DR 355 - Theater In London: Text and the Dramatic Imagination

This course draws on the unique theatrical culture of London to explore current, historical and emerging trends in the relationship between dramatic texts and the performances they mediate, from both an academic perspective and that of the creative theatrical professional. The relationships between text, action, fiction, director, performer and audience are being rethought on the London stage through, for example, the emergence of ‘post-dramatic’, immersive, verbatim and physical theatre as well as through innovative new playwriting and the constant re-imagining of the canonical classics. Texts may be conceived variously as musical scores, incomplete performance blueprints, rules for performer ‘play’ or as the main thrust and vehicle of dramatic action; as both the semiotic ‘leading edge’ of a performance and as the source of its defining parameters. Students will attend nine current London theatre productions, ranging from West End and National Theatre shows to London Fringe offerings, as well as having the opportunity to work with professional actors, directors and playwrights in occasional play readings. Students will also study rare video material from current and historical productions, in their exploration of the use and impact of text in performance as a vital tool, source and inspiration for playwrights, directors, performers, designers, managers and theatre entrepreneurs and as means of engaging with subjects such as theatre history, the work of individual playwrights, as well as the current political, social and economic issues that significantly shape the theory and practice of contemporary British theatre. 

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