What makes comedy comedy? Does the comedic aesthetic evolve across cultural and temporal barriers? How do interpretation and performance affect our understanding of the works? What does it mean that comedy is deadly serious? These are a few of the questions to be raised in the exploration of one major comedy each week, by Aristophanes, Plautus, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Moliere, Wilde, Shaw, Coward, and Frayn. Historical, social,
political, and psychological contexts will also be addressed. Professional actors will perform key scenes, film clips will be screened, and short essays will supplement the play readings.
Barnet, Sylvan, Morton Berman, and William Burto, eds. Eight Great Comedies. Penguin Books, 1996. ISBN: 0-452-01170-1.
Plautus. Amphitryon and Two Other Plays. Ed. and trans.Lionel Casson. W. W. Norton & Company, 1971. ISBN :0-393-00601-8.
Coward, Noel. Three Plays: Blithe Spirit, Hay Fever, Private Lives. Vintage International Paperback, 1999. ISBN: 0-679-78179-X.
Frayn, Michael. Noises Off. Anchor Books, 2002. ISBN: 1-4000-3160-5.