The tragicomedy genre, so prevalent in our day, has actually been evolving for many centuries. While one can take a primarily aesthetic approach to any genre--what makes comedy comedy?--here we will include a fuller consideration of history, stressing the social, political, and philosophical contexts of the particular plays.
How does a certain “age” or “culture” perceive tragicomedy? What are the roots of this standpoint, and how does it evolve across cultural and temporal barriers? How do interpretation and performance affect our understanding of the works today? How is it plays, on the page as well as performed, provide so many opportunities for critical thinking? Supplemental readings and viewings will complement the play reading list. Professional actors will present key scenes during many of the lectures.
Plautus. Amphitryon and Two Other Plays. Trans. & Ed. Lionel Casson. W.W. Norton & Co., 1971. ISBN: 0393006018. Please read this comedy before the first class.
Shakespeare, William. All’s Well that Ends Well. Ed. Claire McEachern. Penguin Classics, 2001. ISBN: 978-0140714609.
Johnson, Ben. Volpone and Other Plays. Ed. Michael Jamieson. Penguin Classics, 2004. ISBN: 978-0141441184.
deVega, Lope. Fuenteovejuna. Ed. Stanley Appelbaum. Dover Publications; Bilingual Edition, 2002. ISBN: 978-0486420929.
De la Barca, Pedro Calderon. Life Is a Dream. Trans. Ed Fitzgerald. DoverThrift Editions, 2002. ISBN: 978-0486421247.
Moliere. Tartuffe. Dover Thrift Editions, 2000. ISBN: 978-0486411170.
Ibsen, Henrik. The Wild Duck. Dover Thrift Editions, 2000. ISBN: 978-0486411163.
Chekhov, Anton. Three Sisters. Dover Thrift Editions, 1993. ISBN: 978-0486275444.
Pirandello, Luigi. Six Characters in Search of an Author. Dover Thrift Editions, 1997. ISBN: 978-0486299921.
Ionesco, Eugene. The Bald Soprano and Other Plays. Trans. Donald M. Allen. Grove Press, 1982. ISBN: 978-0802130792.