like Gertrude Stein, Sophie Treadwell, Adrienne Kennedy, Maria Irene Fornes, and more, students will discover alternative approaches to dramatic construction that they will be able to incorporate into their work. While this is primarily a dramatic structure and analysis class, students will complete and present some short playwriting exercises geared towards the exploration of specific craft questions as they relate to each of the plays read.

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